Delt Takes Off from Air Force Academy
Graduation ceremonies at the United States Air Force Academy included one Delt last spring, even though there’s no Delt Chapter on the campus. The graduate, Caleb Elms (University of South Florida, 2019) joined the Fraternity when he participated in an ROTC exchange program. Each year six Air Force Academy cadets trade places with counterparts at a civilian institution who are enrolled in an Air Force ROTC detachment. “I was chosen to swap places with a cadet at the USF AFROTC Det 158 where I could learn more about our sister commissioning source as well as share experiences from my own journey at a Federal Military Academy,” said Elms.
Brothers from Epsilon Pi Chapter who are enrolled in the Air Force ROTC detachment at the University of South Florida introduced Elms to the Fraternity. “They basically just reached out to me and asked me if I wanted to become a part of something that would be a close-knit group of men who support and inspire each other to be the best they can. In fact, a large portion of the Fraternity was comprised of ROTC cadets, veterans and reservists at the time of my pledging. It felt very natural for me to join such a service-oriented culture. I was very excited about the opportunity because I wanted to know more about the American college experience and this fraternity provided me with so much more than that,” said Elms, who credits Brandon Timmerman (University of South Florida, 2018) for encouraging him to join the Fraternity.
“I joined because I saw something in the brothers that truly inspired me. It was the authentic friendship and camaraderie that told me there was something special about being in this fraternity. The men were all there for each other and knew everything about each other. They talked about their professional aspirations as well as helped each other with difficult struggles throughout the undergraduate journey.”
Though his undergraduate Fraternity experience only lasted one semester, Elms found what he calls a rare gift-- true brotherhood. “I have never gotten so close to so many people in such a short period of time. I made some of my best friends for life in just one semester,” said Elms.
After a semester at the University of South Florida, Elms found the most notable difference between campus experiences was going from a rigorously detailed and planned daily schedule to almost complete autonomy. “At the Air Force Academy, I knew when to wake up, where to go to eat, when I needed to study, when to work out and so on,” he said. “At USF I had to develop my independent thinking skills a lot more with a lot more time on my hands and I believe that served me well.”
Inspired by his family, Elms always wanted to serve in the military. His grandfather spent 20 years in the Army with Special Forces, his father spent four years in the Army Airborne and his brother serves in the Army with Special Forces. His uncle was killed while serving in the Army on a peacekeeping mission.
Elms graduated with a degree in economics and as a newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant on active duty in the Air Force, his military career is starting with pilot training. “This is what I have always dreamed of and now I’m finally getting my chance to make it into a reality,” said Elms.