ROTC Detachment 90 declared ‘best in nation’ with Right of Line Award

Greta Nelson-Bechtold

Colorado State University’s Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Detachment 90 was awarded the 2019 Right of Line Award Wednesday, an honor for which 49 other detachments from all over the country were considered. 
The “Mighty Ninety” beat out the other 49 large detachments to claim the title of top Air Force ROTC large detachment in the nation. As one of the most competitive awards, the Right of Line Award tests cadets in every aspect of their training, such as cadet performance, community service, officer production, recruiting and scholarships.
Colonel Timothy Childress addresses the room of AFROTC Detachment 90 students before the Right of Line Award is presented. (Lucy Morantz | The Collegian)

Col. Chris Bennett, commander in charge of 145 Air Force ROTC units in the United States, presented Detachment 90 and Col. Tim Childress, commander of Detachment 90, with the Right of Line Award and congratulated the cadets on besting the other 49 large detachments.
Bennett said this is no small feat; for CSU’s AFROTC to surpass the other detachment groups, who have also exceeded the AFROTC standard requirements, it demanded a tremendous amount of dedication and sacrifice. 
“I happen to know a couple of the detachments that 90 has bested, and one, in particular, comes to mind,” Bennett said. “So, that is a pretty high bar for you and your team to get over.” 
Joyce McConnell, president of CSU, also spoke at the presentation, congratulating the cadets on their achievement and discussing the difference AFROTC has made on the campus. 
“You are people of extraordinary intelligence, extraordinary discipline, extraordinary character, and you are extraordinary leaders,” McConnell said. “Without you, this University would not be as good as it is. You set an incredible example for our other students, and we’re always able to say to our students how proud we are of all of you and your leadership.”
Capt. Brittany Rhanes was one spectator at the award ceremony. As an assistant professor of aerospace studies and a past AFROTC cadet, Rhanes works closely with the AFROTC cadets to help them achieve their goals and reach their full potential.

They’re not doing it for the recognition. they’re not doing it for the awards. They’re doing something and serving something bigger than themselves.” -Capt. Brittany Rhanes, assistant professor of aerospace studies

Rhanes said the achievement of the Right of Line Award came as no surprise, and she was especially excited for the occasion. 
“They day in, day out, 365, they do an amazing job of always giving it their best,” Rhanes said. “To still come to ROTC even if it’s at 6 a.m. for PT with a smile on their face and give it their all, it did not shock me.”
Colonel Timothy Childress hands the Right of Line Award to Cadet Colonel Topps on behalf of the AFROTC Detachment 90 students. (Lucy Morantz | The Collegian)

Capt. Rhanes described the Detachment 90 cadets in three words: motivated, dedicated and humble.
“They’re not doing it for the recognition; they’re not doing it for the awards,” Rhanes said. “They’re doing something and serving something bigger than themselves.”
While aerospace studies class and professional military training courses help CSU AFROTC cadets pursue a commission in the U.S. Air Force, cadets are also encouraged to get involved in different areas around campus, including clubs, sports teams and student government.
Brennan Burke, a Detachment 90 senior cadet at CSU studying business, was awarded the Cadet Training Assistant of the Year Award for her work at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama during the summer.
Burke said she was honored that Detachment 90 — her family — achieved such a high-status award, and she had a message she would like CSU students and staff to know. 
“We’re all students at CSU,” Burke said. “We’re all part of a bigger family.”
Anyone seeking additional information about CSU’s AFROTC can visit its website
Editor’s note: Col. Chris Bennett’s rank was initially misidentified in this story. It has been updated to reflect his current rank.
Greta Nelson-Bechtold can be reached at or on Twitter @gretanb27.