Detachment History

Air Force ROTC at Purdue University

From its start as a Land Grant College in 1862, Purdue University has been a source of officers for the United States Military. Air Force ROTC was established at Purdue University in the fall of 1949, but its roots began with a branch of the Army ROTC program known as the Air ROTC program formed in 1946. The first graduates of Purdue Air ROTC were commissioned into the U.S. Air Force in February 1948 as second lieutenants. Over the years Purdue Air Force ROTC has produced officers that have gone on to become senior Air Force officers, successful leaders both in and outside of the military and famous Astronauts.

The Tradition Continues

Air Force ROTC Detachment 220 has earned a reputation as one of the best officer training programs in the entire country. Its members have the advantage of attending a world-class university and an exceptional Air Force ROTC unit. As testimony to this claim, the Detachment has been recognized numerous times as one of the nation’s top 4 Air Force ROTC programs and been awarded with the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award. The Air Force ROTC classes, leadership lab, and cadre offices are all conveniently located in one building - the Purdue Armory.

Air Force Insight

To be successful academically at Purdue, our cadets are taught that “academics come first!” However, for those cadets that can find time in their schedules to participate in Air Force ROTC extracurricular activities, Det 220 has plenty to offer. Cadets are regularly offered opportunities to gain additional insight into the AF through various events including but not limited to Air Force career fairs, distinguished speakers, military dinners and balls.

Air Force ROTC Clubs and Associations

Our cadets are free to join associations such as the Arnold Air Society or Silver Wings. Also, they may participate in our award winning drill team. Or they may join our detachment honor guard and present the colors at university athletic events as well as for professional sports teams including the Indianapolis Colts and Triple-A league Indianapolis Indians.

Extra Military Experiences

We team up with Purdue’s Army ROTC unit and travel to a nearby Army National Guard installation where we allow our cadets to experience a mock military deployment, a run through the obstacle course, and small unit tactics training. Additionally our detachment has started sponsoring some very popular paint-ball outings for our cadets.

Flight Training Opportunities

Being one of the few universities in the US with an airport on campus allows us to offer our cadets many flight training options. Cadets who want to learn the basics of flight can take official Purdue Aviation department flight training classes, receive flight training through our local Civil Air Patrol unit, or practice in our detachment’s dedicated flight simulator room. Additionally, we take our cadets to Grissom Air Reserve Base and take them up in KC-135 tankers and let them see first hand mid-air refueling operations.

Community Service

Finally, we teach our cadets to contribute to the local community with such events as the POW/MIA vigil, volunteer work with Habitat-For-Humanity, a 5K run for charity, relay for life, work with the local Veteran’s Home, a holiday party for children and much more! Simply said, we build leaders...for our nation and the Air Force.

Detachment Blazon


Attached above the field, a motto in Black background with Yellow border and inscribed "DET PURDUE 220" in Yellow letters. Attached below the field, a motto in Black background with Yellow border and inscribed “BOILERMAKERS”, with the American Flag left of the inscription and the Air Force R.O.T.C. emblem to the right.

United States Marine Corps Department of the Navy


Black and Old Gold are the colors of Purdue University. Black symbolizes power and elegance. The Old Gold was replaced with Athletic Gold to show the athleticism in flexibility of Purdue students and to show they hold the key to Air Power. The rhombus represents a sown field, to symbolize the agricultural aspects of Purdue, while the train is symbol of the engineering aspects. The Purdue “P” imprinted on the front of the train give the train identity, the Boilermaker Special. The train “leaping” through the black borders of the rhombus show that officers commissioned through Detachment 220 over come many boundaries (border), and in so doing gain the power (black) of knowledge. The globe is shown as a sign that Purdue’s graduates spread their expertise throughout the world. The checkered border show Indiana heritage by resembling the checkered flags of the Indianapolis 500. The American flag is shown to resemble the allegiance to the United States, and the Air Force R.O.T.C. emblem shows our overarching mission to “develop premier leaders of character for the Air Force”.

This page current as of June 13, 2018