While Raymond Cordova knew he wanted to go to college, he had no idea what he wanted to be or what major to declare. He started out in USF’s Zimmerman Advertising Program, though family members suggested he study accounting since he had an aptitude with numbers. Neither was a fit.
Fortunately, Cordova discovered the U.S. Air Force ROTC. Though Cordova had no military background, the program appealed to him. He liked the leadership training concept. He liked the idea of service. He liked the idea of rising to meet challenges. Cordova says that field training was physically and intellectually challenging. It was overwhelming and stressful and it tested one’s ability to lead in demanding training scenarios.
It was a whole new world. Cordova was all in.
Cordova received the Commander’s Leadership Scholarship, a full scholarship awarded to two cadets in his first year (with the understanding of military service upon graduation). He moved into the ROTC living-learning community and served as a resident assistant for two years, planning events, dealing with crises, enabling student success.
Cordova was awarded the George Washington Purple Heart Leadership medal (a national leadership award given annually for displaying exemplary leadership). He received the AFROTC achievement award and the AFROTC academic honors award. Cordova also received a Military Order of the World Wars bronze medal, which recognizes those who embody the characteristics of an honorable cadet.
Now a deputy operations commander, Cordova says he discovered that the skills needed for success in the ROTC program are the same skills marketing sales leaders need. His immediate career goal is to obtain a commission as a second lieutenant. He was selected to fly remotely piloted aircraft.