By MIKAL OVERTURF/Montana State News
Kyle Schuster is the first member of his immediate family to attend a four-year university and has overcome several obstacles to get to where he is today. Strapping on combat boots is one way in which this Montana State University senior has expanded his college education.
Originally from Sutter, California, Schuster came to MSU to pursue a degree in Business Marketing after discovering a knack for it while still in high school.
However, he felt like his higher education was still lacking something. When he attended his brother’s Air Force graduation, this inspired him to join the ROTC.
“Making a difference in an organization much bigger than myself,” is what Schuster said is his largest motivation and greatest triumph.
Joining the Air Force ROTC is an experience he says he came into “blind,” and it was not at all what he expected. It was much more, in that he was able to gain insights through the mentorship of his peers and leaders.
It is an overall growth of oneself as a cadet and a sense of leadership that is at the core of the AFROTC. Captain Ed F. Cunningham, Operations Flight Commander of the 450th Detachment, said he believes the greatest asset a cadet can have is accountability, both to one’s self and to their organization.
It is this type of responsibility Schuster has tried to cultivate within himself, despite his introverted nature. Schuster is currently acting as Wing Commander of the detachment, a position both he and Cunningham said has forced him to “come out of his shell.”
He has already put many of the leadership skills he learned through ROTC classes to use. Cunningham said that Schuster is “finding his own personal leadership style that works best for him,” and is doing an impressive job keeping things in motion.
This sentiment was echoed by another cadet, Jen Sroczyk, when she stated that, “he has a lot on his plate but he remains positive and helpful to all of us.”
This positivity may have its roots in Schuster’s upbringing. Schuster names both his parents and brother as his heroes.
Schuster models himself after his father’s hardworking nature and ability to keep his sense of humor alive through long workdays. He said he hopes to achieve this same level of satisfaction in his life.
He also cited his mother for giving him the best advice he ever received: “Attitude is everything.”
When asked who he hopes to inspire in the future, Schuster said he hopes to help those in a position similar to his own: “Those who wish to be successful but don’t know how.”
Schuster is currently serving as a Cadet Colonel in the 450th Detachment of MSU’s Air Force ROTC. Following his graduation this spring, he will fulfill his obligation to the military through his station at Whitman Air Force Base, working as a second lieutenant in the contracting squadron.
– Edited by: Nathanael Johns