UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

Air Force acting chief of staff visits UND

Gen. David Allvin, the Air Force’s acting chief of staff as of Oct. 1, and Sen. Kevin Cramer meet with ROTC cadets

Gen. David Allvin, Acting Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, stands for a photo with UND ROTC cadets on Oct. 10, 2023. Photo by Adam Kurtz/UND Today.

UND’s Army and Air Force ROTC cadets were treated to a special visit by a high-ranking Air Force officer on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

Gen. David Allvin, Acting Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, visited UND with U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer. UND President Andy Armacost was also present during the presentation. The visit preceded Cramer and Allvin’s discussion at the 17th annual UAS Summit & Expo, held on Tuesday at the Alerus Center.

Allvin. who will hold the will hold the Air Force’s top role in an unofficial capacity until he is formally confirmed by the Senate. gave a presentation to the ROTC cadets and took questions from them. Then, in a surprise to the audience, he personally thanked a UND staff member for her service in helping military veterans on campus, as well as service members currently enlisted.

Allvin, among other things, spoke about the cadets’ role in the future of the nation’s defense, as well as the Air Force’s continuing role.

“We still fundamentally have a role in the United States military to deter conflict first, by showing that it’s bad idea to get involved with us,” Allvin said. “And then if (an adversarial nation) makes a bad decision, it is to defeat them.”

Allvin said the age of the cadets will play an important role in enhancing the technological skills of the Air Force in general, as their skills with adopting new technology outstrips those of previous generations.

He also answered questions about how current members serve, whether full-time or in a reserve capacity. He said that some roles require full-time service, but he is willing to examine other possibilities for different roles.

Allvin also spoke about what it means to be a good leader, and that leaders need to show empathy for the people under their command.

“It doesn’t mean weakness,” he said. “It means I have an appreciation for where you’re coming from in your position, and that forces me to be more relatable and walk a mile in your shoes and maybe make a better decision.”

In a release, Cramer said his goal for the visit was to highlight his support for UND, and to highlight to Allvin how both the Air Force and Space Force are on the cutting edge of the air and space domains, which are benefitting from the many military partnerships and collaborations in which UND’s aerospace and national defense efforts are engaged.

Cramer reiterated his support for national defense efforts in North Dakota.

“Students, ROTC cadets, engineers, and airmen have a genuine interest in getting involved, pushing the limits, and making our nation better,” Cramer said. “I look forward to helping further our state’s leadership in all aspects of air and space.”

Gen. David Allvin thanks Angie Carpenter, director of Special Student Populations, for her work with military students. Photo by Adam Kurtz/UND Today.

Toward the end of Allvin’s presentation and Q & A, something unexpected happened. He summoned Angie Carpenter, director of Special Student Populations, from the gallery of the Aerospace Atmospherium in Odegard Hall, where he was speaking to the cadets.

As Carpenter made her way to the floor where Allvin was speaking, Robert Kraus, dean of UND Aerospace smiled at her said simply: “Surprise!”

Allvin then shook Carpenter’s hand and thanked her for her work with military students at UND. In her role, Carpenter oversees Veteran & Military Services, Army ROTC, and Air Force ROTC.  She works with a team of staff to help students who are using their Veteran’s Affairs educational benefits to help pay for their schooling. The team also helps create a smooth transition to college from the military and creates a community and sense of belonging when veterans are here at UND.

Following his presentation, Allvin took part in a lunch meeting with several UND faculty members.

Allvin is the latest high-ranking military or civilian official to visit UND. In recent years, other distinguished visitors included NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, U.S. Space Command Commander Gen. James Dickinson and Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, who served as chief of space operations for the U.S. Space Force from 2019 to 2022.

Other visitors have included Space Development Agency Director Derek Tournear, who discussed work on a low-earth-orbit satellite mission, and Christopher Scolese, director of the National Reconnaissance Office.

UND President Andy Armacost speaks alongside Gen. David Allvin, Acting Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force. Photo by Adam Kurtz/UND Today.