Building Relationships in the Air Force ROTC
PROVO, Utah – Mar 30, 2020 – Capt. Jordan Woods, an assistant professor in BYU Marriott’s Department of Aerospace Studies, enjoys building things through carpentry or woodwork, but he also enjoys the chance to build positive relationships with his fellow officers in the U.S. Air Force and the cadets in the aerospace studies department.
In 2014, Woods graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor’s degree of civil engineering and went on to receive a master’s degree of civil engineering from the University of Louisville in 2018. “I enjoy fixing stuff, taking it apart and putting it back together again,” says Woods. “That’s why I was drawn to the engineering career field.”
While Woods’s interest in putting things together drew him to the field of engineering, Woods cites a variety of factors for encouraging his interest in the Air Force, including the mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints he served from 2006–2008 in Argentina. “My mission helped me realize how much we have in the United States,” says Woods. “And my grandpa on my mom’s side served in the Air Force, plus I always had an interest in the military and in aviation in general.”
Woods’s career in the Air Force has allowed him to apply his knowledge of engineering to Air Force projects. After working as the requirements and optimization chief at Joint Base Andrews in Prince George’s County, Maryland, from 2015–2016, Woods deployed to Kuwait for six months. In Kuwait, Woods worked with contractors to figure out what was needed to complete projects and followed the project from the construction stage to completion. Two days after his return from deployment, Woods’s wife, Nikki, gave birth to a baby boy. After his son’s birth, Woods returned to Joint Base Andrews, where he was the flight chief for the installation management flight. As part of this position, Woods was in charge of the squadron’s annual budget.
Before launching his own career in the Air Force, Woods participated in Utah State’s ROTC program. He joined the program in Fall 2009. “I started talking to a couple of individuals who told me about the ROTC program, and as I found out more about the program, I became more interested,” says Woods.
The positive relationships Woods built with his own ROTC instructors, especially Captain Mitcheal Cooksey, later encouraged Woods to become an instructor in BYU Marriott’s Department of Aerospace Studies, also known as BYU Air Force ROTC Detachment 855. “My time in the ROTC program was such a formative time during my life, and I wanted to have a positive influence on young cadets preparing to enter the military,” says Woods.
Woods started teaching at BYU Marriott’s Department of Aerospace Studies in the Fall 2018 semester and currently teaches first- and second- year ROTC cadets. Additionally, Woods serves as an advisor for Special Tactics, a group that prepares cadets to pursue a career in the Air Force’s Special Operations. In this position, Woods enjoys the opportunity to see cadets work together.
“Seeing cadets’ growth personally and their growth as a team is a cool opportunity,” says Woods. “At the beginning of the semester, some of the cadets come in, and they’re physically fit, but they quickly realize that even though they may be the fittest cadet in the group, if they don’t come together as a team, they’re not going to be able to execute their mission.”
Woods also appreciates the teamwork mentality he experiences in the Air Force. “What I enjoy most about the Air Force is watching people be successful and support me in my endeavors to be successful as well,” says Woods.
Woods has also had the opportunity to build positive relationships like the ones he had with his own instructors when he was a cadet. Detachment 855 has cadets from both BYU and cadets from Utah Valley University (UVU). Logan Densley, a cadet from UVU, was recently selected for phase two of the Combat Rescue Officer (CRO) selection process after his participation in Detachment 855’s Special Tactics. “To see all of his goals and efforts coming to fruition has been awesome to witness,” says Woods.
Woods still enjoys the opportunity to build through woodworking and carpentry, as well as building relationships, since he has become an instructor in the department of aerospace studies. Since joining BYU Marriott’s department of aerospace studies’ faculty, Woods has also had the opportunity to build with materials. “We bought a house when we moved here and completely renovated the entire upstairs of the house.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Natalia Green