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Tech field points Air Force ROTC, CS student in right direction

Cadet Col. Ben Riemann stands in front of an airplane.

Cadet Col. Ben Riemann stands in front of a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. He attended a conference at Barksdale AFB as a recipient of the 13N-Nuclear Missile Operations scholarship. Photo courtesy of Ben Riemann

Many graduates enter the work force after earning their degrees. Life post-graduation for Air Force ROTC students, such as Cadet Colonel Ben Riemann, is different. Nearly all ROTC graduates wait for their next assignments, and in Riemann’s case, the computer science senior, will have a month before heading west.

Riemann is a member of Mizzou’s AF ROTC Detachment 440. He was an information technology major up until his sophomore year, when cadets were selected for field training, a 28-day, boot camp-style training session that only select cadets complete before going onto the next phase of AFROTC, the Professional Officer Course.

Riemann said he realized with a more technical major, he’d have a better chance at being selected for field training. “I was already an IT major, so switching to CS made the most sense,” he said.

He’s using his last semester as a student to indulge the facets of computer science he most enjoys. For example, his capstone research group is looking at building a 3-D simulation of the Francis Quadrangle, which would take users through a virtual reality tour of The Quad.

“I love seeing the stuff you build come together,” Riemann said. “It’s a great feeling.”

This year, he was awarded a scholarship intended to influence cadets in favor of pursuing a 13N-Nuclear Missile Operations career field. The scholarship was one of only 10 offered nationwide and covers an academic year’s tuition. It also was the first year this scholarship was made available to cadets.

He’d heard about the scholarship through Lt. Col. David A. Obermiller, Detachment 440’s Commander, who also helped him submit application materials. The scholarship contributed to the certainty of Riemann’s future after graduating.

“The ‘Nukes and Missiles’ scholarship guarantees an assignment within 30 days of graduation,” Riemann said. He will be assigned to Vandenburg Air Force Base — located along the California coast, northwest of Los Angeles — for six months of post-graduation training — before receiving his first assignment.

Riemann graduated from Camdenton High School in Camdenton, Mo., in 2010. While there, he took classes through the district’s Lake Career and Technical Center (LCTC), which enabled him to learn many basic computer-related skills.

“Most ROTC cadets begin the process in their junior year of high school,” Riemann said. “I didn’t really think about it until my senior year.

“I had a teacher, who was a Navy veteran, who sparked my interest. Then I came up here [to Mizzou] and met then-Maj. Unger.”

Riemann said it was the personnel who convinced him to join Mizzou’s AF ROTC program.

As a cadet, he participates in Detachment 440’s Arnold Air Society, a volunteer organization that performs community service and outreach. Riemann served as the group’s commander in 2013, and accepted the Cadet Volunteer of the Year award from the Salute to Veterans Airshow committee on behalf of the group that year.

As a recipient of the 13N scholarship, he was invited to the 2014 Fall Commander’s Conference and the Global Strike Command Score Posting Ceremony at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana.

Riemann said while his initial assignments will place him with missiles, he hopes to eventually work in the cyber-security field.