Woman's ambitions soar in ROTC


May 07, 2002|By Nancy Gallant | Nancy Gallant,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WHEN I WAS in high school, girls talked about becoming teachers or nurses or secretaries. Ask Angela Huegel what her dreams are and you will get a quick response: "I want to be a pilot."

The 21-year-old Crofton woman took another step toward that goal two weeks ago, when she was named cadet wing commander for Detachment 330 of the Air Force ROTC at the University of Maryland, College Park.

As wing commander, Huegel, a junior, will be the student in charge of about 150 cadets in the program. In the words of the AFROTC, she will "pick a staff and plan and execute a meaningful and substantial training program for the cadets."

Huegel puts it more succinctly: "I get to run the wing."

She calls AFROTC a "learning environment for leading." Under the guidance of Air Force officers and professors of aerospace studies at the university, the cadets learn about military life, the Air Force and leadership through drills, physical challenges and leadership training.

An Air Force recruiter introduced Huegel to the ROTC program when she was a student at Arundel High School. She had dreamed of becoming a pilot, and her AFROTC scholarship allows her to pursue this goal while studying for her degree in electrical engineering.

In addition to her classes in calculus and physics, she has visited Air Force bases around the country. At Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, she saw the Air Force's nuclear missiles. She remembers the "boneyard" at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, where planes no longer in use are stored.

She went through boot camp at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. At the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., she got the chance to fly a glider. This summer, she will travel to Okinawa, Japan, where she will "shadow" an Air Force pilot to experience the life of an officer in the field.

In addition to being chosen as wing commander, Huegel received several other awards at the recent Air Force ROTC awards banquet, including the Armed Forces Communication and Electronics Award, the Military Order of Foreign Wars ROTC Meritorious Service Award and the 76th Infantry Division Memorial Scholarship. Finally, she earned the Iron Woman Award, recognizing her performance as the highest-performing woman - and second-highest performing cadet overall - in the detachment's physical fitness competition.

Between this summer's trip to Japan and the challenge of serving as wing commander while immersed in the stringent requirements of Maryland's engineering program, Huegel's life would appear to be full. But she looks forward to yet another milestone. With a little luck and a lot of work, she hopes to take part in the Air Force's pilot training program.

One day, she hopes to fly those planes. She also dreams of someday becoming an astronaut.

Who knows? With her energy and discipline and talent, that dream might come true.

Tea with Mother

Epiphany Episcopal Church invites you to celebrate Mother's Day weekend by enjoying an English country tea with your mother or your daughter or a friend in the relaxed atmosphere of a historic World War I chapel.

The full English tea will include scones, an assortment of tea sandwiches, trifle and a selection of teas. Tea will be served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in the church, Morgan and Odenton roads, off Route 175 in Odenton. The cost is $12 in advance, or $15 at the door.

Information: Elva Cox, 410- 674-4144.

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