The University of New Mexico's Air Force ROTC Detachment 510 Warhawks were recently recognized as the number one medium detachment in the southwest region with the 2011 Air Force "Right of Line" award. To qualify, detachments are judged on their university activities, community participation, military preparedness and success in meeting AFROTC academic, fitness and retention goals.

Lt. Col. Raul V. Garcia, detachment commander, said, "This recognition really acknowledges the hard work our staff has put in since 2009. The cadre and UNM staff has spent many hours behind the scenes changing our learning environment to one that is really focused on producing the best leaders for the Air Force."

The southwest region covers 11 states and 36 universities including Texas, Arizona, Arkansas and California to name a few. To earn their top spot ranking, the Warhawks bested such prestigious programs as UCLA, University of Texas–Austin and New Mexico State University. As the regional winner, UNM's AFROTC will advance to compete against three other regions in the national headquarters AFROTC Right of Line competition later this year.

According to Garcia, one of the glowing accomplishments that contributed to winning the award was the phenomenal job the team did during their 30-day limited notice compliance inspection. "I was notified on November 5, that our inspection date would be December 6," Garcia said. "When the inspection came, we were perfect in three of the six categories—the best evaluation the unit had since 1998." The recruiting program, extensively supported by the UNM Division of Student Affairs, stood out as inspectors referred it as "top notch" and "among the very best," in their report.

Major Jennifer Bradley, who joined the team last August as the unit's operations officer was instrumental in garnering high marks during the headquarters compliance inspection. She is proud to be part of the detachment. "We have a phenomenal team and it's great to be recognized with this award," she said. "We look forward to doing great things in the future."

Along with teaching cadets skills they need on active duty, the cadre maintains these skills in their everyday life. "Last August our non-commissioned officers, Staff Sergeant Tiffany Keown and Technical Sergeant Julie Carr, administered first aid to a student who suffered a seizure in our building," Garcia said. "They got the paramedics to the building as soon as possible which probably saved the student's life."

In addition to the Right of Line award, the team was also awarded two southwest region civilians of the quarter awards for Theresa Carabajal and Elizabeth Hofmann-Yslas, and a southwest region team excellence award for the Warhawk's grassroots recruiting program.

Furthermore, the unit's new training initiatives resulted in seven of 12 cadets garnering top rankings in their annual summer field training exercise over the past two years. This exercise is a 30-day mentally and physically challenging course held in Montgomery, Ala. and Hattiesburg, Miss. With more than 2,000 cadets from all over the nation participating, finishing with a top ranking establishes the Warhawk cadets as some of the very best.

"I think this designation recognizes the positive culture that we have built here within the detachment, and I am really proud of the UNM staff, Air Force cadre, and the cadets who endured change and came out on top."