Faculty Spotlight: Kevin Ogle

| Thu, 02/22/24
Air Force Col. Kevin Ogle is the commander of Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 145 and a professor of aerospace studies.
Air Force Col. Kevin Ogle is the commander of Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 145 and a professor of aerospace studies. Photo by Devin Bittner.

Air Force Col. Kevin Ogle is the commander of Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 145 and a professor of aerospace studies in the Department of Aerospace Studies part of Florida State University’s College of Arts and Sciences. He earned a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of California – Riverside in 1999 and an MBA from Oklahoma City University in 2007. Additionally in 2013 and 2019 he received master’s degrees from Air University – part of the Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama – first in military operational arts and sciences and then strategic studies.

Tell us a little about your background and where you’re from.

I grew up in the Air Force. My father worked in maintenance and logistics before retiring as a senior master sergeant. We moved six times before I entered high school. I attended high school and college in Southern California and have since made 11 moves in 24 years. Upon retirement we intend to stay in Florida and make it our home.

What types of work did you do in the Air Force prior to coming to FSU?

I am an Air Force air battle manager, ABM. ABMs utilize strategy, experience, and an intimate knowledge of aircraft, weapons, and surveillance to control the outcome of a dynamic air battle or operation. I have over 2,600 flight hours on the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System, AWACS, with combat hours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve, and I have spent the last eight years working at Air Operations Centers. My assignment before arriving at FSU was as the commander of the 609th AOC in Qatar.

You’re currently the commander of aerospace studies for AFROTC Detachment 145 at FSU. What does your typical day look like?

My typical day is the most relaxed day I’ve had in 24 years of active-duty service but with extensive future impact. My day begins at 6 a.m. with personal or cadet wing physical training. When complete, I roll into teaching mode for three to four hours, after which I address administrative tasks to ensure we meet Air Force ROTC and university requirements. Throughout the day, I serve as a mentor, coach, and leader for my active-duty cadre and cadets.

What inspired you to pursue a career in the United States Air Force?

U.S. military service has been a family tradition since 1777; however, legacy did not drive me to service. When I was in college, I joined Air Force ROTC partially to pay for college, but also to secure a commission in the U.S. Air Force. What truly drove me to military service was the opportunity to live amongst people who are working towards a goal greater than themselves and striving for excellence. That is how I wanted to live my best adult life, and it has provided my wife and I with a good life — we like to joke that we are on year 25 of a four-year commitment — and I genuinely enjoy what I do.

In all your years of experience, what has been the highlight of your career?

Serving as a mission crew commander aboard the E-3 AWACS while deployed supporting Operation Inherent Resolve was the most rewarding experience. I hate that it was time away from my wife, Beth, and children, but it was where I needed to be. My crew was young and inexperienced, and the operation challenged me as a leader and mentor. Lessons from that tour enabled me to successfully command a squadron and later a geographically separated organization of 1,000 people.

For students considering a career in the Air Force, what are the top three things for them to know?

Students should know the Air Force core values that are at the heart of Air Force ROTC. Integrity first; you define yourself by your actions. If your decision-making process begins with, “Would anyone really know if…” do not do it. Secondly, service before self. Service places particular demands upon Air Force members, and a time will come when you must put service to others before your own needs and wants. Lastly, always strive for excellence. Failure is part of learning and improvement; do not accept it as the end. Through respect for a diverse force’s contributions, we accomplish extraordinary achievements.

What is your favorite part of working with the cadets at FSU?

Having an opportunity to pass along my experience and build leaders of character is my favorite part of working with cadets at FSU. I am here to recruit and train my replacements. If I do this correctly, I will be sending not clones into the Air and Space Forces, but critically thinking leaders.

You oversee the recruitment of cadets into the United States Air and Space Forces through Air Force ROTC. What would you say is the most rewarding part of supervising this development?

Potential. These cadets are capable of innovation and action I cannot even imagine. Someday, one of them will be a senior military leader or the governor of Florida, and I find purpose and pride in the hope that I will have contributed to that future.

Who are your role models? Are there certain people who have influenced you most in your life and career?

The first is my father. He taught me to be an adult by sharing his experiences while letting me make my own choices and setting my baseline on what it means to be an officer and leader. The second is my wife, Beth. She is the strongest and most caring person I know. She taught me to focus my energy for good and provides a sounding board for ideas and actions.

If your cadets only learned one thing from you (of course, hopefully they learn much more than that), what would you hope it to be?

Life is about choices. You may not make the right choice every time. However, own it, learn from it, and do your best to ensure others do not have to learn it for themselves. It is okay to fail. It is what you do afterwards that matters most.