Chapter 5
The Eighties

1980 - 1989

Inter-service Color Guard

Air Force ROTC at Detachment 220 experienced many changes throughout the 1980's. In the fall of 1980 there were 125 freshmen enrolled in the program. The number of freshmen enrolled steadily increased throughout the decade and in the fall of 1989, there were 136 freshmen enrolled in Air Force ROTC.

Outside view of Armory building

Detachment 220 again received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. This award recognizes the meritorious service of the detachment in the areas of recruiting, retention, training, and administration from January 1979 to December 1980. Detachment 220 consistently commissioned the largest number of second lieutenants in the Ohio Valley Area even though it was not the largest detachment in the Ohio Valley Area.

Detachment Commanders

Colonel Reed L. Stone, 1979 - 1981

1979 - 1981
Colonel Reed L. Stone

Colonel Biggs, 1981 - 1984

1981 - 1984
Colonel Biggs

Colonel Gerald Sherrill, 1984 - 1988

1984 - 1988
Colonel Gerald Sherrill

Colonel Klusman, 1988 - 1991

1988 - 1991
Colonel Klusman

Colonel Gerald H. Sherrill

Colonel G.H. Sherrill memorial display

From 1984 to 1988 Colonel Gerald H. Sherrill served Detachment 220 of Air Force ROTC to the utmost of his ability. Unfortunately, in 1989 Col. Sherrill passed away. In honor of his service to the U. S. Air Force and Detachment 220, the cadet wing dedicated their lounge to this great man.


GMC insignia changes

One major difference between the uniform of the 80's and present day is that in the 1980's GMC cadets wore enlisted rank on their right arm whereas today's GMC cadets wear the shoulder boards shown above.

GMC Lapel Location
ROTC insignia

Another difference is in the lapels of the uniform. In the 1980's GMC cadets wore enlisted rank chevrons as opposed to the insignia above (affectionately called "chickens").

POC rank

"Can you tell the difference?"
The POC cadet rank is the only example of cadet rank that has remained unchanged from the 1980's to today.

POC rank

Old Cadet Uniform
Not only the rank has changed since the 80's, but the overall look of the uniform has changed. Take these pictures for example. In the 1980's the service coat had four buttons and pockets visible to the outside viewer whereas the present day uniform has only three buttons and no visible pockets. The current uniforms are also a different shade of blue.
New Cadet Uniform

Det 220 Events

Base Visits

XB-70 Valkyrie

One of the highlights for the cadets of Detachment 220 was and still is visiting an Air Force base. This picture of the XB-70 Valkyrie was taken at a base visit to Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio.

Air Shows

Canadian exhibition team, the Snowbirds

Another highlight of a cadet's training is the occasional air show. This picture, taken from one such air show, showcases the Canadian exhibition team, the Snowbirds, preparing to perform.


Physical Evaluation class

This picture shows cadets participating in an event that is still going on today. This is PES class. PES was and still is a class in which cadets work hard to stay in shape and better their PFT score.


Physical Fitness Test

Even though it is now held in Lambert Field house, the PFT is still a GMC's worst nightmare. This picture shows cadets performing dozens of agonizing sit-ups.



One event that is no longer around but was a highlight in the 1980's was ROTC Day, which gave the different ROTC branches an opportunity to show their stuff.

Field Training

Field Training

The idea of Simulated Field Training was to put GMC cadets through the rigors of camp in order to prepare them for the real thing. Unfortunately, this event is no longer takes place.

Wing Drill

Wing Drill

"Dress Right Dress", a common command heard at Wing Drill Competition. Wing Drill is a friendly competition between flights in Detachment 220. Wing Drill winners earn honor and respect among their AFROTC peers.

United States Air Force Seal

In 1981 Detachment 220 received the "Air Force Outstanding Unit Award". This award was given to Detachment 220 for, "exceptionally meritorious service from 1 January 1979 to 31 December 1980".

Current Events in the Eighties


President Reagan

In the 80's the defense budget skyrocketed as Reagan was the first president ever to propose a trillion-dollar budget.

The AIDS Quilt

AIDS quilt

The world was introduced to the newly discovered diseases AIDS & HIV by the publicity of a young boy from Indiana named Ryan White.

The Challenger Explosion

Space Shuttle Challenger Exposion

On January 28, 1986 the world watched in horror as one of America's untouchable space shuttles exploded 73 seconds after take-off.

Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square

After a series of peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations, the Chinese government decided to crack down. Several hundred protesters died as a demonstration was broken up by tanks.



In 1985 the most famous shipwreck of all time, the Titanic, was discovered on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. And in 1986, with the help of a robot called Alvin the first photos were taken of the interior of this infamous ship.


Michael Jackson

In 1981 the Music Television network was founded. MTV was the first station ever devoted to music videos and the promotion of music. Michael Jackson topped both music and video charts.



Though not widely used in the 80's the internet had it's beginnings in this decade. The Internet now allows millions of people to access information, formerly unavailable, with the touch of a button.

The Ozone Layer

Air Polution

In the 1980's scientists made a startling discovery. They concluded we were eating away at an invisible layer of our atmosphere, ozone layer. Without this layer we could not survive.


Warning Notice