Brotherly Love Helps Corps Grow

by Maj. Carrie Cox

Cadets James and John Turbyfill; photo by Logan Wallace.

Cadets James (left) and John Turbyfill; photo by Logan Wallace.

Cadet John Turbyfill always wanted to be a Hokie. His mom's side of the family hails from Blacksburg, and he grew up visiting campus and cheering on Virginia Tech.

He also was active in JROTC in high school and had another Virginia Tech connection that helped him make his college choice. His JROTC instructor, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Tracey Carter (chemistry '88), a corps alumnus, brought Turbyfill and his fellow students to campus for a tour. After that, the decision was easy: Turbyfill would be a Hokie and a cadet so that he could pursue his dream of being an Air Force officer.

As the Turbyfill brothers explain it, James was another story—long hair and all. James, two years younger, did not participate in JROTC; and although he was set on following his brother to Virginia Tech, he had no interest in being a cadet or serving in the military. That all changed when he participated in the Corps of Cadets Spend the Night program last October.

"I love [the corps]. I wasn't in JROTC in high school and didn't think about the military until later, but I did Spend the Night last year and was sold on the corps. I wanted the structured lifestyle and the focus on academics. I saw my brother mature and transform into a man after joining the corps and that influenced me to [pursue] the same leadership skills," explained James.

James, a finance major, joined Army ROTC hoping to be in the airborne infantry. John is a chemistry and biochemistry double major and is in Air Force ROTC, pursuing his dream to serve his country as a B-1 pilot. James was one of more than 420 new cadets to enter in August, while John served as a cadre sergeant training the corps' newest members. The addition of the Class of 2016 in August pushed corps enrollment to more than 1,000 cadets for the first time in decades.

John explained that when he joined the corps he was looking for a family atmosphere and found it at Virginia Tech. "Like the military, the corps is one big family you can depend on.”

James echoed these thoughts. "Even if you don't have a family outside of the corps, once you join the corps, you do have a family.” Now the Turbyfill brothers are helping their new family continue to grow and succeed.

Maj. Carrie Cox is the executive officer with the Corps of Cadets.

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