Detachment History

Duke Alumni War memorial
The Duke Alumni War Memorial is a low wall constructed of the same volcanic rock as the nearby Duke Chapel and Divinity School and many other campus buildings. The wall is topped along its entire length with pieces of concave beveled granite. In the beveled area of this top is a deeply incised inscription in honor of those who died while in service.  The memorial wall is located on Duke University campus, between the Duke University Divinity School Library and Duke Chapel.

Created in July 1st, 1949, the Department of Aerospace Studies began with a small group of students dedicated to a career in the U.S. Air Force. Formerly recognized as a Reserve Officer Training Corps by the Air Force in 1951, Detachment 585 was welcomed into the Trinity College of Arts and Science. In 1972, a cross-town agreement was established with North Carolina Central University (NCCU). Located on a 103-acre campus in the heart of Durham where NCCU has an enrollment of over 8,000 men and women from all over the globe. It is the nation's first public liberal arts institution founded for African-Americans. In the same year, NCCU became an integral part of the University of North Carolina system. Graduates of its six colleges include regional and national leaders in education, business, government, and the arts. NCCU students travel to Duke University to attend classes and Leadership Labs that continue to build leaders of character, and develop the future of Air and Space Force officers.

As one of the Air Force’s premier ROTC units, Detachment 585 has a proud history of cadet accomplishments, not only in the fields of academics, but also in heroism, and charity. Detachment 585 cadets have demonstrated the courage required to receive the Air Force ROTC Silver Valor for actions taken in the face of danger, in a more charitable capacity, have received honors of being named Outstanding Air Force
ROTC Cadet of the Year by the Air Force Association and while many students have time for studying and themselves, a majority of Detachment 585’s cadets are volunteers of the Arnold Air Society – an organization that works closely with many
local charities.

Throughout the decades, Detachment 585 has continued to evolve and adapt to meet the needs of each new generation of cadets. In the wake of the Vietnam War, Detachment 585 revamped many programs and guidelines to better represent the needs of the students at Duke and North Carolina Central Universities. Detachment 585 has been named best squadron in the Nation by the Arnold Air Society National
Headquarters, and continues to recruit among the brightest and hardest working students nationwide. Detachment 585 cadets have ranked #1 academically in the U.S., scored in the upper 3% nationally at field training, and continually reinforce the Air Force perception of teamwork.

Molding future Air Force leaders takes dedication, camaraderie and motivation – like the cadets, the cadre of Detachment 585 is up to the challenge.