Dr. Louis L. Fletcher
Veteran | 20 years in the U.S. Air Force
Dr. Fletcher was the founding dean of Air Force Space Command’s Advanced Space Operations School (ASOPS), which is now part of the United States Space Force. Dr. Fletcher directed and organized the implementation plan that took ASOPS from being a unit of the National Security Space Institute (NSSI) to become a stand-alone school that teaches advanced tactics and techniques to space professionals. Dr. Fletcher was also a member of the Future of the Republic of Korea (ROK)-United States Alliance (FOTA) international negotiating team the enhanced, shaped, and aligned the political and military alliance between the ROK and US for the next 50 years. The FOTA agreement determined base closures and realignments, troop strength on the peninsula, and relocated the United States forces Korea (USFK) headquarters south of the Han River from Seoul’s Yongsan Garrison to Camp Humphreys near Pyeongtaek, ROK. Dr. Fletcher was the commander of Detachment 2, of the 17th Test Squadron located at Cheyenne Mountain during the 9-11 terrorist attacks. His unit was deployed worldwide following the attacks to test and report vulnerabilities in the Integrated Tactical Warning and Attack Assessment (ITWAA) system-of-systems. Dr. Fletcher’s unit highlighted a vulnerability in representative attack scenarios, competed for congressional funs, and secured the latter funding to build scenarios that enhanced the nation’s security from surprise foreign terrorist attacks. The aforementioned are just a few milestones in a distinguished career of service to a grateful nation.
What is your perspective on patriotism?
I believe patriotism is a defense of what the nation should be in the face of the shortfalls of equity and inclusion experienced by minority military members. It’s not a demonstration that minority military members are good enough to be citizens, but rather claiming and reaffirming our birthright as American citizens and demanding to be treated equally under the law.
What has been your experience while you’re transitioning from active duty to civilian life?
I was raised in a low socioeconomic environment, but the military gave me the opportunity to transcend the trajectory dictated by my circumstances. I earned a PhD funded by the Air Force while I was on active duty, so my prospects for success were multiplied when I retired and entered the civilian workforce.
What do you do now, post active duty?
I am currently a PK-12 and Higher Education Administrator, Professor, Keynote Speaker, Restorative Practices Advocate, Equity Consultant, Civil Rights Investigator, and TED Talk Speaker in my post-military life.
What advice would you give to others transitioning into civilian life?
I routinely talk to transitioning veterans during the Air Force Academy’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP). I tell them to follow their passion if they want to have a productive transition, which means even if every opportunity is not perfect they will be more resilient if they are truly passionate about their journey. Furthermore, they must be flexible and understand that they worked to achieve their success in the military and they will need to do the same in the civilian world; e.g., “they may thank you for your service, but they are not going to give you a free pass because of it”.
I believe serving your country is a calling just like the clergy; therefore, you need to understand that a key military role is fighting in conflicts that are deemed important to the national security of this country. If a persons’ motive is just receiving outstanding educational benefits, world class leadership training, and potential veterans’ benefits without regard for the national security role, then they may face turmoil and disappointment when they are called to deploy in defense of national priorities.