Lt Col Ralph S. Van Brunt Squadron of Arnold Air Society

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The Lt Col Ralph S. Van Brunt Squadron is one of many squadrons of Arnold Air Society that are located around the country. The Van Brunt Squadron is attached to the Air Force ROTC Detachment 490 located at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, New Jersey.


The Lieutenant Colonel Ralph S. Van Brunt Squadron probably has one of the richest histories of the Arnold Air Society. It began as the Highlander Squadron back in 1950 at the Newark College of Engineering.

The reason why it was called the Highlander Squadron was because the Highlander was the school's mascot. The location of the school was on top of a hill, on High street, overlooking downtown Newark; so the Highlanders were born. In addition, it also became a metaphor for Arnold Air Society's pure intent and everlasting struggle to accomplish high goals.

Approximately 34 cadets including the Commander, Executive Officer, Adjutant Recorder, Publications Officer, and Treasurer were the chartering members. The Charter was signed by General Jimmy Doolittle on 21 September 1950.

The Highlander Squadron was extremely involved in many things inside and outside of the detachment. Annually, they awarded a scholarship and hosted a Military Ball. They also published a newsletter called The Cadet, which later became the official newsletter for Detachment 490. After that, the squadron continued to support it both financially and with labor.

However, their community service was their most impressive and defining quality. They put together Halloween and Christmas parties every year for children at nearby hospitals and did clean-up projects in the local area as well. In addition, they were extremely supportive of the Cadet Corps. They held tutoring programs, mixers, and dinners to boost the morale of the cadets.

In late 1978, Cadets Thomas Pisarski and Henry Bomhoff put together the required "packet" to change the name of the squadron to the Lieutenant Colonel Ralph S. Van Brunt Squadron. They submitted the packet through the detachment and it was approved around the time the cadets graduated.

These cadets were very fond of Lt Col Van Brunt. As a Major, Van Brunt flew an F-4 in the Vietnam War. As a Lt Col, he was assigned as the detachment commander in 1975 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Officers that were cadets at the time of his command say he was an outstanding speaker, humorous and inspirational. He was very personable and many cadets trusted him with many issues outside of those ROTC related. Thomas Pisarski (Ret.) says "you could speak to him as a person; not just a Lt Col" When he retired about 5 years later, he went to work for Boeing in Washington State. He has since retired from Boeing and enjoys a healthy life as a father and grandfather, first residing in Washington, and then moving to Florida in 2011.

Stevens Institute of Technology was a detachment, as well, up until 1978. Due to the proximity of the two schools, there was constant rivalry. Unfortunately, they had to suppress their resentment due to the fact that Stevens did not have enough numbers to continue as a detachment. Therefore, they were combined and Stevens' cadets had to commute to Newark.

Currently, the Van Brunt Squadron does everything they can to continue this honorable tradition. They have worked with Habitat for Humanity, held food drives, assisted a local fire department, and worked on many other projects that are beneficial to the Cadet Wing and the community.

Past Squadron Commanders[edit]

George Stahl (1950-51)
Robert Weidenmuller (1952)
Stephen Scropski (1953)
Daniel Pulis (1954)
John Kennedy (1955)
Fred Stamp (1956)
Stewart Hartkopt (1958)
Stanley B. Lamberski (1961)
Dennis E. Beebe (1962)
Joseph Quinn (1963)
Andrew Conos (1964)
Sebastian Colgifore (1965)
L. Hori (1966)
John Lauber (1967)
Allan Gonslaki (1968)
George C. Mazzen (1969)
William Perry (1970)
Edward Newcoft (1972)
James Jerema (1974)
Paul Pawlikowski (1976)
Ellen Pawlikowski (1977)
Thomas Pisarski (1978)
Michael Falino (1979)
Carlos Meneses (1987)
Agustin Amundarain (1988)
Eugene V. Becker (1989)
Robert Forte (1997)
Sarah Kelly (1998)
Omar Munoz (1999)
Greg Orbino (2000)
Kuashal Diwan (2001)
Chad Fuentes (2002)
Brian Cooper (2003)
Paul K. Einreinhofer (2004)
Christopher M. Vanchure (Spring 2005)
Peter T. Nelson (Fall 2005)
Charles B. Kratochvil (Spring 2006)
Darwin S. Angeles (Spring 2006)
Kristofer T. Fernandez (Fall 2006 / Spring 2007)
Matthew C. Jefferson (Fall 2007 / Spring 2008)
Devin D. Deans (Fall 2008 / Spring 2009)
Timothy R. Mann (Fall 2009 / Spring 2010)
Lucas S. Torres (Fall 2010)
Mateusz Borek (Spring 2011)
Eddie L. Cruz (Fall 2011)
Mariana Tamariz (Spring 2012/Fall 2012)
Thomas P. Karlowski (Spring 2013)

Awards and Accomplishments[edit]

Outstanding Squadron (for October 2006) Area II Conclave, HARBORCON, Baltimore, MD, 3-5 Nov 06

Based on the overall outstanding performance of the squadron, they were able to single handedly have the AASMAN-1 changed at the 2007 National Conclave (NATCON) to reflect the small size of the squadron. Before the change, in order to be an active squadron in good standing meant you had to have a minimum of six members. Operating with only four members for over a year, the Van Brunt Squadron was able to put up comparable and better numbers to squadrons with many more members. Having the AASMAN-1 changed to say that squadrons can be in good standing with six members or an amount equaling thirty percent of their overall detachment size helped Van Brunt become a squadron in good standing while simultaneously attached to one of the smallest detachments in AFROTC. The unique element in this accomplishment is that the change was not voted on at NATCON, it was changed only by our request.

External links[edit]