Active Duty to AFA

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Packer, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. Packer

    Packer Member

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    What are the opportunities to go to AFA from the enlisted ranks? There is quite a bit of talk on this subject at USMA but not so much here.
     
  2. USAFretired1996

    USAFretired1996 Member

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  3. USAFretired1996

    USAFretired1996 Member

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  4. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Great info. Thanks.
    Any idea on how long an enlisted member must serve before they are able to get a commanders recomendation and apply?
    My son has mentioned this avenue to get in if he isn't successful this year. He has a competitive profile with average to a little above profile academics but is not a sure thing.
    How competitive is it coming out of the enlisted ranks?

    I have no issue with him enlisting if he wants to but I want to make sure he has realistic expectations about getting into the academy.
     
  5. USAFretired1996

    USAFretired1996 Member

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    ^^

    As you can tell from my ID, it's been a long, long time since I retired. While there has always been the opportunity for enlisted to go to AFA, the LEAD program was a fairly recent CSAF initiative that put greater emphasis on identifying eligible young airmen because of what they bring to the table.

    I think the biggest impediment is the mandatory age to enter AFA. By the time the airman has gone through basic and tech school (some of which can be extremely long) and reported to their first duty station, they are going to need some time to establish themselves in the squadron to the point where the commander knows them well enough to recommend them. From what I know, if they are recommended and meet the other requirements, that's pretty much it. No other hoops to jump through.

    If you look at last years threads, you'll see several airmen that posted they received appointments. Maybe someone who has gone through or is going through the process this year can add more current info than I have.
     
  6. dagger

    dagger Member

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    I can help out here.

    I'm currently serving on Active Duty and have my entire AFA application completed and submitted.

    I am not aware of there being any minimum requirement of time to apply and receive an appointment.

    There was an Airman years back who applied in Technical School for the Academy and got accepted into the Prep School, and later went on to eventually graduate from the Academy.

    With my current squadron, we switched commanders immediately when I arrived, and a week later the commander requested to meet with me about applying. He was fully supportive and despite knowing myself or this squadron for less than a week, already offered to help out in any way he could. This was excellent, because you must have a letter of recommendation from your commander to finish your application. In fact, s/he is your nominating source. (We don't have to apply for a nomination from congress or anyone else-- our commander does this.)

    If he's young, he's has an extremely high chance of receiving an appointment to the prep school straight from the enlisted ranks from what I've been told by multiple sources. The SAT requirements aren't even that high for the prep school coming from the enlisted side. I believe the minimums are in the low 500s for the SATs.

    In my case, I'm 21 at the moment, and will be too old for the prep school. Receiving an appointment directly is my only viable option.

    Let me know if you have any other questions, or if I could be of an assistance in any way.

    Looking back, I wish I would have enlisted right out of high school because I was rejected from a service academy as a senior in high school.
     
  7. mustang10

    mustang10 Member

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    More prior enlisted info from a grad

    I did three years enlisted before getting picked up for USAFA. It isn't a straight shot. AF Enlisted Recruiters will try to thrown in the possibility of an Academy appointment as a selling point. There are dedicated slots for prior enlisted troops at the prep school, and my year I was one of 17 direct entry cadets straight from the Air Force. I wouldn't suggest anyone enlist unless they have an intrinsic reason to enlist.
     
  8. Packer

    Packer Member

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    dagger, How long have you been enlisted?

    Mustang, You say you were enlisted 3 years. Were you trying to get to the academy that whole time?

    He is competive and has other options including college/rotc if he doesn't get in but has mentioned enlisting and trying to get into the academy that way. I guess I am trying to figure out if it is a long shot going the enlisted route and how big the detour is.
    Thanks
     
  9. mustang10

    mustang10 Member

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    However comma

    I wasn't trying to go to USAFA all three years, and I only applied once. However, the Air Force doesn't see enlisted service as a means to an end. Unless the papers have been signed a year at a different school, and then re-applying is the more conservative option.
     
  10. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Mustang, even though you went that route I take it that you don't think it is a good idea?
     
  11. mustang10

    mustang10 Member

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    USAFA is a great school, the opportunities are endless, and i'd recommend it as a commissioning option to any airman who had the desire to go. It is a big stretch to say that if you enlist you can get accepted into USAFA. Enlisting in the Air Force is an honorable thing to do, its a great way to serve your country, and experience life in ways many people never will. Going from Airman to cadet just isn't a sure thing, and I would argue because enlisted appointees of differing experience levels apply for the same slots it increases the competition. I would do it all over again, but I enlisted to enlist. The Academy was an option that opened up after I had established myself as an Airman.
     
  12. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Thanks. He is dead set on serving no matter what and AF and CG are his top two choices with the army being 3rd. He thinks and I do to that he has what it takes to be an officer. He has an army ROTC scholarship already and hopes he will pick up an AFROTC scholarship. I think he will go to college and go the ROTC route if he doesn't get into one of the three academies but has talked about enlisting as well. It was fairly recently that he and I became aware of the academy opportunity from the enlisted ranks and I was/am looking for a little more insight. Thanks again.
     
  13. mustang10

    mustang10 Member

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    Go Air Force Beat Army!
     
  14. USAFretired1996

    USAFretired1996 Member

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    Mustang 10, what stands out to me in your post is the appreciation you have for the enlisted force. I believe this is one of the key attributes that makes prior enlisted candidates so attractive to AFA. Best wishes for continued success.
     
  15. dagger

    dagger Member

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    I've been in for 16.5 months.

    Just like Mustang, I enlisted because I wanted to be enlisted. I didn't enlist in hopes of getting into the Academy-- that option never crossed my mind until my flight chief at my first duty station 8 months ago suggested it.

    My original plan was to do four years as an enlisted member, and then apply for ROTC or OTS. I always wanted to be an officer, but I wanted to be enlisted first so I could have both perspectives put into play. Someone once told me that some of the best officers were prior enlisted, which is why I enlisted in the first place.

    Hopefully that makes some sense.

    Bottom line, he needs to be enlisting because he WANTS to serve at an enlisted capacity. As Mustang stated, it's not a guarantee to get picked up by the AFA.
     
  16. Dad

    Dad Member

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    Air Force 24, Army 14

    4C4's, enjoy your week at rest.:thumb:
     
  17. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Our neighbor's DS enlisted, had the grades to go to college, but he decided he wanted to enlist. Ironically, his parents were completely opposed to this, because Dad was enlisted, and later on became an officer via OCS. It took the Dad about 6 yrs to get into OCS, he never tried for the AFA.

    DS applied about 16 mos in, got Commander support, but did not get AFA. For him this actually created a new problem. The next summer he started up the paperwork again, BUT the Commander told him NO this time. The Commander felt that he had his shot and the AFA did not accept him, so he was giving the shot to the next guy.

    This would be how any Commander would see a promotion board for an officer, if they gave a DP or P and you didn't get it, they are not going to give you that again.

    He is finishing up his college degree using TA, and now is in the process for the OCS board. The problem is now the AF is downsizing, so that is not a guarantee.

    Nobody can project the numbers in the future. I agree if he wants to serve and is happy going enlisted, than he should.

    This is just my personal advice and throw it in the circular filing cabinet when done. Pull the DFAS pay chart, sit down with him and work the monthly numbers for him as an enlisted. Pull up cell phone, car insurance, car pmts, gas, etc. to illustrate that if this is the route, he must be sure since there is no guarantee he will get into the AFA or OCS. He has to want to be enlisted.

    He can't do this just as youthful exuberance.

    Good luck
     
  18. Packer

    Packer Member

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    This is great information. It all helps paint a realistic picture so he can make an informed decision.

    His talk of enlisting came up well before he became aware of the possibility of going to an academy from the enlisted ranks. He was actually made aware of the possibility by his MALO in a conversation about the various ways to become an officer. He is not looking for an "easy route".

    He is starting to see some great opportunities come his way and he will have multiple options and I am not expecting him to pursue the enlisted route but sometimes he surprises me.

    Keep the accounts coming on the enlisted to AFA experience. The more info the better.
     
  19. i1c5x1

    i1c5x1 Member

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    Hello

    I am enlisted and have a friend who is applying AFA as well. I have put my package in to use a program for enlisted to go to ROTC. This has been a whole lot easier than her putting her AFA package in, I do not suggest unless you really want to be enlisted, going this route. You could get a supervisor like one I know...that no one deserves an excellent EPR or evaluations. Gave 4s to those who could have gotten 5's. You could get injured, All kinds of life can happen in the mil to put those road blocks in the way. Its truely possible to do...but there are all kimds of options.

    side note:
    Enlisted to ROTC is the easiest way to commission,
    trying for OCS puts you in the same ocean as every one else. They have been cancelling non rated boards left and right,

    good luck!
     

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