Leave for church mission?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by acesmom, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. acesmom

    acesmom Member

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    My DS is a pre-candidate for AFA. Any SA parents out there who are LDS/Mormon and can share their experience with getting a leave for church mission?

    If DS gets a nom and is accepted he would be able to do his first year but then would leave for 2 yrs on his mission.

    He met a current cadet in his 3rd year at AFA at a MOC's SA conference recently who said it's "no problem". I would be interested in hearing others experiences and if it was "no problem" for you and your DS/DD as well!

    When do cadets have to be back for fall term for 2nd year at AFA? I understand there are three 3 wk summer "terms" and that you are free for one of them? DS would have no problem returning from mission in time for fall classes but dates for mission may not coincide to be present for 2 of 3 summer periods. Would that be a prob from AFA standpoint?

    Thanks in advance:smile:

    acesmom
     
  2. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Hi!

    I have worked with several cadets who had "stepped out" for their LDS mission after their second year. The AF is fully understanding of this and fully supports it but it can be "intimidating" to the cadet and their family because the cadet has to resign their appointment! :eek:

    Yes, really.

    BUT... :thumb: The AFA will give the cadet a "schedule" that explains what has to be done, when it must be done, etc...etc...and will keep in touch.

    Toward the first few months of the second year out, the cadet will contact their MoC and ask for a nomination (Yes, they really have to get one) to USAFA and will explain that they're on their mission...MOST MoC's know a LOT about that and have no issues; the nomination is pretty much automatic.

    And then there's some paperwork that will have to be done, physical, etc., but it's not too big a deal.

    And then...suddenly, they're back at USAFA and BUSY!!

    This has been done for decades, the SA's have it down to a science.

    If I had any advice for anyone, I'd say "let your MoC's know you're leaving on your mission BUT that you'll be returning to USAFA and will be requesting a nomination in XXXX." And then...from time to time, drop a note to their "Director of Constituent Services" to keep them updated and you in their minds.

    My MoC does this with his students on missions...and we've gotten them ALL back to USAFA with no issues at all.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  3. acesmom

    acesmom Member

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    Steve,

    Thank you! The way my sons bday falls (can't serve mission till 19) he would be able to complete first year at AFA if he gets in.

    As an ALO, would you recommend that this is something he should tell his ALO, that he would leave after freshman year and return 2 yrs later?

    Thanks again,
    acesmom
     
  4. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Actually, this is something the needs to discuss with the ALO AND with the admissions folks.

    The reason being, I've never heard of a cadet being allowed to leave on a mission after the first year; it's always after the second year.

    Now that's not to say that it's not done, but I've not heard of it. I don't know how that's "done."

    He should definitely contact USAFA's counselors/admissions folks (ALO can help with this) to ask about leaving after 1st year versus 2nd.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  5. buffalo

    buffalo USAFA 2013

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    Two of my buddies in my squadron are LDS. One outprocessed after finals to serve his mission, the other will leave next year.

    [EDIT] I just asked the one staying and he said that most actually leave after the first year. Only he and one other cadet are staying for through 3* year.

     
  6. acesmom

    acesmom Member

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    I think I mentioned that my son met an LDS cadet at our MOC's SA conference recently. This cadet actually told us that AFA prefers them to go after first year...he said reason is that after 1st yr is when the class gets split up into groups and then go through the next 3 years together. He said that if you go on your mission after 2nd year when every one has already been put together then you come back you're not with those people anymore. I guess the thought is that if you go after 1st year and come back and then get assigned to a group you would still have 3 years together instead of just 2 if you leave after 2nd year.

    Also, the cadet said that there have been so many cadets leave for a mission and come back that it's not that big of a deal. My original post was just curious to hear of others experiences who have "been there, done that."

    Thanks all for your comments.
     
  7. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Hmm...first year....this is the first time I've heard about that! :thumb:

    Good news to have! I'll have to chat with the admin folks and then when I have their "okay" I'll have my officers pass that to our students in AZ. We have a large LDS population and this question is asked ALL of the time! We've been told and seen the "after the second year..."

    Excellent news!! :thumb:

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  8. gcran8333

    gcran8333 New Member

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    LDS Mission

    My son will be going into the academy this Thursday. He will be wresting for the academy and that is the first question that we asked before pursuing an appointment. The athlete that took my son around campus was a returned LDS missionary and knew all the details. He told us that they encourage missions and that is it best to go after the first year. It was absolutely no problem for him to go and return. My son is planning on a LDS mission next summer.
     
  9. acesmom

    acesmom Member

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    Thanks so much everyone for the feedback! This forum is such a wonderful help and I've learned a ton in the short time I've been on. Glad to hear the academy is so supportive of missions. I believe it can only serve to make them an even better cadet when they return...more mature, more disciplined, etc.

    Thanks again.
     
  10. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Follow up on the LDS mission

    Hi all!

    Okay, a little "follow up" on this.

    After all I'd seen here, I decided "...Steve...make a call and get the story straight from USAFA/RR...and make sure you're telling the folks the correct thing!'
    (It's an ALO thing...)

    So I did just that this morning. Here's what I was told.

    1. USAFA (and the assumption is ALL the other SA's) realize that LDS cadets most likely will wish to fulfill their mission for the church. Obviously there is no restriction to doing this.

    2. The mission "calling" is age restricted to between 19 and 25. (I didn't know that)

    3. Cadets are typically 17-23 years of age.

    4. The "most common" time frame for a cadet to leave the SA and perform their mission is age 20; and that typically falls after the second year.

    5. There is NO requirement to do it then...it's up to the cadet, USAFA, and the church. Cadets will be released after their "Doolie" year if that timing fits their desires. **NOTE: "they" told me that 3 cadets are out-processing this week (new 3Dig's) to perform their missions.**

    6. BOTTOM LINE: USAFA does not encourage any set timing for the mission, they will work with each LDS cadet on a case-by-case basis to assure the cadet the opportunity to perform their mission.

    7. The SA will work closely with the cadet on the process to resign their appointment and the process to return (they must get nominated again, and there's a few other minor hurdles to overcome but it's pretty much assured, short of the cadet doing something that would get them tossed from their mission).

    That was as of 11:25 PDT today.

    See...us old fogies can learn!!! :thumb:

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  11. acesmom

    acesmom Member

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    Steve,

    Thank you so very much for taking time to check into things. The info is much appreciated.

    Sincerely,
    acesmom
     
  12. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Just a note about missions and other church obligations:

    I just learned recently from my son that cadets of other religions can do the same thing - missions trips, formal religious obligations, etc. Apparently, there was a Catholic cadet who was off to the Vatican for a year of service and a Pentacostal cadet who had already committed to a South American missions trip. Essentially, they followed a similar procedure to the one described above.

    I believe there was a ton of paper work involved.

    I think the tough thing is that the kids don't graduate with "their" class.
     
  13. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    good points - above^

    flieger -
    It's my impression that the mission MUST be undertaken before the start of the third year - before the official service commitment. Is this correct?
     
  14. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    As I PM'd to others here, this is correct.

    I worked with a cadet last year that did precisely this (non LDS mission). And yes, there are hoops for ALL of them to jump through to return, but again, as I passed on privately, it's RARE for a "returnee" to NOT be accepted back. It typically takes some "action" on the part of the individual that would have them "dismissed" from their mission.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  15. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Hmm...

    Great question and the immediate answer is I don't know. That sounds perfectly logical though.

    I'll make some calls...

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  16. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    My son told me the same thing when he considered a church-related "mission" trip - that he had to complete it before commitment. Logical.
     

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