New Book Out on the Air Force Academy

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by AcademyFriend1, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. AcademyFriend1

    AcademyFriend1 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    202
    Likes Received:
    1
    As a high school teacher who sometimes helps guide students through the application/nomination process to the service academies, I try to stay current (and get our school library to do the same) on books about the service academies. I have found that the least info in book format is available on the U.S. Air Force Academy! So I wanted to pass on the title of what I think is a worthwhile new non-fiction book about the Air Force Academy: "Skies to Conquer" by Diana Jean Schemo. It is basically "a year in the life at USAFA" focusing most on the incoming class; it gives a great picture of life during BCT and the first year at USAFA, and overall seems like a fair depiction of the institution and some of the issues it has dealt with in the past few years. I don't think it is quite on par with David Lipsky's West Point book, "Absolutely American," which I think sets the standard, but I would recommend it to any students or parents thinking of USAFA (and to family and friends once a student has accepted a nomination).
     
  2. 2014JEZZMOM

    2014JEZZMOM Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have almost finished this book and to me it seems to dwell on the negatives and is almost depressing. It would be much better if it balanced out the hardships and scandels with postivie facts, but that is just my opinion.
     
  3. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    It's all a matter of perception. If you understand the "WHYs" of the air force academy and the military, then what may "APPEAR" to be a negative, in fact can be positive. Marching for hours, standing at attention, saluting, keeping your room in inspection order, not allowed off campus during the week, etc... Are those really negatives? If you understand military discipline, integrity, team work, bring personalities from 50 different states and numerous territories together to perform as one by developing COMMON Goals and personalities; then seeing how that all plays into developing military leaders who have the lives of numerous men and women; as well as our nations freedoms in their very hands; can be seen as a positive.

    It's all how you perceive it. If you think that the academies are a place where you get a top notch education, and in return, you pay them back with 5 years of service, then yes: There will be a LOT OF NEGATIVES for going to the academy. That's the "Glass Half Empty" approach. If you see it as you wanting and willing to serve your country, protect the freedoms and liberties of our people, entrusting the lives of men and women under your authority;..... "And in return, the air force will give you a top notch education, a rewarding job, numerous benefits, and a career that you can be proud of:; then that's the "Glass is half full" approach. Me personally, I don't believe the glass is half FULL OR half empty. There is just the right amount of water. The glass just happens to be the wrong size!!!

    The academy is not a traditional university or college. In a traditional school, you are insignificant. Sorry, but that's the truth. What you do when you graduate doesn't mean 1 thing to that school. It rarely means anything to society or anyone on the planet. You are free to succeed or fail. You are free to get "A's" or party your butt off. You are insignificant. At the academy however, you are VERY SIGNIFICANT. Our country's very existence, our individual freedoms that allows the "Others" to go to those universities or choose to go directly into the work force following their "DREAMS", are actually in your hands as a cadet and future officer. Many people don't want to realize the actual importance of our military. They want to believe that we do what we do in foreign countries only for oil or for political reasons. Some of that may be true, but our national security which ensures our freedoms and liberties are intertwined with economics, politics, energy, and numerous other influences.

    I personally haven't read the book in question, but I believe that I know a "Little" bit about the air force and our armed forces. I am familiar with perception. I remember quite well military protests of the 70's, as well as through the last 3 decades. I'm also familiar with how 2 cadets or military members can be in the exact same surroundings doing the exact same task or event, and there be 2 totally different perspectives on it. One positive, and one negative. Did I always have a "Positive" attitude? No, not at all. But I always understood why I was doing what it was I was doing. Sometimes I didn't agree with it, sometimes I did. But that's where having faith and trust in those appointed over me allowed me to keep things into perspective.

    I implore all applicants, appointees, and cadets at the academy and thinking of applying to the academy to truly understand WHY you are going through all this. If you understand why, and know what to expect, then you can mature and grow into the cadet and officer that we need. If you don't understand exactly what you're getting into, or perceive it the wrong way, you will have a miserable experience. Sorry, but those are the facts. Best of luck to all of you. Mike.....
     
  4. AcademyFriend1

    AcademyFriend1 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    202
    Likes Received:
    1
    More on USAFA Book

    In response to the reader who found "Skies to Conquer" to be somewhat negative, it is true that the author was writing it in part because she had covered some controversies at USAFA in 2003 and 2005, so those topics (allegations regarding poor handling of sexual assault allegations, and involvement by Academy personnel in promoting religion) are part of the book's "transformation" theme. Overall, though, I thought the cadets in the book were depicted positively and that the book showed an institution dealing forthrightly with criticism and trying to make changes where needed while preserving the heart and soul that made it great. I think structurally "Skies to Conquer" is hurt by focusing on one year at the Academy, when the four-degree class (like every incoming class at a service academy) is most struggling with doubts as to whether they can hack it, are suited for the military life, etc. (One chapter, on a student who resigns in September after successfully completing BCT, is one of the best and most fair accounts I've seen of the decision-making process, and the Academy comes off very well -- making every effort to counsel and encourage the young person, while ultimately respecting her decision that the military is not for her.) The author comes back for a sort-of postscript chapter before graduation that gives good updates on some of the key cadet characters (for example, the "disconnected jock" character finishes strong), but one of the fun things about David Lipsky's West Point book was that he was there all four years and you could see the change as it happened. Ultimately, though, the reason I recommend this book is that I think it adds a lot to the store of knowledge about the USAFA, and gives non-insiders a good deal more of a sense of the culture and day-to-day life of the place.
     
  5. rkrosnar

    rkrosnar Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Messages:
    676
    Likes Received:
    16
    New Book Out

    Christcorp

    Your post was right on. 100% truth and accuracy

    Thanks, RGK
     

Share This Page