Non-military familes

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by MombaBomba, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2014
    Messages:
    425
    Likes Received:
    218
    One thing I noticed when reading posts here was the number of candidates and cadets with military parents (one or both). Some have mentioned prepping their kids since an early age, and others have mentioned being mentored at an early age. Then there are the "I knew a general, brigadeer general etc. etc., and he/she wrote me a letter of recommendation." Many have mentioned legacy parents/children, multiple children in various academies etc......

    My son discovered his desire to be a part of the Air Force and attend the USAFA on his own during his second semester as a high school junior. He had no family member or mentor prepping, guiding or developing him since the age of 5. He has/had family members who served in the military (army, marines, navy and air force), but that was during times past due to war or the draft, but no career military. Neither of us (parents) were in the military. He was educated on ROTC by his ALO (he has applied for AFROTC). So this has all been on him, with our help and support when needed.

    There are moments when I wonder what chance does he really have as he hasn't been prepping since he could walk and has no connections or guides/mentors in the military. Sometimes I wonder if there is a "non-military connected need not apply" posted in invisible ink on the academy applications.

    I realize that "non-military family" cadets attend the USAFA. However, out of curiosity, does anyone know what percentage of cadets come from non-military families?
     
  2. CannotBeDisplayed

    CannotBeDisplayed Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2013
    Messages:
    216
    Likes Received:
    3
    I wouldn't say I come from a non-military family (father was USMC enlisted the first 7 years of my life), but no one in my extended family has ever been career military, nor an officer. However, I didn't realize I wanted to attend USAFA or any service academy, really (didn't even know Navy had one, and I didn't understand that USMA is one), until October 26th of my senior year, which happened to be the deadline for nom applications for my MOC (missed my senators' deadlines by about 10 days). Luckily, I had a great ALO who walked me through the whole process from square one. It took me about a month to get caught up with everyone else, but I did it, and I did receive a nomination. Now, I'm playing the waiting game with all of the other candidates.

    I do not have the percentage you are looking for, nor do I have the experience to give you any cadet perspective. I wish you and your DS the best of luck. :smile:
     
  3. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    Many come from non military families. IIRC, the ratio was actually something like 50%. I don't come from a military family, did not know anyone ranking, and certainly was not groomed for it.
     
  4. ca2midwestmom

    ca2midwestmom Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,276
    Likes Received:
    178
    I can't answer your question about %, and my DS didn't go beyond the initial pre-app for AFA, but he did apply to USNA & USMA. His father was Army enlisted/drafted(?) during Vietnam (as was an uncle), both grandfathers were Army enlisted - one during the Korean War and one during WWII. None of them were career. DS did not have any prepping, but he did begin the process of researching/getting ready for a SA as a HS freshman. We don't consider ourselves a military family; DS has heard only a few army stories from his father/uncle, and both grandfathers passed away when he was very little. DS's essay to both SAs touched on the above. DS has received an appointment to USMA. As you said, non-military family cadets are appointed to all of the SAs. Legacy may help like a high ACT score or a leadership experience, but I have to think there are so many non-military family candidates applying that it is not a significant ding on their application. If a candidate has the passion and determination to become a military officer, a strong application will shine through with or without the legacy -- IMHO. But because it is also a numbers game, not every qualified candidate can be offered an appointment.

    Hang in there and good luck to your DS!
     
  5. coastiefam

    coastiefam Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    1
    We are a military family. My husband has served for 22 years plus his Academy time. I served until we married. We certainly have not "groomed" our boys. Hopefully we have set an example of sacrifice and duty. Our boys have grown up seeing the military lifestyle and all it entails. Our oldest son is currently attending his third high school. His younger brothers will transfer overseas with us this summer and start at their fifth new school in five years.
    Our oldest decided to apply to academies and ROTC as his own choice. He also applied to four civilian schools as well and the decision will be his.
    Only 1% of Americans are serving on active duty in the Armed forces. The fact that many children choose to willingly follow in those footsteps says a lot about their character and resiliency.

    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  6. dohdean

    dohdean Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    1
    We are not a military family. Our daughter graduated USAF last year. We come from an area (Boulder, Colorado) with no military presence and very liberal views (as you've probably seen/read/heard in the media). Our daughter became interested in the service academies in elementary school -- in part -- from attending Space Camp in Hutchinson, Kansas (incredible program in an unexpected place) where she met several folks affiliated with NASA who had Academy connections. She was lucky to have several teachers in middle school and high school who supported her decision as did her closest friends for the most part (again -- this is a very liberal area -- with vitually no military presence and few folks with military backgrounds). She did just fine at the Academy -- what she didn't know about the military -- she learned. She is now a 2nd Lt. at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware, loving her new career and starting part time grad school. There are many cadets, male and female, without a military background -- if the fit is right, they will do just fine! Family, friends, community and church support were what mattered for our daughter.
     
  7. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,237
    Likes Received:
    272
    There are a surprising number of military brats at the academies, but that doesn't mean non-military cadets don't fit in. The only military connection my family had was that my grandparents on one side were in the Air Force for a couple years in the 1950s. I didn't know about the academies except for a Scoutmaster who talked about applying to USAFA to teach about goals (he never attended) and a friend who applied (who told me their were vision waivers to be a pilot).

    Not having parents with military experience isn't a big deal. At least, it wasn't for me.
     
  8. gbobster

    gbobster Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    8
    Not a military family but a law enforcement family. DS's grandfather was, however, a WWII aviator and whose photo I for my avatar.
     
  9. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
    Messages:
    1,115
    Likes Received:
    564
    Although my husband graduated class of 83, his family had no connection to the military at all. We never pushed my DD in that direction; only answered questions when she asked. My husband wasn't even in the AF anymore when she was born. Believe me when I say we were pleasantly surprised when she announced her plans last year.
     
  10. melindayching

    melindayching Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2011
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    3
    My husband is a grad but got out before we got married and his dad was career Air Force but long retired when my daughter was born. I went to a very liberal west coast university, and my daughter is like my little clone. Suffice it to say that despite the purported military ties, our family is distinctly un-military. During BCT, my daughter had a rough first 2-3 days...no idea what military bearing was! She figured it out and is now thriving and will be cadre for BCT 1 this coming summer. If your child has the desire, commitment and strength of character he'll be just fine. The first few days of BCT may be tough, but that's just a few days...He'll be fine!

    And my daughter didn't visit the Academy, nor did she even really consider it, until the fall of her junior year when we attended a reunion. So she was not primed, groomed, or prepped...and she made it! So good luck!
     
  11. coastiefam

    coastiefam Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    1
    I believe these are the statistics you were looking for. This is from the AFA Class of 2017 profile. Note this only tracks Academy grads as parents, not those parents/family members who were enlisted, ROTC, OCS, etc.


    Sons and Daughters of Alumni
    The Class of 2017 includes 77 sons and 35 daughters of Service Academy Graduates (9.6% of the class):

    Academy Alumni Sons Daughters
    US Air Force Academy 58 27
    US Military Academy 8 5
    US Naval Academy 9 3
    US Coast Guard Academy 2 0
    US Merchant Marine Academy 0 0

    Note: Nine male cadets and five female cadets had both parents
    attend the Air Force Academy. One male cadet and one female
    cadet had both parents attend West Point. One male cadet had
    both parents attend the Naval Academy.
     
  12. USAFretired1996

    USAFretired1996 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2009
    Messages:
    220
    Likes Received:
    13
    My wife and I are retired AF enlisted but our son’s interest in the Academy stemmed from a 10th grade friend whose dad was an ’86 grad and the Commander of one of the Fighter Squadrons at Langley. Always impressed with grads during my career, I never thought our kid was the Academy material type. He knew he wanted to serve and we were focusing on AFROTC at Virginia Tech so had it not been for the encouragement from this long ago friend he wouldn't be at the Academy now.
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,804
    Likes Received:
    941
    I don't think military families prep their kids since they were walking. We didn't, and none of our friends did.

    I think the reason you see this % is because the kids grew up in the military and by the time they came up for college, retrospect was part of the equation.

    I can't tell you how many times I heard that it was unfair they had to move again because of Dad and the AF. Our DS that is an O1 at UPT 9 different schools (2 hs) from kindergarten on. Yet, when he got older he embraced the positive things, In KS he couldn't fathom that his classmates never saw the Atlantic Ocean,. We moved from NC to KS, at least 1x a month we did the 45 min drive for the day. In NC when the Iditarod occurred he was talking with friends about how every year he was at the starting line, or in AK they don't call it Mt. McKinley, but Denali or how at the end of the day before school was released they would announce where Moose have been spotted for the walkers. Not many people knew what it means if their ears or down or up.

    All of this starts looking fun now which is IMPO why you see that high percentages that you see.
     
  14. drjunge

    drjunge Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    We can relate to your situation. We are non-military and my daughter did not even think of USAFA until the spring of her junior year when we were looking for summer camps to go to. The USAFA summer Seminar came up when we Googled for summer camps. She thought it sounded interesting so applied for the Summer Seminar. She was accepted. When she was there, the first thing she texted to use was "I don't belong here. The other 9 people in my group are all from military families". After the Summer Seminar she decided though to go ahead and apply. She was very open with everyone throughout the process, including interviews, that this was just one of several good options she was pursuing. She got accepted, and after much deliberation, decided to go the USAFA route. She showed up at In-processing knowing virtually nothing about the military.

    Well, to make a long story short, she graduates and will be commissioned in 3 short months, and aside from the first few months of adjusting to USAFA has loved it there. She has had many great experiences, made great friends, and is excited to begin her Air Force career.
     
  15. Dad

    Dad Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    1,133
    Likes Received:
    57
    Wow.
     
  16. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2014
    Messages:
    425
    Likes Received:
    218
    Thank you for all of your responses, feedback and input.

    From my perspective, it appears most of the posters here in this forum (cadets, graduates, moderators etc.) had some sort of military connection/association. Having seen that, I was curious as to how many applicants did and did not have a military association. (Being a math major, I do realize posters are a very small sampling, thus the question.)

    The reality is familial upbringing has a large role in influencing a child's future. This influence comes from family stories, examples, life choices, career choices, etc. etc. etc.

    In no way do I believe every service academy graduate parent or military parent has groomed their child from the age of 5. I suspect the percentage of "Tiger Mom's and Dad's" are the same among military parents and non-military parents. I have met some parents who have been grooming their kids since they could walk to get into an ivy league. One parent was bent out of shape over what preschool her child would go to and how that impacted her child's ivy league future. My mind boggled. Up to that point, I thought those people only existed in comedy routines.

    So thank you again for sharing. I appreciate it.
     
  17. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    7,544
    Likes Received:
    1,004
    I think you're correct that many here have a military connection. However, for many of us it's only through our kids.
     

Share This Page