Pointing son in right direction

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by scubatom, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. scubatom

    scubatom scubatom

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    Hi,
    I am a dad helping my son achieve his goal. My son’s grandparents and mother moved to the United States from South Korea 15 years ago. They worked hard and became US Citizens. My son Derek is in the 6th grade and is interested in the Air Force Academy. His grandparents and mom are encouraging him. They would love to have their grandson do service for our great country as thanks for what the United States has meant to the family.

    Derek is the captain of his select soccer team, plays violin in the school orchestra, and teachers recommended him to take honors classes. He is a straight a student. He has received citizenship awards every year since kindergarten. He received Presidential award last year along with MVP for his class. All his teachers tell me he will make a great leader. He loves to help the other kids, and enjoys talking to the class.

    I just want be able to point him in the right direction to achieve his goal.
    Any input would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks
    Tom
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Keep doing what he's doing. Keep up with the soccer and other forms of physical activity. Keep in shape. Seek out leadership roles. Prep for PSAT and SAT/ACT when the time comes. Sounds like a great kid to be proud of! :thumb:
     
  3. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    I would buy him the soft cover book "The Air Force Academy Candidate Book" by Ross. Available on Amazon and I make it required reading for my candidates (except I use the USNA version). It is superb and to read it early on will guide your son to exactly what he needs to get accomplished. There are other books out there ranging from fair to bad and none are worth the money. Good luck to him.
     
  4. scubatom

    scubatom scubatom

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    Thanks for the info. I will order the book.
     
  5. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    I know your son is too young, but he true end state is not a school (I.e. Air Force Academy), but which branch of military and specialty he wants to pursue.

    When I talked to kids interested in West Point, I usually ask why West Point. If the answer is that it's a great school, I get little concerned. Harvard is a great school also, but doesn't require you to serve in the military after you graduate.

    Perhaps he wants to become a pilot?

    Being a military pilot is different from a commercial pilot. I am not a pilot so I will defer to others that are more qualified to answer the question to the difference between military and commercial pilots.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I would have him keep doing what he is doing, but also open his eyes up to other paths.

    I know there are many kids that will say since I was 6 I always wanted to go to USXX. That is great, but they are the rarity. It is more common for them to say I wanted to be XYZ in the branch. I.E. I want to be a pilot or JAG in the AF.

    He has many yrs to go. When our DS was in 4th grade we took him too Duke for a football game. He fell in love with the college, and from that point all we ever heard about was he was going to go to Duke and would become an AF JAG. We kept him on track to get into Duke, all advance courses, sports, community service, etc. Imagine our shock when March of his jr. yr came around and we started his school list. Duke was number 5. The biggest shock was he said the AFA was on his list. It gave us whiplash and made us ask him, to repeat the list in case we misunderstood him.
    ~ Duke went down the list because it was in NC, and he had lived in NC long enough so he wanted out of the state.

    The point is if he stays on track for the AFA, great! However, open his eyes up to there are many ways to become an AF officer, and everyone here going through the process will tell you to have plan B in place.

    Additionally, academics is only one part of the equation. Medical clearance is another. The rule is they will go back as far as 5 yrs (13). Plays soccer in his jr. yr. and gets an injury that requires surgery (G forbid, but it happens), that can become an automatic medical disqualification. It is something you cannot predict, which is why he needs to stay on track, but have a plan B in place. There are some funky DQs out there, i.e. he gets bad acne and the doc prescribes Accutane. No problem, right? Wrong! It is a DQ for the military and because you didn't know about it until he went for his DoDMERB exam, you will now be chasing a waiver.

    Finally, if he is going this path to become a pilot, or especially to fly the 22 or 35, he needs to have a plan B in place. The fact is not everyone will be selected for UPT or make it through UPT. However, they will be in the AF until they are at least 27, living and doing whatever the AF has decided. The saying SERVICE BEFORE SELF becomes a fact in the active duty world.

    OBTW, our DS commissioned in 2012 as an AF officer, so that dream stayed, however he is not in the JAG Corps, he is at UPT. He did attend one of his top 5 college choices, but Duke was moved even further down and he never applied because he knew he didn't want to go to Duke at all, even if it was free.

    Good luck and enjoy life.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013
  7. scubatom

    scubatom scubatom

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    He will go to Air force Academy soccer camp when he turns 12. I know kids change their minds. I just want to make sure he has a chance if that is the direction he still wants to go when he is older. He should have a lot of options with all he is doing. He does not want to fly. He wants to be a leader, and one day go into politics. He is not the normal kid. He goes to school early every morning to help tutor kids that need help.

    Is it better to join ROTC or Air Patrol? We live in Plano, TX close to Dallas. Graduating class will be over 1300 kids. He will need over a 4.0 to be in the top 10%. I don’t think it will be a problem. He is a very good soccer player. He plays 4 times a week. With 1 hour a day for orchestra, 2 hours soccer practice, and, 2 hours homework he has a full schedule. I don’t know how much time ROTC takes.
     
  8. scubatom

    scubatom scubatom

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    Spud,
    Thank you for recommending the book (The AIR Force Academy Candidate Book) I was very good for me as a parent to read. It helped me as a parent to realize I need to step back and let my son take the lead and pursue his passion. I am also having my older son that is already in collage read parts of the book. I think after reading the book he will understand the need to study more and focus on his studies.

    Thanks
    Tom
     
  9. JMS

    JMS Member

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    You may find that JrRotc is a class during the regular school day, and is a level 3 class (like PhysEd). As such, it will not help his college prep scheduling of level 1 and 2 classes (it will displace something else). Nor will a level 3 class be given any weight by the admissions folks at any school.
    CAP and Sea Cadets are non-school, evening programs and, like JrRotc, give a taste of military customs and drill.
    If your son is already over-scheduled, then adding more until the breaking point will not be a good plan.
    JrRotc or Sea Cadets or CAP are great programs but one will only succeed if one is engaged, committed. They could detract from ones application if one is a 'half-baked' member. Either way, I doubt they ever were the deciding factor for an academy applicant.
    If you do choose to join one, I would go for the one that is closer, easiest to get to just to facilitate the logistics.
     
  10. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Some JROTC programs are after school extra-curriculars. They are in our area to allow time for kids in other high schools to attend.
     
  11. Buff-IP

    Buff-IP USAFA '88 Pilot

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    I agree, but I think a better wording is a career as a rated pilot in the military is different than a career in the commercial pilot field.

    Or military flight training is significantly different than civilian flight school.

    But I thing for the purposes of this forum, some commissioned military officers are trained as pilots for their military duty...military officer first, pilot second.

    And that holds for all career fields, you are officer first, duty title second.
     
  12. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    You have received some good advice...

    But be careful. The academy goal is a lofty one and if you and your family are not careful you can orchestrate your son's every move from here on out and basically put a great amount of pressure on him.

    These are young and formative years... make sure he has the fun and experiences that children need to have. Don't try to build a candidate... just help your son be a well rounded, conscientious young man. If he is truly motivated and wants to attend the academy he will gravitate to the types of things he needs. If he gets off track then help him get back on track. At age 11 or 12 I don't believe reaching an academy should be his main focus.

    It seems unusual for a sixth grader to be truly focused upon the academy. What was his motivation? A family member attended? Military in the family?
     

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