Question about cadet life

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by zyx999, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. zyx999

    zyx999 New Member

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    Hi, first time poster, here.

    I am applying this year and have kind of a sensitive question regarding political views (and religious for that matter). I believe that one's political/religious beliefs are an individual's own personal business and that it is important not to prioritize one ideology/belief over another in a military setting.

    So having said that, I am curious about the degree of tolerance of different views at the academy and Air Force in general.

    I am liberal and not religious, though I completely respect others' rights to disagree with my views.

    Will I be treated differently and/or ostracized for these different views? I am not ostentatious about them and don't get in debates or anything like that. And the primary reason I asked this is because I read a similar question on another forum and a response to the OP was "You better find an alternate profession or keep your mouth shut."

    I want to serve my country, I just want to know if I would have to live in that type of environment (one that doesn't respect other opinions/views) for my entire career...
     
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  2. jwest182

    jwest182 USAFA Cadet C/O 2019

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    From what I can tell in my extremely short experience here, I don't think you will have an issue. During BCT, all of the basics go through religious respect training, which talks about what cadets can/can not do with regards to religion. You don't have to go to chapel services (many don't), and there are alternate options for counseling and support during basic and the school year (such as the peak performance center). As with anywhere, there will likely be a small percentage of people that are simply outliers that don't respect others, but as a whole, the Cadet Wing is extremely supportive of each other (that much I can tell, and I am just a C4C going into the first full week of classes!)
     
  3. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    I can elaborate if you want, but in a nutshell: the military is probably the most accepting of and cares the least about different political and religious views among large organizations, at least in my limited experience.
     
  4. Midwest

    Midwest Member

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    Welcome zyx999.

    My brother-in-law who was a USNA 83 graduate was astonished that my DS attended several WICCAN services during Navy boot camp at Great Lakes a few years ago. I asked my DS who claims to be an atheist why he attended and he said they had the best cookies, otherwise he had no interest. Times have changed for sure. But food and love still work as "conversion" methods. ;)
     
  5. Usafamom2016

    Usafamom2016 Member

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    My firstie has had no issues with differing religious ideals. Tolerance of all opinions is the norm.
     
  6. zyx999

    zyx999 New Member

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    Thank you all for your responses! I hoped that would be the case and I am happy to hear that it is true!
     
  7. 2018DAD

    2018DAD Member

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    Mission first is what I have seen. Usually you are so dog tired that you will not have time to discuss much outside of your duties. However, personal resilience time can be used as you see fit. Had atheist at DDO, my advice to him was during these times to find somewhere to go to get out of squad area, if everyone is going to the Chapel.. Find somewhere to relax and chill out. Have not seen any ostracizing, which would not be tolerated by PP and AF anyway. Had to chuckle about the Wiccan attendance... Yep usually food and your buds will be where you end up. Chapel, meaning Protestant, is full of all sorts.. And mostly, from what I have observed, are asleep and wouldn't know or care if a full revival was going on!!!!!
     
  8. 84grad19dad

    84grad19dad Member

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    The only scenario I can see that would bring grief to you is if you publicly exhorted your beliefs in such a way the USAF might be considered represented by them. ie: talking to a reporter in uniform or emphasizing your affiliation to the military in an interview about your personal beliefs.
     
  9. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    A few people will judge you, but that is true no matter what you believe. You can't please all the people all the time.

    The vast majority will respect you and your beliefs, so long as you do the same.
    People who are sensitive/defensive about their beliefs tend to get prodded by some. A certain amount of trolling may happen, but if you can take a joke or two, things will be fine.
     
  10. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    I do not believe that at USAFA (or any other SA), you will have the collegiate experience of our CIC, where you'll sit on the floor in the halls, smoking, discussing the political issues of the day.

    If you want to embrace your religion, you'll have the opportunity to do so. If you don't want to, or don't have one, no one will make any issue of it at all.

    Your politics are your own as well, and from my experience meeting my boys' friends, political opinions run the gamut.

    Of my one son's close squadron friends, one was Catholic, one a Lutheran, one an atheist, one Jewish, one Buddhist. I have no idea what their political leanings were/are, but I will say that only half of them believed there were aliens in Hangar 18 at Wright/Pat.
     
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  11. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    It's probably safe to say that service academies are generally more conservative than many civilian colleges, but in my experience, there's a good mix of conservative and liberal students.
     
  12. Dad

    Dad Member

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    Hee hee. :spacecraft:
     
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  13. wildblueyonder

    wildblueyonder USAFA '19

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    In BCT, there was a cadet in my flight who was an atheist. At least half of the rest of us are Christian, and I never once heard anyone deride or otherwise mistreat him about his beliefs. There may be some cadets who are less tolerant of others, but I haven't observed any stigma during my short time here.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2015
  14. Blueblood1

    Blueblood1 Member

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    Tha Assault Course is the same for all and does not discriminate (except for lack of will or physical ability). 8" sheet creases and 10" shirt folds do not have different rulers for different faiths. Your squadron and Cadre will be looking at how you do these things, support your Flight, hold your chin up at lunch and recite the Airman's Creed (which too is the same for all). The common bond of all Cadets is that they are, by necessity, mature, well-rounded, intelligent, and extremely committed. There may be a few here or there that deviate, but those common threads will trump any of the differences in faith, color or ethnicity. My personal assessment, for what it is worth, is that this will be more "accepting" than the vast majority of "regular" universities out there. Please do not interpret "accepting" as "easy" or "happy-go lucky."
     
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  15. baileydb

    baileydb Member

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    We were briefed extremely thoroughly on religious tolerance. That means we have the right to practice our religion or not practice as we see fit. In my short time here, I have seen that USAFA is one of the best places in terms of respect for all religious/ political views. So far, religious conversation hasn't come up too often, but whenever it does, it is always discussed respectfully, even if the cadets hold vastly different faiths.
     
  16. Blueblood1

    Blueblood1 Member

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    To piggyback on that, my DD has three friends fro her squad that are all different faiths/denominations. The four of them rotated going to each other's different chapel services. Now, what I cannot tell you is whether that was out of respect and support of each other, or they were all looking for the service most tolerant of catching a quick nap during BCT.
     
  17. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    I'm in the political and religious minority here as well, so it really comes down to if you're cool with being in a more homogeneous environment than what you might be used to. For the most part people are great, but periodically you'll run into ignorance. If you can handle that you'll be just fine.
     
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  18. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    The SAs all tend to be more conservative in nature, but there are plenty with liberal and/or non-Christian religions also. Once you get to the operating forces you will see the full spectrum of all kinds of religious and political views. Bottom line, if you don't make it an issue, it won't be one. If someone tries to impose their views, then respectfully state your position and move on.
     
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  19. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    As a few have stated, for the most part you won't have a problem. BlahuKahuna nailed it here - periodically you will have issues. But I think anyone, with any personality, will find someone that grinds their gears.

    As a fellow (agnostic) liberal, I generally didn't have any issues. Once I was AD, it didn't affect me much because I tried to keep politics and religion out of work. That said, I did have a serious issue while at Laughlin with a squadron ADO who was adamant that he impose his politics on everyone, especially students. The Lts working for me had the displeasure of being accused of being communist and otherwise disparaged because they preferred watching CNN instead of FoxNews on the TV in their space. He went so far as to order them to watch FoxNews. Despite taking him behind doors a few times and even having to address the issue to the CC, he was never told to stop. Granted, Laughlin has a history now of toxic leaders, so I'm not so surprised at the behavior. He was the only one who behaved like that at least.
     

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