What difference does age play into USAFA?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by sarahann, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. sarahann

    sarahann Member

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    If your accepted and everything, what is different if you are 17 when BCT begins, do you parents have to come to Colorado to sign papers on I-Day and do they treat the younger Basic Cadets different? Also just a side note, how are birthdays celebrated when at the academy, or are they not? I'm born in July, just I'm just curious! Thanks!
     
  2. kdc246

    kdc246 Member

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    I believe if you are 17 at the start of BCT, your parents need to sign paperwork ahead of time. They do not need to travel to Colorado to take care of this. As for being treated any differently, don't expect it, you will be treated the same as any other Basic Cadet. Birthdays during BCT, well it would probably be better if you didn't let your cadre know. Could mean an extra training session for your squad. Your parents would be better off waiting until after BCT to send you anything and there are several places on base, and in Colorado Springs who will bake and bring cakes to the Academy for cadet birthdays. Your parents will get some of the information(especially the ones on base). Another that I can recommend is Creative Cakes of Colorado http://www.creativecakescolorado.com/
    Carol, who is the owner, is fantastic.
     
  3. Insider

    Insider Member

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    No, your parents don't have to come. They will have to sign your Form 0-28 (Academy Acceptance) and mail the original signature in, however. Signing this form gives USAFA their permission for the new (underage) cadet to sign the Oath of Office on I-day.
     
  4. dang.dgaynes

    dang.dgaynes New Member

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    When I go to I Day I will be 16. You must be 17 by July 1 and I turn 17 June 30.
     
  5. falcongirl

    falcongirl USAFA grad

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    Don't worry about being young; it won't make a difference. I was 17 when I started basic and didn't turn 18 until late October of freshman year. I'm not even the youngest...a few classmates turned 17 a few weeks before I-day.

    That being said, age can make a difference as an upperclassman. Maturity level is rarely an issue, but know that you will be put in leadership positions where your subordinates are significantly older than you. For example, I was 19 when I was a BCT element leader last summer. The basic cadets in my flight ranged between 17-21 years old. However, this is also indicative of active duty: after comissionioning you will have NCO's who are many years older than you.

    Age can also be a bit of a social detriment. 21+ juniors and seniors in good standing can go to HAPS (the cadet area bar), and tend to socialize at bars off-base on weekends. If you aren't 21, you lose out on a lot of social activities with friends, even if you don't plan to drink.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  6. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I'm glad this topic has been brought up. Not so much for the cadet. They won't be treated any different than anyone else. Many cadets are 17 or just turning 18 in BCT and the beginning of the academic year.

    But what is important, is for parents to know that this is NOT LIKE COLLEGE. When a parent take their son/daughter off to college, they still have a sense of responsibility for their son/daughter. Even though the child is or will turn 18 shortly after, most parents feel that THEY are still "IN CHARGE" of their son/daughter for the next 4-5 years. Legally, once the child turns 18, they are free to do whatever they want. The only power the parent maintains is that they can basically say: "We're paying/supporting you in college, therefore you have to abide by some/most of our rules/wishes/decisions".

    The military/academy is a bit different. When the parent signs the paper because their son/daughter are 17, they are providing legal emancipation. The individual becomes a legal adult in the eyes of the law. Also, the parent has basically no rights left. Forget that the academy may appear to be a college. Your son/daughter has JOINED THE MILITARY. They are no longer your responsibility. They can not be claimed on your taxes any longer. They are not on your medical insurance. Any concerns you may have while they are there, is up to your son/daughter to address. In other words, you're not going to be able to call the academy and address concerns. The academy of course would be polite to you if you called; but they will deal with the cadet. Not the parent. A very often asked question concerns their son/daughter's health and well being. The only way you will be able to address concerns is IF your son/daughter give you PERMISSION.

    I'm not bringing this up to be mean. But there are a lot of parents who are/were very involved with their son/daughter's college life. Once your child signs into the academy (THE MILITARY), you, the parent, will never again be consulted with, asked permission, required to sign anything, informed of anything, etc... Your son/daughter are now adults. Everything goes through them. Anything you want to know or are concerned with, must go through them. If they aren't concerned with it, then there's no concern. It is really hard for many academy parents to distinguish the difference between "Attending the Academy" (And joining the military); with "Going off to College".
     
  7. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    Once again CC has nailed it. I wish the parents who continually spin up and down on this forum with outside support groups, obsessing with each detail, wanting to know how to handle everything from clothes to weekend happiness would read and let this soak in. Your young man or woman is GONE----and within 5 years will be leading soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines in combat operations. Deal with it. You raised them right now let them go. They will do just fine.
     
  8. Sulley's Mom

    Sulley's Mom Member

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    DEAD ON!

    I have primarily been a lurker on this board (I believe this is just my third post) but I agree completely with Spud and CC. The helicoptering is overwhelming.

    "Back in the day" (pre-internet, pre-cell phone), I communicated with my parents via letter or by plunking a fistful of coins in a pay phone on Sunday night. They had no idea what classes I was taking, who my profs were, that I got written up for a scruffy belt buckle, or any of the other details of my midshipman life. The apron strings were cut on I-day. It worked pretty well. We grew up almost instantly. To this day, my parents have no interest in the minutiae of my adult life, and that's a good thing. :eek:
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    100% agree with CC, Spud and Sulley's.
     
  10. USMA2020

    USMA2020 Member

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    I guess that would be for all of the academies. This is something that I have been wondering too, because my birthday is in September, so I will be graduating several months before I turn 18. I know it is a long ways doown the road for me, but I keep thinking of these things.
     
  11. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    CC is dead on here! (what's new?)

    The most difficult time for parents is AFTER their son/daughter turns around one last time in Doolittle Hall...then climb upstairs.

    That's usually the FIRST time that parents realize: "...he/she's not my little kid anymore..."

    And from that point on...life changes for everyone. Because...going through that young man/woman's mind, as they climb those stairs, is: OH MY...what have I done?

    And you know what??

    ALL of you will be just fine!

    And unlike back when I was a cadet (and as was mentioned, had a roll of quarters in my desk) there's FB, IM's, etc...etc...to stay connected.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  12. tsband

    tsband Member

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    Thanks for that clearly stated info and the reality that he is his own person is really starting to sink in. My son recently accepted his appointment. When he accepted on-line, immediately the question regarding his travel arrangements popped up. We let him make the decision so he will be flying out with the arranged transportation. Obviously, we have some questions about how it will all work out since he flies out June 26 and In-processing day is the 27th. Yes, we have been very involved with his schooling career, this year we have been working hard to let him make his own decisions, have his own success and failures and, of course, he is doing very well. I never thought this would be the path he would choose, we don't consider ourselves a "military family" but for him it has been more of a calling since he was very young. I always told him and his younger sister "Apply to wherever you want to go to college, don't be afraid to go cross country. This is your life to lead." Well, when the AFA became his first choice, I had to remind myself of what I always said. Surprisingly, I haven't yet shed a tear, (I actually think my son is somewhat disappointment in that.) I'm sure after he leaves the airport on the 26th it will hit me. What comforts me is that he is pursuing his dream--even if I can't imagine the challenges that will be in store for him. We are making our plans to Parent's Weekend, however. :smile:

    But I guess I do have one question to ask (right now): Are we missing out on a lot by not being there for the in-processing day?
     
  13. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    If you're 23 when you report, you may get the name "grandpa" BUT people will assume you're wise... it's up to you to prove them otherwise.
     
  14. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    If your DS decided to fly out his own, then I would respect his decision and forego I-Day. This is his adventure. Lots of parents do not go to I-Day. There will be a Bed & Breakfast program for your son and they will do a great job of transporting him, feeding him, and getting him to I-Day. (He does need to sign-up when it becomes available).

    If you are concerned about "missing out" there is A-Day (Acceptance Day) in August and Parent's Weekend in September. DW went for A-Day and really enjoyed the time as did DS. A-Day is quick with only about 4 hours with your cadet. We took the whole gang for PW which is a long weekend and all had fun (Mom, Dad, Aunt, Sister, Grandmother).

    One additional resource for you is WebGuy who does an outstanding job of posting pictures of the Basics throughout all of BCT. Click on WebGuy to go to his site if you haven't been there yet. A disclaimer is necessary at this point: WebGuy can be extremely addictive and can result in you spending many hours trying to catch glimpses of your DS who can look remarkable like other Basics from a distance especially when covered in mud (even female Basics). Although, my wife could always find him even if the smallest part of him was showing or even when he was in chemical warfare gear.
     
  15. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    If the "Parent" asks about taking their child to "I-Day" at the academy, I always tell them to check with what their kid wants.

    If the "Kid - Applicant" asks about having their parents take them to the academy of if they should fly on their own; I always tell them that they should try and get their family to take them. IF, they can afford it and want to. My reasoning is quite simple. No matter how hard you worked in high school; on the athletic fields; volunteering; and all the other things that you feel made you "Successful" in receiving an appointment; YOU DID NOT DO ALL THIS ON YOUR OWN!!! Your mom, dad, brother, sister, etc... were all part of this. We are products of our environment. You are who you are BECAUSE of your family. Not IN SPITE OF. You family needs the transition of you going to basic training just as much as you need it. The difference is; this is the FIRST DAY of your NEW LIFE!!! For your family, they are going to go back to their OLD LIFE, but it will be WITHOUT YOU. It will definitely be harder on your family than on you.

    But that's what I tell the kid/applicant/student.... For parents, you have to let the kid do it the way they want.

    FWIW: When I went off to basic training, I only allowed my mom/dad to take me to the train station about 20 miles from my house. That took me to the airport, and from there, I went off to my new life in the air force. And to this day; (I'm now 52 years old); when I think about it, I ALWAYS REGRET IT!!! It was actually a barrier between me and my mom for the first couple years. Fortunately things are good now. So, for you applicants; make sure your family is PART OF THE TRANSITION!!! You didn't get here on your own, no matter what you think; and they need this more than you do. For parents, don't try to explain this to your kid. They won't listen. Not to parents. LOL!!! You have to let them do it their way. it's ok to mention how you'd LIKE to take them. "If you can afford it". But don't force the issue.

    Not to be a hypocrite, but we only live 2 hours from the academy. I didn't even let my son mention him flying down to Colorado springs. Then again; we'd gone to the academy so many times the previous 2 years, that I already told him if he got accepted, that we were driving him down. No exception. But again; we had the advantage of only living 2 hours away.
     
  16. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    We didn't go to I-day, and neither my son or I have regretted it. It was his choice and I respect that. There will be many moments ahead that you have an opportunity share and you will not be able to be at all of them. Enjoy the ones that you can and don't fret the rest.

    Stealth_81
     
  17. Rage_14

    Rage_14 Member

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    As far as birthdays go, I am a July birthday as well. During BCT, keep it to yourself, or you will get extra attention. Every other year, your often doing summer training. For me they have never been a huge deal, so it was an easy adjustment. The last two years I have been doing survival training on my birthday, but your friends are there to celebrate with you. Your friends at the Academy become some of the most important people in your life.
     
  18. tsband

    tsband Member

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    Thanks for your responses. We are planning to let him fly on his own as he wishes. He has already been out there twice on his own last year. Of course, this isn't QUITE the same since now it is "for real". It was more just my curiosity as to what all happens that first day. I recall seeing my father sworn in as a US Citizen in 2001 and it was beautiful to see. I read in the manual that "On the Second day after you arrive at the Academy you'll take the Oath of Allegiance." (The Academy Experience book, mailed in the BFE, page 10). Perhaps it's obvious to some, but does that mean the day after In-Processing? Technically, my son is flying out on the 26th by the arranged flight so I-day is his second day but not his second official day. I know, maybe silly, but that would be the one thing I would like to see (but it may be a moot point anyway). Slowly letting go...:smile:
     
  19. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Forget travel days. "I-Day" is the 1st day. Just about ALWAYS the Last Thursday (Full Week of June). This year; June 27th. The 2nd day, Friday the 28th, is when the swearing in Ceremony happens.

    Now; besides the ceremonial importance; pomp and circumstance; etc... of the swearing in ceremony; there is another very important meaning of the swearing in ceremony. This is the first legal day of being in the air force and academy cadet "If you graduate Basic Cadet Training". What is so important about this???

    EXPLANATION:
    Scenario 1: Any time UP TIL Taking the oath; e.g. airplane flight to colorado; walking up the steps during in-processing; getting on the bus after leaving your parents and heading to the cadet area; getting off the bus; climbing the steps going to your room that first night; etc.... "Anything PRIOR to taking the OATH" whereby you get injured or sick and not able to attend basic cadet training and must go home....... You must start the ENTIRE APPLICATION PROCESS OVER AGAIN to re-apply for the next year.

    Scenario 2: ANYTHING listed above that happens AFTER taking the oath, the academy will either WAIVER you and allow you to continue on with basic cadet training; OR, if the injury/illness is severe enough that you can't finish basic cadet training and you are set home; you are automatically reserved a slot for the following year. You don't have to re-apply. The slot is automatically yours. Of course, whatever injury/illness you had that prevented you from finishing basic cadet training must be cleared by DODMRB and you have to be qualified physically and medically.

    So while there are a lot of emotions around taking the oath, because of patriotism, duty, honor, etc... It's also a very important day for you actually being part of the air force and the academy. Prior to taking the oath, you can leave for numerous reasons, and it's as though you NEVER APPLIED!!! You have to start all over again from scratch if you want to re-apply the next year. Now you know why many parents and posters mention putting your kid, who received an appointment, in BUBBLE WRAP until they get to the academy and swear in on the 2nd day.
     
  20. soccerchic

    soccerchic Member

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    What do the injuried do during the year before returning for next BCT... college?
     

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