Why attend the Air Force Academy?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by fruitytooties, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. fruitytooties

    fruitytooties Member

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    I believe that your answers can help many prospects and applicants (including myself) determine if the Air Force Academy is right for them. Service is foremost, but what else keeps young men and women flocking over to attend the Air Force Academy? What values have you learned? What experiences have you had? What have you gained out of it?

    I am interested to hear your responses,

    Fruity
     
  2. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Haha, this is one of those "what is the answer to life, the universe, and everything" type questions. You will get a lot of different answers.

    Here is my attempt at an answer:
    What attracted me:
    A. The challenge. I knew that USAFA would challenge me to be my best, and I wanted to do that.
    B. Focus. Everyone here has a similar goal, and a reinforcing community is very helpful sometimes.
    C. For my goal (serve as a pilot), this was the best route both statistically and in preparation.

    Values:
    This will vary for each person, due to background and experiences here (and elsewhere). The importance of honor is definitely highlighted, and that helped me refine my own integrity. The value of things like teamwork, persistence, forthrightness (is that a word?), and other aspects of leadership are big here.

    Experiences:
    This one is very difficult to convey in words. There are simple to describe things, like completing the confidence course obstacles, flying a glider, seeing the inside of an ICBM launch control center, catching a C-5 flight to Spain, or getting an F-15 ride. Those are only activities. It is very difficult to describe the experience of basic training, Recognition, working AETC at Lackland, or being a flight commander during the academic year. (In other words, I not going to write my life's story here.)

    What I've gained:
    Well, first, 4 years of some pretty unique experiences have to count for something! In the more philosophical arena, I've gained a much better understanding of the seriousness of the military profession. I have learned a lot about good and bad leadership, ethics, and team morale. I know a little bit more about the complexity of the world, and understand just how much I and "we" DON'T know. I've learned a lot about myself--how I can push myself, what my weaknesses are, what I can use as strengths, etc.


    ........So, do you have any specific questions?
     
  3. jarvin

    jarvin Member

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    Really, I used to answer myself that all the time. To understand more about where I'm coming from let me tell you a few facts about myself:

    My dream did not include joining the military. I used to actually be afraid of joining the military when I was little. In all honesty, the military was not the place I expected myself to be in the future. Nevertheless, I had a lot of respect for military personnel and soldiers, and they were always people I looked up to morally. Anyways, only did I become interested in joining when I started considering the price of college. Initially I was all about ROTC (didn't even consider service academy) and getting out of it as soon as my commitment was over to move on to a career I truly wished to pursue. Gradually though, I realized that it wasn't as simple as I thought it would be. I kept reassessing myself, weighing in several factors. This all came to play when I went to USAFA Summer Seminar (something I could put for my ROTC scholarship application). I realized how much I felt at home at the academy. Personally I love the discipline and restrictions. It was somewhere I felt home, a place I could meet others such as myself. At this time, I was talking to my cousin (O-3 in the USN) and I was really inspired by him. His dedication to his country and family, I think, brought about what I truly felt about the military. I realized that it wasn't the free education that motivated me to do ROTC anymore, but my desire to be part of something bigger than myself. Although I'm very much an individual achiever, I am very team orientated. My aspirations were (and still) to do something with a group of people that benefited our future. I felt that I could achieve these aspirations in the military. Lastly, my dedication to my family and friends have majorly motivated me to join. The love and pride for my country goes hand in hand with this motivation, and I would never want my family and friends to be hurt while I sit around and do nothing. In the time of war, I feel that I have an obligation to my country and my family. This is what motivates me to join the military. Ultimately, I feel that I can succeed and excel as an officer in the Air Force by joining the Air Force Academy. My desire and their emphasis on character and excellence is what binds me to such an institution.

    Anyways that's my 2 cents. And I swear this wasn't straight off of my essay to the academy :shake:
     
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    For the free food at Mitch's. :shake:

    Sorry, someone had to say it.
     
  5. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    I'd have said "...for the Mung on Smoker's night" but the cadets now wouldn't have clue one about what that means! :thumb:

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I bet they also have never attended a function where they are informed that the "smoking lamp" is now on, I am not sure they even have smoking lamps anymore :rolleyes:
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    They've become environmentally friendly. No more lamps. They now have "Glow Sticks".

    Steve: You want me to puke, don't you? :beer1: MERRY CHRISTMAS
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2009
  8. sprog

    sprog Member

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  9. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Yep, that was at FE.

    Interesting to see, but not a job I'd want.
     
  10. nsiderbam

    nsiderbam USNA c/o '14

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  11. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    The answer in the book "Absolutely American" (about West Point but applies here too) was: Dude! IT'S FREE.

    For my kids (and for us parents too) the reasons were fairly straight forward:

    1) Their entire lives, we have drummed into their heads their duty is always in this order: God, Country, Others. They took it to heart.

    2) They wanted to go to college together, and go FREE. Getting in together in this case was the tough part. They also wanted a school with a Division I fencing team.

    3) They wanted to learn to leaders and to combine that with the greatest academic and physical challenges they could find.

    4) They both wanted a technically difficult school with no grade inflation.
     
  12. sprog

    sprog Member

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    Nor was it a job that many of my fellow missileers wanted. Study hard at UPT!!...we had a couple of washouts pulling alert in the LCC.
     
  13. JustCallMeDan7

    JustCallMeDan7 USAFA Cadet

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    Why did I choose to come to the Academy? That is somewhat of a hard question to answer for myself. I wasn't too motivated to attend USAFA right away. After I initially applied, I decided it wasn't for me and stopped my application process, but never told my ALO. Well it just so happened that I ran into my ALO in late Sept and after a brief conversation, I was back on the application process. Finished app first week of Jan, got appointment on Jan 15th I believe. Although I had the appt, I was still uncertain if i would attend. I wanted to go for many reasons including: to become pilot, to be part of the ranks of USAFA grads, to have faced and beat the greatest challenge of my life yet. But I was also eager to stay close to home, friends, and family. In the end, my ultimate deciding factor was that I knew that if I did not give the academy a try, I would most likely regret it for the rest of my life, no matter how successful I came to be.

    Although it was a hard decision, I ended up here. Let me just set for the record that I had a misconception about USAFA, somewhat. I romanticized the academy in my head, thinking it was a place where I would be completely motivated and full of life. Boy was I wrong. I am not bashing the academy, just pointing out that many 4th degree Cadets are caught by surprised when they get here. It has been a struggle thus far. I have done pretty well within my squad and classes. I am towards the top of my class and not thought as one to piss off the upperclassmen! =]

    If there is one thing that I have learned while being at the academy, is that you have to learn to appreciate the little things. Since being here, I have learned to appreciate the freedoms I once had back at home. I was able to have a car and go where I wished, to go over a friends house and not have to worry about hw or tests, to have a fridge full of food, to dress and say anything I wished. Some people refer to the academy as a prison with a 4 year sentence. Whatever you do, do not get that attitude when you attend the academy. Many people easily fall into the trap of cynicism, hating all the "training" we do here. Although also in the upper classes, many 4th class start to become very unmotivated and cynical, which I am guilty of from time to time.

    Although I came here for my reason previously stated, my reason and motivation to stay is not the same. I am here because of what I want to be and what I will be. I am here to be an Air Force Officer who is trained at one of the nation's best colleges. I am not here to have a life full of easy classes, late night parties, and the ability to do whatever I wish. I am here to be molded into the best possible Officer I can be. The academy is a challenge not because of the hardships that you have to go through while here, but because of what you chose to give up to be here. I have known many friends that have left because the academy did not fulfill their perception and expectations. My only advice is make sure that when you arrive here, you are aware of what you are giving up and what you are signing up for. The last thing anyone wants is to have a slot taken up by someone who is not fully prepared and motivated for the academy.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2009

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