I am the grandson of a career army officer and the son of a career air force officer and I wanted to fly this:
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My next-door neighbor (a young captain) told me when I asked how he became an F-100D pilot: "I went to a school called the Air Force Academy, then I went to Columbus, and then I went to Luke."
I wrote a letter to the academy and said "I want to be an F-100D pilot and fly here at RAF Lakenheath. I was told I have to start at Air Force Academy. How do I do that?" A month or so later I received a letter from a colonel telling me he thought my idea was just great BUT...I needed to wait a little bit as I had to finish high school first. He said the academy would welcome my application in 1977. He also sent me the catalog for the academy.
Now, why did I tell you that? Because if you're going to choose to compete for an appointment to one of the SA's, you have to want it, that badly! It's not a fun process, it's frustrating, and there are times you'll just say "the heck with this, ROTC is so much easier to apply for (it really isn't) and you may give up. Don't, IF you've truly got the desire.
FYI...the catalog I still have on my bookshelf is the 1966-1967 catalog, the letter is in my important documents file: I was 7 years old.
I wanted to fly and specifically the F-100D! And that meant I needed to be an air force officer
and pilot and that's what I set my sights on
. That was my focus until I eventually was offered the appointment many years later. Why the academy? Because that's where my neighbor (he let me "start-up his jet and taxi it out of his hanger onto the ramp", but that's another story) said I had to go to be like him. And then, after my father was assigned to the academy, I confirmed in my mind that the academy experience was something I just wanted.
Of course, by the time I became an AF pilot the only F-100D's left were flying as target drones. Fortunately, I was never tasked to shoot one down. I think it would have broken my heart.