The U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., will welcome five members of the Desert Lightning Team into the Leaders Encouraging Airmen Development program.
Senior Airman Thomas R. Nguyen and Airman 1st Class Torrence R. Rees, both from the 755th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, will enter directly into the academy through LEAD program. Airman 1st Class Andrew J. Kinzingerpetroski, 25th Operation Weather Squadron, Airman 1st Class Tyler B. Stuck, 355th Civil Engineer Squadron, and Airman 1st Class Benjamin J. Carter, 355th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, will enter the academy through the AFA Preparatory School.
The LEAD program is an ongoing effort to give the best and brightest Airmen the opportunity to excel by offering them appointments to the AFA. Initiated in 1995, LEAD delegates authority to unit and wing commanders to nominate highly qualified Airmen to attend the academy or preparatory school. Commanders have the opportunity to identify outstanding and deserving Airmen with officer potential for this commissioning program.
“Academics, athletics and character are the main things that are looked at during the selection process for LEAD,” said U.S. Air Force Retired Lt. Col. Kevin Cannon, USAFA and Reserve Officer Training Corps admissions liaison officer.
The AFA admissions office selects Airmen who have high test scores, a good track record and have been recognized as a leader of character all the way up to the squadron level of command.
SAT and ACT scores, along with high school curriculum and grade point average, are all factors that distinguish whether an Airman attends the preparatory school directly or attends the preparatory school first.
The preparatory school is a 10-month educational program for young Airmen to take core curriculum courses prior to attending the academy. Upon successful completion of the preparatory school, those being appointed to the academy will be sworn in as cadets. While at the academy, Airmen enlistments run concurrent while in cadet status.
“It’s a good chance for the Airmen to give back to the Air Force from an enlisted diversity standpoint,” Cannon said. “They can have a better understanding from both sides.”
When recommending Airmen for LEAD, Master Sgt. April Little, 355th Force Support Squadron career assistance advisor, looks for members who are mature, assertive, self-reliable and goal oriented.
Little provides commissioning information during First Term Airman Center briefings.
“Not only would these enlisted Airmen acquire an outstanding education, around 50 percent of each graduating class will be accepted into the pilot training program,” Little said.
For more information about requirements, restrictions and how to apply, contact Cannon at firstname.lastname@example.org, Little at email@example.com or visit http://www.academyadmissions.com/admissions/advice-to-applicants/enlisted-airmen/.