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November 1, 2013

From chevrons to brass: LEAD Program helps Airmen commission

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Enlisted Airmen interested in getting commissioned can reach their goal through the Leaders Encouraging Airman Development Program.

Approximately 170 highly competitive slots are available for direct entry to the Air Force Academy and the Preparatory School. Eighty-five of these slots are only open to active-duty Airmen.

In order to apply directly to the United States Air Force Academy, Airmen must be less than 23 years old, be unmarried, have no dependents, be a U.S. citizen, have qualifying academic scores and have completed basic military training.

The same criterion applies for entry into the preparatory school, but Airmen must be less than 22 years of age.

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Leila Abdul Razaq, USAFA admissions advisor, values the experience prior enlisted Airmen bring to the table at the Academy.

“Being a [prior enlisted] Airman makes you really diverse,” Abdul Razaq said. “Mainly because you can come into the Academy and teach other people about the military. You bring that diversity aspect with you.”

Military, academics, athletics and leadership are four pillars the Academy focuses on. Academics is the most important pillar. According to the LEAD Program handbook, 50 percent of an applicant’s eligibility is based on his or her academic accomplishments.

The Academy is a leadership atmosphere that gives all cadets the opportunity to lead and follow.

Abdul Razaq attended the preparatory school before going to the Academy.

“Even though it is a five yearlong program, the decision to go to the Academy was the best decision I have ever made,” she said.

Airmen interested in applying must fulfill certain requirements.

An Air Force Form 1786, The Application for Appointment to the USAFA for Enlisted Members, with an attached letter of endorsement from the unit commander will need to be submitted to the applicant’s USAFA admissions office. Letters of Evaluation and Letters of Recommendation also need to be compiled for the application process.

In addition, a pre-candidate questionnaire must be completed and a candidate fitness assessment must be passed. Those applying for the Academy or the preparatory course must also have extracurricular activities record, complete a writing sample, submit an original AF Form 2030, Drug and Alcohol Abuse Certificate, and a new AF Form 2030 as part of the candidate application kit, and complete a medical evaluation.

The deadline to apply for the Class of 2018 is Jan. 31, 2014. For more information on the LEAD program, call the USAFA admissions toll free number at 1-800-443-9266.




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