DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Coming from Puerto Rico, Jean-Paul Arnaud vied his way through school, picking up English as a second language and struggling to create his own path to success leading him to enlist in the U.S. Air Force.
His life has been a growing adventure from leaving Puerto Rico adapting to a new culture to becoming a broadcaster for the U.S. Air Force, with the biggest step resting ahead.
Airman 1st Class Jean-Paul Arnaud, 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs broadcaster, applied for the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., through the Leaders Encouraging Airman Development program. This unique program gives prior service Airmen the opportunity to enter the academy.
“There’s a list of things you have to accomplish, from the standard personal information, to medical appointments, physical tests and plenty of paperwork,” said Arnaud.
The extensive application process took approximately five months for him to complete.
“For the past few months, I’ve watched Academy application checklists on his desk fill up with ink to indicate completion” said Senior Airman Chris Drzazgowski, 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs photojournalist.
Throughout the process, second lieutenant bars appeared on his desk to serve as a constant reminder for him to maintain focus on becoming part of the USAF’s officer corps while he acquired signatures and recommendation letters.
“I was relieved once it was finished,” Arnaud said. “It was a team effort, between my direct supervisor, commanding officer and the base commander. So many things could have stopped my application, something as simple as not getting a signature.”
Arnaud’s brief military career focused around his profession as a broadcaster using video to convey the Air Force story visually. The job of a broadcaster is to inform the community on and off the base about the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base mission by highlighting airmen and their families.
Arnaud’s first published story was picked up by local news and his work since has been featured on news stations, as well as, the Department of Defense website.
“It was all about having to find that balance and prioritizing what was more important that day, ensuring my job performance didn’t go down,” Arnaud said.
Arnaud aims to study foreign affairs and hopes to obtain a piloting slot through the Academy.
“I’ve always pushed myself I think it is too easy to get comfortable in a routine and plateau,” Arnaud said. “It’s a constant obsession to push myself and grow as a person. I believe in my heart that you live once and if you spend it comfortable what are you really going to accomplish.”
Arnaud eagerly waited for the news of whether or not he got accepted. Only 170 prior service Airmen interview for entry yearly according to USAFA.
The announcement of Arnaud’s acceptance was made by Col. James Meger, 355th Fighter Wing commander, during a staff meeting March 22.
Meger congratulated Arnaud and told him there was a lot of challenges ahead of him.
“He has the right attitude, skill set and mind set, he’s going to be a very successful cadet,” said Capt. Casey Osborne, 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs chief of public affairs, “Following his time in the academy, he will be an incredible successful officer even when he has the weight of the world on his shoulders he’ll get through it.”