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Direct entry: Nominating “leading edge” Airmen

Airman 1st Class Louis Lee, 21st Dental Squadron dental laboratory technician, equilibrates the cast of a patient’s mouth at the dental laboratory March 25, 2017, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Occlusal equilibration is a gentle procedure that allows lower teeth to contact upper teeth evenly throughout the mouth. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robb Lingley)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Airman 1st Class Louis Lee, 21st Dental Squadron dental laboratory technician, equilibrates the cast of a patient’s mouth at the dental laboratory March 25, 2017, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Occlusal equilibration is a gentle procedure that allows lower teeth to contact upper teeth evenly throughout the mouth. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robb Lingley)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Airman 1st Class Louis Lee, 21st Dental Squadron dental laboratory technician at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, received a direct entry appointment in March 2017, to the United States Air Force Academy.

The Academy is the Air Force’s own four-year military academy that educates and trains young men and women in academics, leadership, character and athletics. There are 85 appointments available for the Academy and Academy Prepatory School for active duty Airmen and 85 slots allocated for Airmen serving in the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard.

“I filled out the academy online application, took the candidate fitness assessment, got medically cleared, and had my commander approve me for my acceptance,” said Lee.

Direct entry appointments are highly competitive. An Airman must be a U.S. citizen or able to obtain citizenship before entry into the Academy, be unmarried with no dependents, have high moral character, be academically qualified and have not passed their twenty-third birthday by 1 July of the entering year.

“When applying for an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy, enlisted members have a path to becoming a cadet by using direct entry,” said Scott Hardin, Peterson AFB Education Services specialist.

The other path is Preparatory School where 240 cadet-candidates attend each year. Approximately 40 to 60 enlisted members are offered Prep School appointments annually, according to USAFA Quick Facts.

“He will be going direct entry, not via Prep School.” Hardin said. “During my 10 years serving as Admissions Liaison Officer volunteer, this is the first time I've had an Airman get a direct appointment.”

“I’ve worked with active and reserve enlisted members stationed at Peterson AFB, Schriever Air Force Base, USAFA, Army and Marines trying to cross into the blue as an Air Force officer,” added Hardin.

The Academy offers dynamic opportunities for the sharpest enlisted Airmen to enter commissioned ranks, said Hardin. Airmen possessing military knowledge and proven reliability are the classic cadets and commissioned officers that the Academy looks for.

Cadets attend classes as full-time college students earning a monthly salary and they gain valuable leadership experience preparing them to be an Air Force officer. Additionally they are required to stay healthy and active, receive room, board, meals, and medical and dental care.
Cadets will receive a Bachelor of Science degree and will commission as second lieutenants in the Air Force upon graduation.

If you have questions about the Air Force Academy or Preparatory School, please visit the Air Force Academy Admissions website (http://www.academyadmissions.com/admissions/advice-to-applicants/enlisted-airmen/) or contact Scott Hardin at the Peterson AFB Education Center 719-556-4996.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui