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JBSA News
NEWS | March 19, 2010

LEAD program offers path to Academy

By Mike Joseph 502nd Air Base Wing OL-A Public Affairs

Enlisted Airmen interested in competing for admission to the Air Force Academy or the Academy Preparatory School through Leaders Encouraging Airmen Development have opportunities next week to learn more about the program.

Two preparatory school cadets, both former enlisted Airmen, will be on base to brief eligible enlisted Airmen who seek admission to the academy or prep school. The briefings are sponsored by the Lackland Professional Development Center.

"LEAD is geared toward enlisted Airmen who want to become officers" said Master Sgt. Timothy Godfrey, Lackland career assistance advisor, 802nd Force Support Squadron. "Officer Training School is a tossup with only a four percent acceptance rate this year. Combined acceptance rates through LEAD for either the prep school or academy are 30 percent."

LEAD began in 1995 as an ongoing effort for unit and wing commanders to nominate outstanding and deserving enlisted Airmen identified by their commanders with officer potential to compete for admission to the academy. Each year up to 85 active-duty Airmen and 85 Reserve and Air National Guard are accepted for direct appointment to the academy.

Airmen also have the option to apply for one of 50 reserved slots at the preparatory school. The prep school's 10-month program prepares cadet candidates for the academy's demands; its mission is to integrate academic preparation, military training and athletic conditioning to enhance the skills necessary for the cadet candidates to succeed at the academy. More than 90 percent of prep school graduates receive an academy appointment.

Graduates of the Air Force Academy earn a Bachelor of Science degree, commission as a second lieutenant and the opportunity to participate in a variety of programs. An academy education is valued at more than $400,000.

Three former Lackland enlisted Airmen graduate in May from the prep school. A decision is expected in the next several weeks on 16 enlisted Lackland Airmen who submitted applications to the prep school for 2010-2011.

"I advise young Airmen interested to apply for the prep school," said Sergeant Godfrey. "Not only is the acceptance rate higher but they also need to focus on academics and adjust to a structured military life before entering the academy.

"This is a chance to visit with current cadets, get more information and start the application process for 2011-2012," he said. "It's an opportunity to ask questions, alleviate any rumors they may have heard and talk to Airmen that have been in their position."

Briefings are scheduled March 22, 1-2:30 p.m., Wilford Hall Medical Center auditorium; March 23, 3 p.m., 342nd Training Squadron technical school students, dorm dayroom; and March 24, 4 p.m., Forbes Hall, Lackland Training Annex.

A base-wide briefing is March 26, 2:30 p.m., in Room 136, Military Personnel Flight, Bldg. 5616.

It is also open to civilians and dependents seeking information about a congressional appointment to the academy.

Airmen, civilians or dependents unable to attend can also contact Sergeant Godfrey at 671-1575 for more information about the academy or prep school.