233 graduate Prep School basic training

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. --

Scores of young adults earned the title “cadet candidate” by completing basic training at the Air Force Academy Prep School Aug. 5.

In all, 233 Basic Military Training graduates attended a ceremony in front of Prep School staff, and their peers and relatives.

Master Sgt. Matt Acevedo, military trainer, said the most noticeable change in cadet candidates’ behavior during the 18-day course, is their appreciation for teamwork.

“They recognize they’re no longer individuals,” he said. “They know they still have a challenging 10 months ahead of them, with academics, military training and physical fitness, to prepare them for the Academy.”

Graduating from the Prep School doesn’t guarantee a cadet-candidate’s acceptance to the Academy. The school’s curriculum is designed to prepare select-young men and women to enter and succeed at the Academy.

“The biggest shock for some cadet-candidates is their introduction to military structure,” Acevedo said. “Most of their everyday liberties as a civilian are taken away from them on day one.  They gradually return to each of them, but for BMT, they are on a strict schedule. It takes some a while to acclimate, but it's our job to get them there as soon as possible.”

Col. Jacqueline Breeden, Prep School commander, said teamwork is an important aspect of what her staff imparts to cadet candidates.

“We focus on helping young men and women realize that they can lean on each other and lift each other up to succeed,” she said.

For all the challenges, Acevedo said he and the other military and civilian staff members at the school are proud of their students.

“When I see my flight graduate, I feel pride and enthusiasm in knowing that one day the torch will get passed-on to them and they will then carry it and continue our great legacy as American Airmen.”

‘Diverse’ Breakdown

-- 233 cadet candidates graduated Basic Military Training

-- 59 are women, 174 are men

-- 77 are African-American

-- 79 are Caucasian

-- 42 are Hispanic

-- 4 are Native American

-- 13 are Asian

-- 9 are Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

-- 9 are of other heritages than listed

-- Twenty-one cadet candidates are from families whose annual income is less than $25,000; 38 cadet candidates are from families whose annual income is more than $175,000