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1986 Academy graduate assumes command of Prep School

Posted 6/18/2010   Updated 6/18/2010 Email story   Print story


by Ann Patton
Academy Spirit staff writer

6/18/2010 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Having cadet candidates realize they are part of something bigger than they are is but one goal the new Preparatory School commander has for incoming students.

Col. Bart Weiss accepted the guidon from retiring Prep School commander Col. Todd Zachary during a change-of-command ceremony at the Milazzo Club May 19 and will serve in the position for two years.

The new commander said the school is what its name implies -- preparing cadet candidates to succeed on the Hill academically, athletically and militarily.

Colonel Weiss called it an amalgamation, which includes character development as well, of training with a heavy emphasis on academics in science, mathematics and English. Prior enlisted Airmen have the opportunity to brush up on academics they may have been away from for a while.

"The bottom line is that if they can't function academically, that will create a whole new series of challenges as a cadet," he said.

Following the Prep School year, the cadet candidates are eligible for possible  appointments to the Academy and enter as Basic Cadets.

Colonel Weiss, a member of the Class of 1986, previously served as the commander of the 22nd Operations Group and vice commander of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. He holds two master's degrees, one from Marymount University and one from the U.S. Army War College with an emphasis in national security

He has commanded two operational flying squadrons in Europe and in the Pacific and one operations group, as well as commanding units in support of Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. He also served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and led a 20-ship aircraft formation during Operation Just Cause.

In addition, Colonel Weiss served as director of the Air Force Academy's Washington, D.C., office. He is rated as a command pilot with 4,900 flying hours. His honors include a Legion of Merit, a Defense Meritorious Service Medal and five Air Force Meritorious Service Medals.

Colonel Weiss said he would like incoming students to look at the additional academic year not as a long haul of five years to graduation but to see it is a great opportunity to
grow personally and academically.

"Let's take this year for this year," he said.

The 24-year Air Force veteran said he feels his Air Force experiences and training have prepared him for the tasks ahead at the Prep School. He started in Basic Cadet
Training, took courses in programming and budgeting, taught simulators and served as an aide-de-camp as well as piloting aircraft. The mentoring and training he has provided others and efforts to ensure people are in the right job and with the right team mix he feels will serve him in his new position.

"I think it translates well here," he said.

The new Prep School class is due to inprocess July 14. Colonel Weiss said it is a very diversified class, especially as they come from widely varying locales all over the country.

"The Prep School does a good job mirroring that," he said.

He gives high praise to all the Academy leadership for their support of the cadet candidates, faculty and staff and their dedication to mission.

"Everyone has a common purpose," he said. "That's huge."

Colonel Weiss said he looks forward to welcoming the new students.

"I am really excited to get to interact with them," he said and added the new cadet candidates may experience unknowns but wants them to know that "We will be here
to help you."

6/25/2010 6:59:12 PM ET
Do you suppose Col. Weiss' street cred with the preppies will be enhanced by the fact that he quarterbacked the most successful football team in USAFA history
Eric Nickerson, Colorado Springs
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