7/20/2012 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Despite a strict schedule and rigorous training for the next 18 days, Alyssa Torres along with two hundred and thirty-nine cadet candidates arrived packed and prepared for inprocessing at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School July 18.
Eighteen-year old Torres, from San Diego, said throughout the intense military activities and challenges she plans to focus on her long-term goal of being a pilot.
"I really want to serve my country and fly for the Air Force," Torres said. "I'm going to focus on school first, sports and getting acclimated to the altitude."
This year's soon-to-be Academy cadets shuffled through orderly lines for immunizations, fitness evaluations, haircuts, uniform issue and reported to their squadrons.
"Basic military training starts as soon as they get to their squadrons," said Capt. Susan Wallberg, a point of contact for the event. "From there training is pretty much non-stop."
This year the main location for inprocessing was at the High Country Inn dining facility instead of at the Academy's Milazzo Club to better utilize the dining facility.
"There are a lot of moving pieces to this and it has taken our entire school to help," Wallberg said. "We even have cadets helping this year and last year we didn't."
This year's class includes 53 female cadet candidates and 186 males. Thirty-one percent of candidates are first generation college students, 21 percent come from single parent households and 22 percent are prior-enlisted.
"We inprocessed 52 prior-enlisted Airmen into the Class of 2013," said Col. Kabrena Rodda, commander of the Prep School. "That is the highest number since 2006 which had 60."
Rodda said for the first time in the school's history, cadet candidates will have time and instruction to work through the nomination process for the Academy as part of their academic curriculum.
"In previous years, cadet candidates have worked this process on their own but this year we've decided to actively shepherd them through this process," Rodda said. "We want to minimize the spread of inaccurate information and to make sure no cadet candidates slip through the cracks."
Rodda said the number one goal of the Prep School is to prepare and motivate cadet candidates to become the best fourth-class cadets of character in the 2017 Academy class.
"We're doing that by cultivating excellent critical thinking, problem solving skills and the ability to communicate," Rodda said. "We're focusing on the skills they'll need throughout their Air Force careers by giving them a year to bone up on math, science, and English."
The school offers a ten-month program that consists of academic preparation, military training, athletic conditioning, intercollegiate athletics and character development to equip cadet candidates with the skills necessary for success at the Academy and as a commissioned officer in the Air Force.
Both active-duty enlisted members and civilians who applied to the Academy but weren't selected for direct entry are chosen for the school. The Prep School is competitive and although it does not guarantee candidates an appointment into Academy, it does improve their chances.
As for Torres she said she plans to follow in her cousins footsteps: he went on to become a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force and the Prep School was his stepping stone.
"I'm going to keep on trying until I get into the Academy," Torres said. "I plan to study legal studies with a minor in Spanish."