U.S AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Scores of young men and women reported to Basic Cadet Training at the Air Force Academy June 27.
In all, nearly 1,200 took their first steps toward joining the Academy’s Class of 2023. It’s a diverse class too, with 367 trainees identifying as minorities. One-hundred-nineteen are African-American, six are Native American, 105 are Asian and 17 are Pacific Islanders, according to the latest report from the Academy’s Admissions Office. Twenty new Academy appointees did not confirm their ethnic identity at the time of this report.
“All of you have chosen to be part of the Air Force’s academy,” said Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria to groups of parents and the appointees in Clune Arena. “You are committing to a climate of respect and dignity. Each person brings something to the fight and each person is critically important to mission success.”
The Class of 2023 also brings with it a near-20 percent uptick in the number of cadets with the potential to become pilots.
The latest crop of Academy appointees arrived between 7 a.m. and noon. Before officially “signing in” for BCT, they waited in a line that snaked outside and inside the arena. Most of the men and women admitted to the Academy were with parents and other family members, including Academy appointees Madisyn Hirsh, Carter Murphy and Miles Peter.
Madisyn Hirsh and her father, Lindsay, and mother, Tama, are from Frisco, Colorado. Madisyn is one of 323 women who represent 28.2 percent of the Class of 2023 who were slated to report to BCT. She’s not sure what academic degree plan she’ll pursue at the Academy, but she said she’s quite sure that she’s “always been interested in the Air Force.”
“I wanted to challenge myself,” she said.
Lindsay and Tama said they’ve “always” supported their daughter’s goal to attend the Academy.
“So many people said she wouldn’t be able to do it because she’s small,” Tama said. “We have so many mixed emotions, but we’re so proud that she made it all the way [through the Academy’s application process].”
Regardless of the degree-plan Madisyn must ultimately declare, Lindsay said he’s “just happy” for his daughter.
“We’re excited that she’s fulfilling her dream,” he said. “She’s been working on this for three years.”
Dave and Jennifer Murphy of Phoenix, Arizona, appeared to be more excited about their son’s arrival to the Academy than he did, but that shouldn’t fool you. Carter Murphy was just a bit more succinct about his emotions than his admittedly proud parents.
“I’m ready for this journey and I’m ready to go,” Carter said. “The Air Force Academy was the best opportunity for academics and after college.”
Carter, tall and laconic, is a basketball athlete – one of 286 Academy appointees selected for athletic recruitment this year. Dave Murphy said his son worked hard through extracurricular training and basketball camps to develop the skills he’ll need to help cement his eligibility for an athletic scholarship.
“We’re filled with pride and excitement for the opportunity for him to be here,” Dave said. “We’ve been talking about this for months.”
Carter said he’s considering engineering or cyber security as a career path, but knows he first must successfully complete BCT.
His final words before the line moved on were, “I love my parents and I’m thankful that they gave me the opportunity to be here. Let’s go.”
Miles Peter looks a bit younger than the average straight-out-of high-school Academy appointee and it’s true – he’s not quite 18.
“He skipped third grade,” said his father, Dave Peter.
Miles is one of Dave’s five sons. The Peters family is from East Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, and Dave is an Air Force captain assigned to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.
“We’re excited to be here,” Dave said. “It was a long road for [Miles] to get here.”
Miles said his family’s legacy of military service inspired him to apply to the Academy.
“I also wanted to attend because of the discipline and the stability, and I wanted to serve my country,” he said. “I’m ready for this.”
Miles will have some extra support at the Academy as his brother, Oberon Peter, is a cadet third class.
Dave admits to being fairly confident that his son will make his way through the challenges of BCT and have a successful cadet career.
“I’ll see him on the other side,” he said