Desert student appointed to Academy

  • Published
  • By Diane Betzler
  • 95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
A Desert Junior/Senior High School student is preparing to leave for Colorado Springs, Colo., after winning her congressman's principal nomination to the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Courtney Bishop was named Rep. Kevin McCarthy's top pick and also received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., through a nomination by Vice President Joseph Biden.

After thinking long and hard and discussing her options with her parents, Terry and Susan Bishop, the 18-year-old decided to go with the Air Force.

"I felt it would be an honor to be a part of either college and knew the choice I was about to make was going to affect the rest of my life," Courtney said.

The young lady said she applied to the service academies because the challenges they offer will enrich her life and help prepare her to achieve her long-term career goals.

"I want to be commissioned as an officer in the military because it is an unsurpassable opportunity and privilege to serve our country and give back to all the men and women who have fought and in some cases given their lives for our freedom," she wrote in part when applying to each academy.

Congressman McCarthy called her to let her know she got the principal nomination.

"I was so excited I started jumping and screaming and I don't remember the rest of the conversation," Courtney said.

A California City, Calif., resident, Courtney has attended Desert Junior/Senior High School since her ninth-grade year. Both her parents work on base: her father works for NASA, and her mother works for Lockheed Martin. She said she chose to attend the school on base because of its reputation and Air Force junior ROTC program.

"I thought it offered better opportunities," she said. She has been involved with the JROTC program for four years and is the group's commander.

Retired Master Sgt. Dwayne Dempsey has been Courtney's Air Force JROTC instructor from the time she joined.

"In those four years she has been a model person, student, and above all, an outstanding cadet," he said.

Sergeant Dempsey was full of praise for the soon-to-be Air Force Academy cadet.

"She is an individual that all want to emulate and one that is respected by her peers, teachers and administrators," he said. "She will be an outstanding asset to the Air Force Academy and as a future Air Force officer," he said.

The teen's parents both say their daughter realized early on that ultimately she wants to become a test pilot. They agree that the best way to get there is through the service academies.

"She learned how selective the academies are and how difficult it is to get an appointment," her mother said.

"But she also knew if she didn't take a shot, there was no chance she could get in," her father added.

The Bishops said their daughter is extremely motivated and focused for a person her age.

"We realize how blessed Courtney is to receive this opportunity and her mom and I couldn't be more proud of her," Mr. Bishop said.

Congressman McCarthy's 12 nominees are the largest incoming class of incoming cadets and midshipmen from the 22nd Congressional District so far, he said.

"I am confident these bright young men and women will excel in their respective academies and am glad they will be among those our nation relies on to help ensure our national security. It's inspiring to see so many from our community qualified and willing to serve their country," Congressman McCarthy said.

Courtney will inprocess to the Air Force Academy's Class of 2015 on June 23. Classes at the Academy begin Aug. 4.