‘Let the journey begin’: Basic Cadet Training starts at AF Academy

  • Published
  • By Ray Bowden
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- “Hurry up. Get on the bus,” a lanky senior cadet growled to six young men and women who stood stiffly in line with dazed expressions, waiting to board the shuttle that would effectively end their civilian lives, at least for now.

These six, and nearly 1,200 others who were barely out of high school, reported to the Air Force Academy throughout the day June 27 to take their first real stab at becoming cadets and eventually, Air Force officers.

“Basic Cadet Training is the start of a journey you’ll never forget,” said Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria.

The general knows what he’s talking about. He’s a 1985 Academy graduate who endured Basic Cadet Training himself – six weeks of long days and long nights filled with physical conditioning, weapons training, and sessions on ethics, dignity and respect, honor and sexual assault awareness. Basic cadets who graduate BCT will begin their academic education in the fall semester.

“You’re here because you’ve accepted a challenge and we’re confident in your abilities and your potential,” Silveria told the basic cadets. “It will be difficult, but we want you to succeed.”

Silveria, and the other most-senior officials at the Academy, spoke to cadets and their parents throughout the day. During these sessions, he and Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen Michele Edmundson, talked about the school’s attitude on dignity and respect.

“At the Academy, we respect all regardless of their ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation,” Edmundson said. “Academy appointees, you will be respected. Parents, we will take care of your sons and daughters.”

Silveria said diversity translates to “strength.”

 “Each individual brings something unique to the fight,” he said. “Each of you are critically important to mission success.”

By 11 a.m., more than 400 basic cadets had been assigned to a training squadron and were seen running in groups across the campus in their new uniforms, their hair just shorn, trying to follow the rather loud orders of their training instructors.

 “Let the journey begin,” Silveria said.