Basic training starts for more than 200 potential prep school cadet candidates

  • Published
  • By Ray Bowden
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Strategic Communications

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Parents and relatives were not supposed to get out of their vehicles while dropping off their sons and daughters at the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School for basic cadet-candidate training July 8, but it’s hard to blame them.

“Love you son,” said a woman after getting out of a car near the school’s parade field to hug a young man carting a hefty backpack. “See you at graduation,” said a man getting out of a pickup truck to hug a young woman.

In all, more than 200 young men and women, most recent high school graduates, began basic cadet-candidate training, 20 days of military drills and exercise to prepare them to assimilate into military life and complete the school’s 10-month program. Their first steps at the prep school included picking up military uniforms, an administrative and medical paperwork review, and assignment to a training squadron.

“I’m looking forward to this,” said Reginald Naugton, 18, from Prince George’s County, Maryland. Naughton hopes to be accepted into the Academy after graduating from the Prep School and study aerospace. “I thought this would be a good place to start my life.”

Marissa Hargrave, 18, is from El Paso, Texas. Her ultimate goal, she said, is to be accepted to the Academy and study sports medicine. Hargave paused for a long moment before describing her state of mind.

“My head is blank but my heart is racing,” she said. “I’m just ready to live my life.”

The prep school offers a select group of enlisted personnel and civilians a pathway to becoming an Academy cadet.