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218 cadet candidates graduate basic training to join Academy prep school’s Class of 2023

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

Scores of young men and women celebrated their new title of cadet candidate after completing basic training at the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School, July 27.

In all, 218 cadet candidates, most recent high school graduates, successfully completed 20 days of military drill and exercise designed to prepare them for military life and the prep school’s 10-month academic program beginning August 2.

“The next 10 months may seem daunting – and it is – but you should relish the challenge and opportunity,” said Col. Michael Cornelius, prep school commander, during the basic training graduation ceremony. “[The Air Force Academy] is highly selective and not just for the academic, physical and military challenges you’ll face. It’s highly selective because of the responsibilities placed upon each graduating Air Force and Space Force lieutenant.”

The prep school offers select enlisted personnel and civilians a pathway to becoming an Academy cadet. Cadet candidates are not guaranteed and appointment to the Academy after graduating from the prep school but can earn consideration and a recommendation from the prep school commander if they successfully complete the program. Basic training began July 8 with 219 trainees.

“If you could compare yourself now with the individuals who stepped out of that long line of cars three weeks ago, what would you notice?” Cornelius said. “It’s often difficult to see personal growth but let me assure you, you’ve changed. Take pride in what you’ve accomplished and build upon this experience as we transition into the academic year.”