AF Academy bound: Vance Airman successful in second attempt at officership

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt Lori Wise
  • Public Affairs
A dream is coming true for one Vance Air Force Base Airman.
This June, Airman 1st Class Kedem Alon, 71st Operations Support Squadron will trade in his job as an air traffic controller here for a new challenge as a U.S. Air Force Academy cadet.
"Sometimes a delay is not a denial, but an opportunity," said Airman Alon, "The timing of this must have been right."
Having been denied selection to the Air Force Academy in high school, Airman Alon enlisted. Recently, he came across a base education center pamphlet about Academy opportunities for Airmen.
"I knew I wanted to be in the military because my father was a paratrooper captain in the Israeli army, and he was a positive influence," Airman Alon said. "I wanted to be a pilot from the start, so this is finally my chance."
Each year, 85 Airmen on active duty and 85 Airmen serving in the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard may receive appointments to the Air Force Academy. All candidates from both active duty and the reserve are considered on a competitive basis for admission. The USAFA considers an Airman's accomplishments on active duty and recommendations from supervisors. The member's examination results and previous achievements determine selection, according to USAFA admissions officials.
Airman Alon, a 20-year-old Los Angeles native, has been assigned at Vance since completing air traffic control school a year and a half ago. According to his supervisor, he's excelled so quickly in his training that he is now training other Airmen.
"His passion toward the Air Force and dedication to doing the best job he can put him 60 percent ahead of his training schedule," said Staff Sgt. J.C. Rahmaan, watch supervisor. "His training ability and maturity is an asset that should be developed to the highest level possible."
"In the control tower, I've been able to meet the instructor pilots who are supervisors of flying, and they have given me good insight and advice on what flying is all about," Airman Alon said. He hopes to major in math, science or engineering at the USAFA.
"Airman Alon made this opportunity happen because he was proactive, he persevered, and he placed service before self," said Lt. Col. Scott Reed, 71st Operations Support Squadron commander. "It was a credit to his outstanding performance record that he was accepted directly to the Academy with no preparatory school necessary."
Academy officials also review candidates' grade transcripts from high school, preparatory school or colleges attended after high school to determine academic potential. Candidates are also evaluated on leadership potential through their record of participation in athletic activities, class offices, public speaking, Civil Air Patrol and scouting.
To apply for selection to the USAFA a candidate must be at least 17 but not older than 23 on July 1 of the year they enter the Academy, be an unmarried citizen of the United States and have no dependents, and be of good moral character. For more information about the program, visit the base education office or call 7388.