Vance teen pursuing military career while playing football at the Academy

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Christian Soto
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Erik Lewis Jr. always had a clear goal in mind -- to pursue a career in the military. Now, after completing his senior year of high school, he is finally getting the opportunity to do so.

However, instead of joining the military directly, he will be taking a slightly different path. Lewis has been recruited as a cornerback at the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he can both play football and serve his country.

“I am excited for this opportunity,” said Lewis. “Getting the chance to play the sport you love and getting an education at the same time was a no-brainer for me.”

Over the last four years, Lewis has been a standout cornerback for the Enid High Plainsmen. 

While playing college football was always an option, Lewis now gets to do it while continuing an Air Force family legacy.

Both of his parents, Melissa Lewis and Erik Lewis Sr., are retired Air Force senior NCOs, and could not be prouder or more excited about the young man they raised.

“I’m really excited for him and can’t wait to see what big things he does, like he did in high school,” said Melissa Lewis. 

Despite growing up in a military family, Lewis' decision to pursue the Air Force Academy was not necessarily influenced by his upbringing. 

“Ultimately, it was his decision to go to the academy,” said Erik senior. “You know, with all my kids, it’s always their decision at the end of the day. In the long run he will outrank me, but that is something I am okay with.”

Regardless of the other offers Lewis received from other schools, once he got the offer from the Air Force Academy, he committed on the same day. 

“I mean, just looking up and hearing the jets that fly over Enid, for me, it is pretty intriguing,” said Lewis. “I lived in Enid practically my whole life so I’m ready to get out there.

Lewis’ dreams of becoming a fighter pilot are now within reach as he prepares to embark on his Air Force journey at the prestigious Air Force Academy.