Lead program is Airman's path to US Air Force Academy

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, GERMANY -- -- Each year, Airmen on active duty receive appointments to the Air Force Academy. There are 135 slots available through the Leaders Encouraging Airmen Development Program. The LEAD Program is an ongoing Air Force effort to provide its brightest Airmen the opportunity to excel by offering them appointments to the Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Each year, commanders nominate highly qualified Airmen to attend the Air Force Academy Prep School with the intention of an academy appointment to follow. Airmen compete for 50 Prep School slots and a potential 85 direct appointments to the Academy. Airmen must be U.S. citizens or be able to obtain citizenship before entry into the academy the following year. Candidates must be unmarried and have no dependents. In addition, Airmen must not have passed their 22nd birthday by July 1 of the entry year into the Prep School or 23rd birthday if receiving a direct appointment to the Academy. Airmen must also be of high moral character and have at least one year retainability when they enter the Prep School.

To compete for either the Prep School or a direct appointment to the Academy, Airmen must complete AF Form 1786 and have their unit commander complete a statement on their character, ability and motivation to become an officer. The form and statement must be coordinated through their MPF assignment section and reach the Air Force Academy's Admissions Office no later than Jan. 31 of the entry year. Airmen will receive a notification from the admissions office which identifies all the additional requirements needed to complete the application package.

Airmen should start early by contacting their local Education Office for more information.