Motivated Sabers can apply for US Air Force Academy Class of 2019

Cadet Fourth Class Evan Seeley, a former senior 606th Air Control Squadron communications systems technician at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, from Colorado Springs, Colo., participates in at the end of his year at the U.S. Air Force Academy preparatory school during a land navigation exercise in the outskirts of the base in 2013.  He is currently a student at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., training to become an officer. (Courtesy Photo/Released)

Cadet Fourth Class Evan Seeley, a former senior 606th Air Control Squadron communications systems technician at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, from Colorado Springs, Colo., participates in at the end of his year at the U.S. Air Force Academy preparatory school during a land navigation exercise in the outskirts of the base in 2013. He is currently a student at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., training to become an officer. (Courtesy Photo/Released)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- The U.S. Air Force Academy is looking for highly motivated Airmen to apply for the class of 2019 as part of the Leaders Encouraging Airmen Development program.

The LEAD program, initiated by former chief of staff of the Air Force Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman in 1995, gives unit and wing commanders the opportunity to nominate top performing Airmen with high moral character, a strong academic background and top fitness scores to attend the academy and be commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduation.

Spangdahlem Air Base has had three airmen selected for the LEAD program in the last two years. Tyler Traube, formerly a member of the 52nd Operations Support Squadron airfield operations flight from Spring Branch, Texas, is currently attending the Air Force Academy Preparatory School.

The other two former Sabers are now freshmen, or Cadets Fourth Class, at USAFA. Cadets Evan Seeley and Robert Breen agree that time management has been the most challenging part of their first year at the academy.

"There are a lot of things going on at once every day, and learning to schedule out not only my days, but my week as well, has been a crucial part of finding success throughout my freshman year," said Seeley, a former 606th Air Control Squadron communications systems technician from Colorado Springs, Colo.

However, the camaraderie and opportunities overshadow the challenging cadet lifestyle. Breen, a former 52nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft crew chief from Chambersburg, Pa., said he is looking forward to learning to fly a sailplane as part of his soaring course this summer, and both Seeley and Breen will take part in the expeditionary, survival and evasion training to find out what it takes to operate in austere environments supporting the Air Force mission.

Cadets may also find themselves earning their Air Force parachute wings, visiting foreign academies for a cultural immersion program or flying a T-53 Kadet 2 (Cirrus SR20) as part of their introduction to powered flight.

When asked about their transition from Airman to cadet, Seeley and Breen stated that their military experience, teamwork and peer leadership skills they developed as Airmen served them well.

"I was able to help my classmates overcome the challenges of adjusting to military life. On that same note, when it came time for school, they were able to offer me assistance on the subjects I was rusty in," Seeley said.

The USAFA application process opened on March 1, 2014. Airmen who are selected will enter USAFA or the prep school in June 2015. To apply, Airmen must complete an online pre-candidate questionnaire (www.academyadmission.com), have a letter of endorsement and Air Force Form 1786 signed by their squadron commander and military personnel flight and submit their official high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. All information should be sent to the USAFA Office of Admissions by December 31, 2014.

Before Airmen apply, there are a few considerations and requirements for the application. According to Seeley, motivation is another requirement for success at the academy.

"My advice to any Airman applying to come here is to really consider whether they truly want to push themselves," Seeley said. "The academy will challenge you on a daily basis, and if you don't have strong reasons for being here and a strong internal drive, it's going to be hard to keep pushing over the long haul."

To be eligible for an appointment to the academy or prep school, you must:

- Be a U.S. Citizen, or be able to obtain citizenship before entry into the Academy

- Not have reached your 23rd birthday by July 1st of year of entry (USAFA)

- Not have reached your 22nd birthday by July 1st of year of entry (USAFA Prepatory School)

- Be unmarried

- Bear no legal obligation to support a child or other individual

- Not be pregnant

- Be of good moral character

For more information or to fill out an application, visit www.academyadmissions.com. For information specific to the application for current airmen, visit http://www.academyadmissions.com/admissions/advice-to-applicants/enlisted-airmen.

The primary admissions liaison officer for Spangdahlem is U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jennifer Mulder. She can be reached at jennifer.mulder@us.af.mil with any questions regarding the LEAD program.