Air Force Academy offers different route for JROTC students



New academy recruit
Senior Kyle Ramage fills out a form recording his community service hours. He was recently accepted into the Air Force Academy thanks in part to a nomination from Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo by Sidney Marks.

College applications for regular universities such as University of Nebraska at Omaha or Lincoln are not as difficult as the application process for a military academy. Senior Kyle Ramage is a part of the select few chosen from around the country to go to the Air Force Academy.

Ramage comes from a military family. His grandfather, aunts, uncles and cousins are in some way associated with the military. Ramage hopes to follow in both his parents’ footsteps, as they both serve in the United States Air Force.

“I’ve wanted to go to the Air Force Academy since I wanted to go into the Air Force,” Ramage said. “Since I was around 10 years old.”

The process of applying can be strenuous. The applicant must first check his/her eligibility. Ramage said he’s been preparing all throughout his high school career.

“[I] took as many AP classes as possible [and] challenged myself in school,” Ramage said. “That’s what they really look for.”

Ramage has been involved with the JROTC program since his freshman year, as well as National Honor Society and Varsity Basketball.

“The Air Force Academy gets me my pilot’s license,” Ramage said. “That’s why I chose the Air Force Academy.”

The Air Force Academy gives students a college degree, able to choose from more than 30 study majors as well as a career with the Air Force. The academy also gives its students free tuition, as well as a monthly stipend.

“I always challenge myself to be the best that I can be,” Ramage said. “I knew I wanted to go on to be an officer, and I want to be a pilot on top of that.”

Ramage was nominated by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry.

“[Getting a degree] was without a doubt going to happen so I decided I would go to either Naval Academy or Naval ROTC,” senior Aaron Jorgensen said.

Jorgensen was nominated as well for the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Freshmen were being inducted while Jorgensen was visiting the campus in middle school.

“I just liked the atmosphere and the way they conducted themselves around each other,” Jorgensen said.

Jorgensen was nominated by Congressman Lee Terry. Jorgensen said he was inspired by a former Delta Force member and some other Navy SEALs who were influential factors on his life.

Students applying to the academies must meet with their Admissions Liaison Officer (ALO). The ALO will become a crucial part in the application process. He/she will help the applicant with any questions they have and will later personally interview the applicant to get a feel for the student and their character.

Ramage will arrive at the academy June 26 for cadet training.

“It’s gonna be tough for [Kyle],” JROTC instructor Col. Scott Vanderhoof said.

Vanderhoof is a new teacher for the JROTC program at Bellevue West. Ramage told his aerospace science instructors before anyone else. Vanderhoof said he was ecstatic when hearing the news of his acceptance.

“[Kyle is] able to dissect a situation and find out what’s really important and what is more fluff and can find the reason behind the yelling and structure,” Vanderhoof said.

Sidney Marks
Entertainment Editor