Airman takes LEAD in step to U.S. Air Force Academy

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Timothy Moore
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
There are several ways an enlisted Airman can make the transition to be an Air Force officer. They can go through Air Force ROTC via various means, be selected for Officer Training School or go to the U.S. Air Force Academy through the Leaders Encouraging Airman Development program.

LEAD is a program that allows commanders to seek out outstanding and deserving qualified Airmen for appointments to the Academy and Air Force ROTC scholarship programs, and one Airman from the 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron was nominated for the program.

As part of the program, Airman 1st Class Brianna Walberg, 86th VRS vehicle operator, spent four days at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado learning about the different aspects of being an official Air Force student.

"We learned about the different sports, extra curricula and facilities they offer," Walberg said. "You must take at least five classes each semester, and every cadet must play a sport."

Walberg and a select few other Airmen and high school seniors toured the Academy accompanied by current cadets.

"My favorite part was how much we got to interact with the cadets," Walberg said. "Everyone was honest. No one tried to sugarcoat how the Academy worked; it's rough but always worth it in the end."

Walberg says she always wanted to be an officer and make a difference, even if just in some small way.

"I enlisted and got to do that," Walberg said. "I know I can reach my full potential and make a bigger difference as an officer."

Walberg says the program is for people who are seriously considering the Academy and have already begun the process. However, she did learn how difficult it is to keep up with everything once admitted.

"I was so nervous at first," Walberg said. "I'm happy my Academy liaison officer put me up for this program. I don't want to commission any other way now."

For more information about the LEAD program and other commissioning opportunities, contact the Ramstein Education Center at 480-2032 or 06371-47-2032.