At the United States Air Force Academy, military education plays an important role in preparing cadets to become Air Force officers. As a cadet, you will take courses that provide a firm foundation in military strategy, doctrine, heritage and professionalism. You’ll learn the communication skills, instructional roles and responsibilities of an officer. This training will prepare you for leadership roles in both the cadet wing and in the United States Air Force.
Cadet Commander’s Leadership Enrichment Seminar
Military training at the Air Force Academy also includes specific leadership enrichment experiences for cadet commanders. From wing commander through squadron flight commander, cadet leaders must face the challenges that come with having the success of 4,000 members of the cadet wing in their hands, but you don’t face this challenge alone.
To help you succeed in your first real tests of command, the Academy conducts seminars on teamwork, communication, problem solving, delegation of authority, setting standards, wing goals and conflict resolution. These seminars are very popular among cadets and have proven to be highly successful in helping develop the leadership skills of our future Air Force leaders.
The Chain of Command
Integral to all aspects of military education is how cadets live and work in their daily activities. The cadet wing is organized into a military chain of command to mirror the organization of the rest of the Air Force.
First-class cadet commanders and their cadet staffs command 40 squadrons of approximately 100 cadets each. Those commanders in turn report to four cadet group commanders who are led by the cadet wing commander, the cadet in charge of the entire cadet wing.
Supervising these cadets are Air Officer Commanding (AOC), located in each squadron and group. These Air Force officers oversee all cadet activities, provide instruction, and serve as role models as the cadets experience firsthand the processes of command and organization to accomplish the mission.
The Academy Military Training Noncommissioned Officer (AMT NCO) complements the AOC and provides an enlisted role model perspective. Across the wide spectrum of cadet activities, from meals in Mitchell Hall, to the intramural athletic fields, to living arrangements within the dorms, the organizational focus is on the squadron.
The Commandant’s Challenge is a fall semester military training event for Academy cadets. For Commandant’s Challenge, cadets return to the same training complex they first conquered during Basic Cadet Training (BCT).
The event tests cadet teamwork and training to ensure they have the discipline, physical stamina, skills and knowledge required of the cadet wing and the Air Force. Skill tests, drill and ceremonies, uniform and room inspections, military knowledge and physical aptitude are all evaluated during the event. Cadets will encounter field training exercises that require:
- A combat rescue exercise
- A chemical suit drill
- Overland navigation
- Marksmanship expertise
- A grueling obstacle course
Cadets earn or lose points by meeting, or failing to meet, time limits in each event and by being skillful and efficient in designated tasks. They are also evaluated on the timeliness that all members reach each station.
The Commandant’s Challenge provides an opportunity for cadet wing leadership to plan, organize and execute an inspection that mirrors those used in the Air Force. It gives cadets an opportunity to practice leadership while building and training their teams to be the best.
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