Stephens calls BDOC
Airman 1st Class Charles Stephens, 354th Security Forces Squadron response force leader, communicates with the Base Defense Operations Center April 17, 2014, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Stephens was recently selected as 1 of 50 enlisted Airmen to attend the Air Force Academy Preparatory School. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)
Security Forces Airman selected for Academy Prep School

by Senior Airman Ashley Nicole Taylor
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/22/2014 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- A 354th Security Forces member was recently chosen for a unique opportunity. Airman 1st Class Charles Stephens was selected as 1 of 50 enlisted Airmen selected to attend the Air Force Academy Preparatory School in the near future.

The 10-month school is designed to academically, physically and militarily prepare selected young men and women to enter and succeed at the United States Air Force Academy.

"The Air Force Academy Prep School is a great place for young Airmen to attend and compete. Maturity, skill level and Air Force experience help make the transition to the academic environment easier," said Col. Jay Aanrud, 354th Fighter Wing vice commander. "Prior enlisted have the advantage to perform just as well if not better than their counterparts and I encourage every eligible Airman that has the opportunity to apply."

After talking to many individuals about the program, Airman 1st Class Charles Stephens, 354th Security Forces Squadron response force leader, began the paperwork to apply for the prep school last September.

"Obviously my parents were an inspiration as well as the leadership on this base, all the way up from Brig. General Kelly, Colonel Aanrud, Major Edge and Captain Maher, they were all very helpful and inspiring," said Stephens. "Although he's not Air Force, I've also read a lot of books and watched a lot of videos on Navy Admiral William McRaven and he is extremely well-spoken and very motivating after listening to his speeches I found online."

Aanrud noted that aside from Stephens meeting the requirements necessary to apply for the prep school, his work ethic and attitude allowed him to be successfully chosen as a contender.

"He's young, bright, enthusiastic, engaged in the community and a very mature individual," said Aanrud. "I think Stephens will perform extremely well, he certainly had strong grades in high school, a high ACT score and should be successful in the rigors of the academic life."

Unsure of what his job will be, Stephens is keeping an open mind about the situation and is waiting until he gets appointed to the Academy to see what is available, but plans to go far in his career regardless.

"Being a pilot is an option that I'm looking at and fortunately I have a few years before I have to decide. I really want to do pararescue or tactical air control party, but mainly it's going to be wherever the Air Force needs me most," said Stephens. "Not to sound too ambitious, but my end goal is to become a general. I always dreamed of being like General Patton or General Washington."

The Sayre, Okla. native also looks forward to the different activities the Prep School and Academy can offer.

"I am excited for 5 years of non-stop military grooming plus all the opportunities I will have between language studies, working on my degree, sports and different humanitarian missions and deployments in the summer," said Stephens. "One thing I want to attempt is boxing or mixed martial arts, mainly because I want to learn how to stay calm under pressure."

Upon successful completion of the Prep School, Stephens will be considered for appointment to the Air Force Academy.

Attending the program includes meeting restrictive requirements such as having a high ACT score, a respectable high school G.P.A. and being under the age of 22 by the time courses begin.

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