COLORADO SPRINGS — On Thursday, the United States Air Force Academy welcomed the class of 2025 for In-Processing day, also known as I-Day.
I-Day signifies the beginning of the cadets' journey at USAFA and the next chapter of their lives. The process involved getting a COVID-19 test, saying goodbye to their loved ones at Doolittle Hall, then boarding a bus to take them to their new lives. One of the more well-known aspects of I-Day is when cadets receive a haircut to fit U.S. Air Force standards.
1,100 young men and women reported for basic cadet training. Just under 30 percent of the incoming class are women, and a little over 36 percent are minorities.
"Well, my mom was in it, my dad was in it and I figured it was the best way to get out of New Mexico. And I wanted to explore the world," said Cadet Candidate Isaiah Land.
The calling that has brought these cadets to USAFA ranges from family tradition to being inspired by an air force show.
"I saw an airshow, the 2010 defenders of freedom airshow at Offut air force base and that was when I decided. I saw the F-22 raptor and want to fly that, and the best way to get there is the Air Force Academy," said Cadet Candidate Kolbe Villa.
Members of USAFA who led I-Day emphasized to the cadets that what they are now joining is not about them, but something bigger, and that they must put their personal pride behind them.
Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark spoke to groups of trainees at the Holaday Athletic Center. The advice he gave to them was to treat their time at the academy as if they were "eating an elephant," and to take one step at a time.
"Yeah, I think I'm a little bit prepared because of my brother's experience here. And, I know it's going to be difficult but I'm excited for the challenge," said Cadet Candidate Mackenzie Marti.
The cadets will face six weeks of difficult basic training, where they will be oriented with the Air Force Academy's values and standards.