Superintendent Al Hearne and Superintendent Emeritus Bruce Johnson recently had the privilege to catch up with a recent RCS Alumni, Sam Lee. Sam has finished basic training for the United States Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Sam shares about his experiences so far and how RCS influenced his success.
Basic training started on June 25 and ended on August 5. It was divided into two parts: “First Beast” and “Second Beast.” First Beast was at the Academy itself, where we focused more on the military drill. Second Beast was in a wilderness-like environment at Jacks Valley, a 5-mile march from the Academy campus.
The best part of basic training was the Fourth of July celebration, which came as a big surprise to all of us. We were allowed a 10-minute call to our parents at one point in the day. At night, they gave us a few hours of relaxation, where lots of desserts were served and when we got to actually talk to other people (which is not normally allowed). We got to watch the movie 13 Hours, which was unique because one of the Seals that fought in Benghazi came (later in the year) and told us about his experience there.
The worst part about basic training was the yelling, which happened to me a lot. I happened to be one of the ﬁrst “basics” my cadre saw, so naturally I was the scapegoat for pretty much the entirety of basic training. There were so many things that I messed up; once I even came out of my room with two diﬀerent socks, a green one and a white one!
Once college started, describe a typical day.
Wake Up: 0600 (6:00 am)
Morning accountability: 0625-0645
Optional Breakfast: 0645-0730
Classes (50 minutes each): 0730-1530 (7:30 am to 3:30 pm)
Noon Meal Formation: 1135-1155
Mandatory Lunch: 1155-1215
Training Session (most days): 1545-1730
Optional Dinner: 1700-1900
Training Session (occasionally): 1915-1950
Academic Call to Quarters (ACQ): 1950
Bedtime: 0030 (ish)
Now that training is completed, tell us what you are looking forward to.
Life is really relaxed after you are “Recognized” and are no longer a “Doolie.” There are so many little things that you now appreciate, generally that you are treated like an actual human being. No more walking around at Attention, no more sir/ma’ams (for the most part), and there is so much more free time. You ﬁnally get to appreciate the academy and see it for what it is. It’s pretty much like civilian college plus some additional military stuﬀ.
Did your time as a student (K-12th) at RCS prepare you for the rigor of the Air Force Academy?
RCS deﬁnitely prepared me well for the rigor of the Academy. Throughout the year, I’ve faced some pretty intense physical challenges, and I feel like cross country (and PE) deﬁnitely built my endurance and gave me strong exposure to physical activities. Also, the academy challenges you in all aspects (academically, physically, mentally, and spiritually), and I was prepared because of my experiences at Redwood. In this ﬁrst year, especially, mental toughness is a big emphasis point, and having to manage all the AP classes that I took at RCS really tested me in this aspect.
Anything else you want to tell the RCS community?
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!