Some people have found my blog while searching for answers to specific questions about the U. S. Air Force Academy. In the last week, some of those searches included questions about whether cadets get weekends off their first year, and what cadets wear.
Quick answers to those questions: Cadets get a few weekends off their first year, but not every weekend. They are required to be in uniform as freshmen until their class “earns” civilian clothing privileges. When I was a doolie, eons ago, we had to be in uniform even while in our dorm rooms on the weekends. I always opted to wear an athletic uniform in the room, but I had to wear the uniform of the day to go to the mess hall or Arnold Hall (the equivalent of a recreation center or student union).
How does a doolie get a weekend pass? Some are automatic, such as on Parents Weekend. Others have to be earned. The “easiest” way to earn a weekend pass is to be a varsity athlete on a winning team. The next “easiest” way is to have a winning football team, preferably with a freshman quarterback (thanks, Dave Ziebart, Class of ’80, for all our free weekends). Another way is to work hard in squadron competitions, such as freshmen knowledge, drill, or intramurals, and win at some aspect of squadron competition. Do you see the pattern here? Work hard, work as a team, and win during any recognized competition. Whining does not earn free weekends. And don’t forget, once a doolie earns a free weekend pass, he or she still needs to find transportation away from Academy grounds.
Are there any current cadets out there who can offer more current information? If so, please comment.
Another way to find answers to lifestyle questions about the Academy is to contact the Registrar at USAFA and ask them for the name of the nearest Academy liaison. Liaisons are volunteers who meet with potential Academy applicants. Be sure to ask the liaison if they actually attended USAFA–most have, but not all of them. A few cadets do say that their liaison gave them faulty information. Hopefully, most liaison officers offer valid answers to your questions.