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Gymnast to lead as Cadet Wing commander

Cadet says he's idolized individual since freshman year

By Valerie Perkin

Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director

Air Force senior gymnast Cadet 1st Class Jacob Schonig was selected as the Academy's Cadet Wing Commander for the 2008 fall semester. The position, which oversees the daily operations of the cadet wing, is the highest leadership role attainable by a cadet. Cadet Schonig is the 20th Air Force athlete to receive the title of wing commander.

"Since my (freshman) year at the Academy, the wing commander has always been an individual who I've idolized," Cadet Schonig said. "When I was appointed to be the next wing commander, it was hard for me to believe. I never thought I would be given this amazing opportunity. Having the honor of leading these outstanding cadets is a dream come true for me."

As the Academy's Cadet Wing commander, Cadet Schonig reports directly to the Commandant of Cadets and is responsible for all duty functions performed by the cadets. He and his staff supervise all Cadet Wing activities, while enforcing proper discipline and conduct within the wing. He also has numerous other assigned responsibilities, including supervising the group commanders and executing wing-wide projects.

In order to become a Cadet Wing commander, a cadet must pass a rigorous selection process. More than 200 are nominated at the squadron level. This is eventually narrowed down to the top 25 in the wing. There are three wing commanders chosen each year - one for the summer term, one for the fall term and one for the spring term.

Schonig will also serve as a co-captain for the men's gymnastics team this season. Despite not competing in gymnastics until after entering the Academy, he is a two-time participant at the NCAA Championships, a two-time USA Gymnastics All-American and the 2008 USAG national collegiate champion on the still rings. He is also an all-academic team selection by the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and the College Gymnastics Association.

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