United States Air Force Academy

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The Core of Cadet Life


squadron patch

To prepare cadets for the life of an officer, the cadet wing simulates the organization of an operational Air Force wing. Cadets are responsible for running and operating the wing, which affords them the opportunity to learn how to use a chain of command, to function as part of various military formations and how military units organize to accomplish collective tasks.

Within the cadet wing, first-class (senior) cadets hold the positions of cadet officers, second-class (junior) cadets act as the cadet non-commissioned officers and third-class (sophomore) cadets represent the cadet junior NCOs. Fourth-class cadets act as followers and function as cadet Airmen.

The wing is led by the cadet wing commander who is the highest ranking, first-class cadet. It is broken down into functional areas, some of which mirror components of an active-duty unit: honor: academics, athletics, safety, antiterrorism and force protection, standardization and evaluation, drill and ceremonies, support, information technology, training, public affairs, and character.

The 4,000-plus cadets who comprise the cadet wing are divided into four groups of 10 squadrons each. Cadets live, eat and participate in military training with their squadrons, which are comprised of roughly even numbers of cadets from all four class years.

Air officers commanding supervise cadets and are located within each group and squadron. These Air Force officers oversee all cadet activities, provide instruction and serve as role models as the cadets experience firsthand the processes of command and organization to accomplish the mission. Academy military trainer NCOs complement the AOCs and provide an enlisted role model perspective.

Cadet Squadron Contacts Cadet Squadron Cadet Duty Positions

Squadron Patches

Our 40 cadet squadrons have a proud and rich history as exemplified by their unique and meaningful patches. The insignia of a particular unit is meant to encourage esprit and to make a strong statement about the personality of the group as a whole and its traditions.