Vandenberg Airman takes "LEAD"

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Kaylee Ausbun
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
After recently tacking on the rank of Airman 1st Class, Veronique Henry, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs broadcast journalist, hopes to trade in the chevrons on her sleeves for gold bars on her collar by applying to the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Every year there are 170 appointments reserved for active duty, reserve and National Guard enlisted Airmen, like Henry, who are interested in attending the U.S. Air Force Academy.

"Airman Henry shined since the day she arrived in this office," said Robin Jackson, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs chief. "Her positive outlook on life is contagious; she doesn't let anything stand in her way."

Henry confesses that when she first heard about the Academy, she was not sure it was right for her.

"When I first thought about enlisting my mom wanted me to go to the Academy instead to commission and continue my education because education was most important to her," said Henry. "I thought about it, but I wasn't sure at first."

After completing Basic Military Training at Lackland AFB, Texas, in June 2012 and training at the Defense Information School at Fort Meade, Md., in October 2012, Henry was assigned to Vandenberg where she says her prayers and support from friends and supervisors helped make the decision for her.

"People would always make comments about whether or not I thought about becoming an officer," Henry said. "I thought maybe people might see something in me that I didn't see in myself. I prayed about it a lot and I felt like this is what I needed to do. I just wanted to be sure."

In November 2013, Henry attended a commissioning briefing here where she was introduced to the Leaders Encouraging Airmen Development program.

The LEAD program was developed by Air Force leaders to encourage top performing enlisted Airmen to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. After graduating from the Academy, LEAD Airmen commission as second lieutenants with a Bachelor's of Science degree.

"If I am accepted, I am looking forward to the overall experience," said Henry. "Going from enlisted to officer is not an easy task, but everyone is so supportive and it makes me feel good that people are behind me and they know I can do it."

Airmen wishing to apply to the Academy must meet certain requirements in order to apply. One of these requirements is passing the Cadet Fitness Assessment, which Henry completed Tuesday.

"The CFA is a lot different than the Air Force Fitness Test," said Henry. "A basketball throw, pull-ups and a shuttle run are not part of the active duty assessment, but it went a lot better than I thought it was going to go."

All Airmen are required to be fit to fight and Henry has taken her level of fitness to the stage as she will compete in her first fitness competition March 8 in Culver City.

"It is kind of like my last hoorah before I find out whether or not I am accepted to the Academy," said Henry. "I love to challenge myself and see how far I can push my limits."

Henry's final application is due Jan. 31 and she is expected to find out in April whether or not she is accepted into the Academy for the Class of 2018, or the Preparatory School, which is an additional transitory year for her to sharpen her skills in a military academic environment. According to the admissions department for the Academy, Airmen not accepted for direct entrance into the Academy are automatically considered for the Prep School.

"I will be humbled with whatever program the Academy fits me into," said Henry. "I am just excited and anxious to see what my future holds."

For more information about the Air Force Academy or the Preparatory School, visit