The Student News Site of Marshfield High School

The Marshfield Times

The Student News Site of Marshfield High School

The Marshfield Times

The Student News Site of Marshfield High School

The Marshfield Times

Senior commits to future career in the Air Force

By Eddie Rodriguez | Distribution Manager

After two years of planning and hard work, senior Kelley Kennedy recently learned his dream of attending the Air Force Academy has now become a reality. Kennedy began the application process last spring for admittance to the Air Force Academy, which required him to write five essays and attain letters of recommendation from Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and Representative Peter DeFazio.

Sophomore Braeden Kennedy, Kelley’s sister, has seen his struggle throughout the entire application process. Braeden said she saw her brother work many nights on the application for the Air Force Academy.

“It took two years to get to the final stage of the application to even finally be considered for the Air Force Academy,” Braeden said.

His effort paid off. Kennedy first received news he had been admitted to the Air Force Academy, located in Colorado Springs, while he was in the Houston airport following a spring break vacation in Cancun, Mexico. He had been checking his email constantly.

“News came to me when I first read the email,” Kennedy said. “I saw the first word, and it said, ‘Congratulations.’”

According to Braeden, the Air Force and Air Force Academy has always been a part of their family history.

“The Air Force is a part of our family; we tie into it a lot,” Braeden said.

Kennedy’s father, Karl Kennedy, was a seven-year Air Force officer, and his grandfather is a World War II veteran. Growing up, his grandfather would share war stories. However, while Kennedy grew up with some military background, he said that is not his main reason for going into the Air Force. Instead, he admires the message of the Air Force and its service and saw what it did for his father and his father’s friends. He wanted to be part of it.

“It teaches you about cooperative leadership, and it teaches to give back and to have greater respect for your country,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy is aware of the challenge he faces, but he believes he is ready to commit to the seven-year service to his country and the $415,000 education he is about to receive is well worth the time he is going to spend in the Air Force Academy.

English teacher Scott Peters has worked closely with Kennedy as a teacher and his yearbook advisor, where Kennedy serves as one of the editors. Peters has seen Kennedy evolve over his years in high school and has confidence that he will succeed at the Air Force Academy.

“No matter what Kelley does, he will excel,” Peters said.  “It is probably going to be a good fit because it’s what he’s always wanted to do.”

Peters acknowledges that some of Kennedy’s best qualities are his intelligence, industriousness and problem solving skills. Peters said Kennedy can navigate through tough obstacles, and these qualities will translate well with the high expectations of the Air Force Academy.

“Kelley is always the one to step in and be the superhero [when a problem arises],” Peters said.

Kennedy now looks toward a rigorous program when he departs for basic combat training (BCT) on June 28. He has been preparing himself these last few months for the mental and physical demands of the Air Force BCT program.

BCT is one of two phases Kennedy must go through before he starts classes in August, which includes a week and a half of rigorous physical training north of Colorado Springs. Kennedy said he will wake up every day at 4:30 a.m. to begin his sessions, which will end at 6:30 p.m. He must go through marching practice, weight lifting and running. He will have one day to rest and recover before beginning phase two at Jacks Valley, where much of the military survival training is done. Phase two entails survival training, artillery training and learning navigation.

“It’s a pretty daunting challenge and physically demanding, but I have plenty of support from my friends and family,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said he is ready to attend the Academy and leave his family. While he will miss his family, he knows he has to watch out for himself now, and the Air Force will become his new home.

“It’s a huge commitment. You have to be physically, emotionally and mentally ready,” Kennedy said. “It will be the only thing on my mind for a while, but I am ready to make the commitment.”

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The Student News Site of Marshfield High School
Senior commits to future career in the Air Force