By Annie Griffith
TROY — The sounds of planes flying above is a sound that Troy is used to, but for some that sound is the sound of inspiration.
For Austin Jacobs, a senior at Troy High School, this couldn’t be more true.
Jacobs recently received his acceptance to the United States Air Force Academy, a highly prestigious college with a rigorous application and acceptance process. Jacobs has been preparing for this over the past 12 years.
According to Jacobs, he has been infatuated with aerospace travel and the mechanics behind flight since he was little — watching planes fly to and from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, which only furthered his desire.
“There was something about an object travelling at an extremely fast speed, so far up that you can barely see it, that wowed my mind,” Jacobs said.
Later Jacobs learned of the United States Air Force Academy being a college for people who wanted to join the Air Force and still receive a college education — but being accepted is extremely difficult.
Jacobs joined the Young Marines out of Huber Heights while in the fifth grade. The program puts a heavy emphasis on leadership and character development. The commitment to Young Marines and football tended to clash, causing Jacobs to take a permanent leave of absence from the Young Marines.
“I loved every minute of it, and this was when I realized that God made me for service to others, namely military service,” he said.
While attending Troy Junior High School, Jacobs attended Air Camp, which is a hands-on educational week of activities focusing on aviation and aeronautics, as well as promoting scholarship, leadership and citizenship. Jacobs did so well that he was presented with “Best in Flight” award, which motivated him even more.
Jacobs continued to pursue his dream — during his freshman year of high school he contacted his Air Liaison Officer, which is normally not done until one’s junior year in high school.
“But I started meeting with him as soon as I could and discussing with him what things I could be doing to make my application profile (for the Air Force Academy) as competitive as it could get,” Jacobs said.
His Air Liaison Officer advised him to earn an appointment to the Air Force Academy, which is earned though proving his success in academics, character, leadership and extracurricular activates. In order to earn his appointment, Jacobs attended Buckeye Boys’ State, served in student government at Troy High School, became student body president as well as a Reading Buddy for Concord Elementary. Jacobs was one of the captains on Troy’s football team, as well as doing community service.
In July, Jacobs was updated to the “candidate” status, meaning he could proceed with his application. Jacobs had to fill out transcripts, letters of recommendation, essays, forms, interviews, background checks, Department of Defense physical checkups, physical fitness tests and writing examples. But first he needed a congressional nomination.
In October 2015, then Ohio 8th District Congressman and Speaker of the House John Boehner gave Jacobs his nomination, just days before retiring. After completing this, more than 50 percent of the application was complete. Jacobs completed the rest of his application in late October, which began his wait for an appointment with the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Finally, on April 4 he was offered an appointment, which he accepted that day. Jacobs will arrive at the academy on June 30 to begin harsh Basic Cadet Training, along with the rigorous academics he must complete.
“I wanted a school that would refine my leadership skills, keep me on top physically, and put me in the best position possible to serve the nation that I love more than anything,” Jacobs said.
Upon graduation from the academy, Jacobs hopes to become a flight surgeon or a fighter pilot, depending on what the Air Force needs at the time. Jacobs will also be majoring in biology or aeronautical engineering.
“It was amazing to think I used to draw pictures of fighter planes with the USAF insignia in the margins of my spelling tests in first grade and now I was finally to the point of applying to my dream school with the hope of one day serving my country,” he said.
Jacobs said he is thankful for all who have been there for him through out his journey to accomplish his life-long dream. Jacobs thanked his family, God, his teachers at Troy High School, as well as his high school counselor, Mr. Aaron Gibbons.
“Last but certainly not least, there are numerous people in the Troy community that have known of my desire to attend the academy and join the Air Force who have offered me strong, unwavering encouragement and for that, I am truly grateful,” Jacobs said.