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A look back at the long road to graduation for USAFA cadets

The road to graduation for cadets isn't easy

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A U.S. Air Force cadet's final moment comes when they hear the word "dismissed!"

Getting to that point takes long four years before they can call themselves 2nd Lieutenants.

It starts on in-processing day, when cadets get their hair cut and start physical training.

An upperclassman says, "This is the biggest shock and awe they'll get in their life."

The first physical test is their four-mile march into Jack's Valley. 

Another cadet says, "you're going up and down hills, so it's a tiring march and it feels like forever, especially as a basic, it feels like forever."

The march doesn't compare to what's next, the obstacle courses freshmen go through. They come with lots of yelling and push cadets to their physical limits.

It's not often anyone fails the test, unless they are injured in the process and can't go on.

After classes start a short few days later, most of their work is kept from the public. Cadets are usually seen at special events once or twice a year.

They are tested physically and mentally, with nearly every day planned out for four years, all hoping to make it to graduation.

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