PHOTOS: On ‘I-Day’ at Air Force Academy, Class of 2028 Becomes Basic Cadets

The Class of 2028 at the U.S. Air Force Academy arrived at the school for in-processing day, known as ‘I-Day’ on June 26. The appointees checked in to commence administrative records processing, receive uniforms and equipment, and take the oath of office.

Selected from more than of 10,099 applicants, the Class of 2028 includes 1,132 attendees, with approximately 29.7 percent being women. The class included some 215 appointees arriving with a private pilot’s license, including 50 women, Academy spokesperson Dean Milller told Air & Space Forces Magazine. Another 4.3 percent of the class are prior enlisted Airmen.

Also among the new cadets on I-Day were 437 appointees of color, 38 percent of the class. The list included 16 international students, each hailing from a different country: Angola, Egypt, Ghana, Jordan, Kenya, Korea, Malaysia, Moldova, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Senegal, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Tunisia.

“It’s a key to how we build partnerships with our allies overseas,” Miller said about the Academy’s international student program. “You can imagine the impact of going into a theater and having our officers work with someone they went to school with.”

By law, the Academy can have a maximum of 60 international students at any given time, allowing for about 15 new admissions per year. Prospective international students must secure a nomination through their government, typically facilitated by their defense ministry. Miller added that the Academy works with the embassies and the host nations throughout the application process.  

All attendees on I-Day were issued “Contrails,” a little blue handbook that contains all the information a new cadet needs to know, according to Miller. The new cadets will have some pop quizzes throughout their Basic Cadet Training period based on the material in the booklet.

I-Day also includes the Oath of Office, marking the appointees’ transition to the title of Basic Cadet. They commence training with an introduction to Air Force customs, courtesies, dress, and appearance standards, including haircuts for men and hairstyle instruction and haircuts for women. This is also when the new cadets receive uniforms and necessary equipment before progressing to Basic Cadet Training.

This intensive six-week regimen serves as the Academy’s inaugural trial, initiating transformation from civilian to future officer. Basic Cadet Training concludes in early August as the Class of 2028 is formally welcomed into the Cadet Wing during the Acceptance Day Parade.

Last month, at the Academy’s Class of 2024 graduation ceremony, 974 cadets joined the Air Force’s ranks, with 93 entering the Space Force as second lieutenants. The event also saw 15 international cadets graduate alongside their U.S. classmates. The graduating class was 69 percent men and 31 percent women.

Since the first class commissioned in 1959, 54,883 Academy graduates have commissioned into the Air Force, and 485 have commissioned into the Space Force.