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First 178th member to attend Air Force Academy

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Joseph R. Stahl
  • 178th Wing

Staff Sgt. Lynley Mainous, 178th Wing member, will be attending the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo. Fall 2017.

She will be the first 178th Wing Airman to attend the Academy after serving first as an enlisted Airman.

Mainous will attend a six-week basic training as part of preparation for the Academy, which will begin immediately after.
She first became interested in joining the Air National Guard while attending her sister’s basic training graduation.

“I joined the Guard because I saw my sister at her BMT graduation and knew that it was something that I had to take part in,” said Mainous. “It was about being a part of something much bigger than myself. I always knew there was more for me than small town Ohio, and the military was it.”

Mainous first applied for the Academy in 2014 upon returning from her Air Force technical school. Her career aspirations soon changed as she decided to transfer to the Reserve in Texas to further her military career and withdrew her Academy application.

She returned to the 178th in 2016 to resume her Guard career. Shortly thereafter, her supervisor, Master Sgt. Heath Friessen, encouraged her to not give up on her Academy dreams and to reapply.

“She is a dedicated, hard-working, caring person; and with this opportunity she could be a great leader,” said Friessen.

Her commander, Lt. Col. Audrey Kawanishi, also encouraged her to reapply and was instrumental in submitting all of the application paperwork.

The application process is complicated and time consuming, requiring several recommendations from leadership as well as other commissioned officers.
Mainous received a phone call April 3 from Kawanishi to inform her that she had been accepted into the Academy.

“I got down on the floor with Lola (her dog) and just cried and cried, I was so happy and filled with so many emotions,” said Mainous. “Then I called my dad.”

She will leave for basic training June 29 in preparation for her fall semester and is planning on studying biology.

With the maximum age of enrollment at the Academy of 23, Mainous was not able to apply in the traditional way and had to forgo the preparatory school available to most students.

She will have a five-year active duty commitment upon graduation, but feels that her career will eventually bring her back to the 178th.
Mainous is looking forward to beginning her studies at the Academy.

“I have the mindset that I know what I want, and I am going to do what it takes to get what I want; that being a commission from one of the most prestigious schools in the country,” said Mainous. “So I am going to do my due diligence there and grind.”