Monterey Airman accepted to AF Academy

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jessica Keith
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs
A Senior Airman got the chance to fulfill his childhood dream when he was accepted to the Air Force Academy in May.

Senior Airman Ziqun He, a career development technician with the 17th Force Support Squadron at the Presidio of Monterey, Calif., said going to the Academy has been his dream since childhood.

"I love the Air Force and the military life," said Airman He. "My goal is to be an officer, and going to the academy is an honor for me and my family."

The 21-year-old Airman, whose family emigrated from Beijing, China, in 1998, received his American citizenship in January 2009.

"I applied as soon as I got my citizenship," he said. "I am proud to be an American citizen and I want to show that by being a productive, law-abiding citizen and serving my country to the best of my abilities. The Air Force has become a part of my family."

He said he enlisted in the Air Force after graduating high school because he knew military service would enable him to receive his citizenship faster, which would fast-track his application to the Academy.

"My father came to this country before my mother and me," Airman He said. "He would call home and tell us the American people welcomed him with open arms and gave him an opportunity to make money and go to college."

As soon as they were able, he and his mother made the move as well.

"When we came to the United States it was just like everything my dad described and more," he said.

He said he couldn't believe the opportunities he saw.

"It was amazing," Airman He said. "The schools are free and there are free libraries and parks. Everyone I met had a TV and a computer."

He said even though he wants to travel across Europe and Australia, he intends to stay in America even after he retires.

"America is home now," Airman He said. "This country gave me the opportunity to be who I am today and it is where my family and I will forever reside."