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56th HMU Airman accepted to U.S. Air Force Academy

U.S. Air Force Maj. Christopher L. Clark, 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander, video chats with the family of Airman 1st Class Luke Kohout, 31st AMXS crew chief, to celebrate his acceptance to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy at Aviano Air Base, Italy, April 9, 2020. The academy offers courses in flying, navigation, soaring and parachuting, building from basic skills to instructor duties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Thomas S. Keisler IV)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Christopher L. Clark, 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander, video chats with the family of Airman 1st Class Luke Kohout, 31st AMXS crew chief, to celebrate his acceptance to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy at Aviano Air Base, Italy, April 9, 2020. The academy offers courses in flying, navigation, soaring and parachuting, building from basic skills to instructor duties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Thomas S. Keisler IV)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Luke Kohout, 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, talks on the phone with his family at Aviano Air Base, Italy, April 9, 2020. Kohout was just accepted to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy and celebrated with fellow Airmen. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman Thomas S. Keisler IV)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Luke Kohout, 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, talks on the phone with his family at Aviano Air Base, Italy, April 9, 2020. Kohout was just accepted to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy and celebrated with fellow Airmen. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman Thomas S. Keisler IV)

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy --

The U.S. Air Force Academy isn’t just a premier education establishment. It's an unparalleled academic and military institution that provides young men and women with rewarding opportunities to transform into the leaders of tomorrow.

For U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Luke Kohout, 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 56th Helicopter Maintenance Unit crew chief, the dream of being accepted into the U.S. Air Force Academy has become a reality.

“I’m very excited, I think it’s a great opportunity and I’m really looking forward to the challenges that are sure to come along with [the U.S. Air Force Academy],” said Kohout.

Kohout said that before he enlisted into the U.S. Air Force his brother, who was also in the    U.S. Air Force, wanted him to apply to the U.S. Air Force Academy. It wasn’t until after arriving to Aviano Air Base, however, that he started to consider it as an option.

“After I enlisted, and started making friends here at Aviano, they helped me realize that my brother was right, and that I may thrive in that environment a little more.” Said Kohout.

Not only did his friends inspire him, but Kohout’s leadership supported him as well.

“Leadership called my parents and brother and had them on the phone when they let me know [I was accepted], so it just added to the excitement because I got to share the experience with my family,” said Kohout.

Kohout’s application process required self-motivation and commitment.

“Being overseas definitely made the process more difficult just because of the time difference and added paperwork needed,” said Kohout. “I just had to work harder to make sure that I got everything done in time, as well as realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to get through the process by myself, and to go ask for help whenever I needed to.”

One important piece of advice that Kohout leaves team Aviano about applying into the U.S. Air Force Academy is to be persistent.

“I would tell them to just stay on top of it,” said Kohout. “Don’t wait around and expect anyone else to start the application for you. People can push you in the right direction but you need to take the first step on your own.”