Fairchild Airman shoots for success

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mary O'Dell
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Airman 1st Class Cedric King II, 92nd Force Support Squadron career development apprentice, always wanted to commission into the U.S. Air Force. He didn't realize, however, that the possibility would arise again thanks to the sport he has loved to play since he was 4-years-old.

The 20-year-old Pensacola, Fla. native originally started out at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Ala., in the Reserve Officer Training Corps program when life became more difficult financially. So, with the encouragement of his cadre, he decided to enlist.

Now, eight months later, he is preparing himself for an opportunity he could never have imagined. With the support of his Fairchild family, he is on his way to training camp for the All-Air Force basketball team in October.

"After the All-Air Force basketball coach saw film of me playing I was invited to camp," said King. "Quickly I knew things were looking up."

While King was beyond grateful for this adventure, he knew he could try to pursue his dream further.

"My commander at the time, Lt. Col. Randy Bailey, was helping me look into commissioning programs when everything just started coming together," King said. "I decided trying to get into the U. S. Air Force Academy Prep School playing basketball would be ideal."

1st Lt. Tarasita Davis, 92nd Force Support Squadron deputy resource management officer and previous Prep school attendee, has been by King's side with an abundance of encouragement from the start, working with him to make a plan of action.

"I shared my experience with applying and how the process works," said Davis. "He was aware going to the Preparatory School and then the Academy was an option for Airmen, but I let him know direct entry was achievable and he should try that route."

First, with the help of his commander, then Lt. Davis, King could feel the support of his military family. However, his support continued to extend further.

2nd Lt. Zachary Payne, 92nd Contracting specialist and ex-football coach at the Academy Prep school, and now mentor for King, has been aiding in his physical preparation for camp doing strength training early in the mornings and sometimes late after the duty day has ended.

Payne said that playing for the All-Air Force team would definitely help the hopeful point-guard's chances of being recruited to the Academy for basketball.

"He has a long and unconventional journey ahead of him," said Payne. "But if he continues to dedicate himself to this goal, I have no doubt he'll reach it."

King said leading his little brothers down a better path has always been his motivation, but having such great support throughout his chain of command has been just as motivating.

"Knowing there are so many people helping make this possible pushes me to work that much harder toward succeeding," said King. "Without this opportunity, I wouldn't have the next opportunity."

With all of his stepping stones falling into place, and his journey to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas creeping up quickly, King is focused and determined with a strong back bone of military family behind him.

King hopes to eventually play at the Academy studying law and venture into the JAG program.