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Learn the Lingo

This glossary will help you understand some of the terms you may encounter during the application process and while at the United States Air Force Academy. If you become a cadet, it might help your parents understand you too.


  • AAOCA: Associate Air Officer Commanding for Academics, a faculty member and academic advisor for cadets without a major
  • ABU: Airman Battle Uniform
  • ACQ: Academic Call to Quarters
  • AFT: Aerobic Fitness Test
  • AOC: Air Officer Commanding, an active-duty officer in charge of a 100-person cadet squadron
  • Applicant: A person applying to the Academy who has completed a Pre-candidate Questionnaire
  • Appointee: A person who has successfully applied for admission to the Academy and who has received an offer to attend the Academy


  • BCT: Basic Cadet Training
  • Beast: Slang for Basic Cadet Training
  • BOR: Base of the Ramp


  • Cadet: Student of the U.S. Air Force Academy
  • Cadet Wing: Military organization of all cadets, consisting of four groups, totaling approximately 4,000 cadets
  • Cadre: Refers to people in leadership positions. Cadet Cadre are upperclassmen holding leadership positions.
  • Candidate: An applicant who has completed the Pre-candidate Questionnaire and who has been approved to pursue appointment to the Academy
  • Candidate Kit: Kit containing admissions forms and information for students whose Pre-candidate Questionnaires have been received, screened and approved, including complete information about medical eligibility, the Candidate Fitness Assessment and other necessary steps in the admissions process
  • CCQ: Cadet-in-Charge of Quarters
  • CE: Commissioning Education or Civil Engineering
  • CIC: Cadet-in-Charge
  • Command Post: Cadet Wing operations center, organization in charge of daily operations for the cadet wing
  • Comm’s List: Commandant’s list for outstanding cadet military performance
  • Contrails: The bible of the U.S. Air Force Academy fourth-classmen knowledge (contains U.S. Air Force Academy heritage information, quotes and various details of Academy life)
  • CST: Combat Survival Training


  • Dean’s List: Dean’s list for outstanding academic performance
  • DI: Dormitory Inspection, night check for accountability
  • Dining-in: A formal dinner for officers, NCOs and cadets
  • Dining-out: Same as dining-in, except you may bring a guest
  • Doolie: Fourth-class cadet (a freshman)


  • EI: Extra Instruction
  • Element: Basic unit of a squadron (about 12 cadets)


  • Firstie: First-class cadet (a senior)
  • Flight: Three elements (about 36 cadets)


  • GDNCO: Group Duty Noncommissioned Officer
  • GE: Global Engagement
  • GR: Graded Review (an important exam)


  • IP: Instructor Pilot


  • Jacks Valley: Site of Encampment training during BCT


  • LMD: Last military duty


  • Mitch’s: Mitchell Hall (the cadet dining hall)
  • MPA: Military Performance Average


  • NCO: Noncommissioned Officer
  • NCOIC: Noncommissioned Officer in Charge
  • Nomination: Required by law (Title 10) to receive an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy; each pre-candidate must apply for a nomination from their senators, congressional representatives and/or military affiliation.


  • OCP: Operational Camouflage Pattern
  • OIC: Officer in Charge


  • PEA (Physical Education Average): Cadets with a PEA of 3.0 or higher are awarded a silver lightning bolt by the Director of Athletics for outstanding physical education performance.
  • PFT: Physical Fitness Test
  • Pre-candidate: A student interested in attending the U.S. Air Force Academy who has returned a completed Pre-candidate Questionnaire
  • Pre-candidate Questionnaire: The first step in the application process, interchangeable with the term application
  • Prop and Wings: Insignia traditionally awarded to U.S. Air Force Academy cadets at the end of their grueling fourth-class (freshman) year, signifying that they have been “recognized” as upper-class cadets


  • Qualified Candidate: A candidate who has met all admissions requirements


  • SAMI: Saturday A.M. Inspection
  • SDO: Squadron Duty Officer
  • SOD: Senior Officer of the day, firstie-in-charge of the Cadet Wing for the day
  • Squadron: Consists of three flights, about 108 cadets
  • Square Corners: One of the duties of every fourth-classman or “Doolie”; they must always use facing movements to turn a corner.
  • Supt’s List: Superintendent’s list for outstanding academic, military and athletic performance


  • UOD: Uniform of the Day
  • Upper Class: Cadets in the first, second and third classes


  • Zoomie: Graduate or cadet at U.S. Air Force Academy