Falcon Baseball Alum Perspective: Capt. Jake Allen
Jan. 15, 2014
The Former Falcon Baseball Alum Perspective will be an occasional series of stories by former Air Force baseball alums on how the Academy has prepared them as they embark on their careers in the Air Force. The first one comes to us from Capt. Jake Allen, USAFA class of 2008.
In addition to playing baseball during his Academy days, Capt. Jake "Apollo" Allen was also a team captain and member of the USAFA soaring aerobatics team. He graduated with a degree in Aeronatical Engineering. The former fleet-footed Falcon baseball outfielder is currently serving as an Instructor Pilot in the F-16CM block 50 at Shaw AFB, SC. After graduating from the Academy, he attended Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) at Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, TX. He then traveled to Luke AFB in Phoenix, AZ for a year for the F-16 B-course before moving to his first operational assignment at Shaw. This summer Apollo will be leaving Shaw to join the 80th Fighter Squadron at Kunsan AB, South Korea.
Of all the positive attributes that I can come up with that have been endowed upon me through my four years at the United States Air Force Academy, most all of them can be attributed in some way to the simple fact that the Academy is hard. According to Jimmy Dugan in A League of Their Own, "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great." I couldn't agree more. The Academy is not a place to skate through with limited effort to earn a degree, or just a Div. I baseball program to play for. As I'm sure is the case with any highly ranked university, the academics are demanding. Balancing a full course load with athletics and the requisite military formations can sometimes seem impossible. But, as a result, I have benefited from the perks of a highly esteemed education, been given the opportunity to fly a fighter aircraft, and developed lasting relationships with some of the most genuine and brilliant people I could ever hope to meet.
After graduation I attended Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) where I again found a difficult demand on time, fast paced learning expectations, and, of course, performance based rankings. And yet again, I found myself sitting around my kitchen table on day one with seven-to-nine of my classmates studying together. The Air Force Academy not only provided me a pilot slot, it taught me humility which allowed me to ask for help often, from my instructors and from my peers. It taught perseverance through difficulty, teamwork, and how to compete with honor. All of these traits have been pivotal throughout my five-plus years in the Air Force, from SUPT, F-16 initial qualification training, and the path to becoming an Instructor Pilot in the F-16CM block 50. I wouldn't trade that for any other college experience.