Two Volleyball Players to Lead as Wing Commanders
June 2, 2003
USAF, Colo. - Two volleyball players have been chosen to serve in leadership positions for the Air Force Academy cadet wing. C1C (Sr.) Delavane Diaz will serve as wing commander for the summer and C1C Katie Dildy will serve in the fall. Wing commander is the highest leadership role attainable by a cadet.
To become a wing commander, a cadet must pass a rigorous selection process. Over 200 cadets are nominated at the squadron level. This is eventually narrowed down to the top 25 cadets in the wing. The wing commander is responsible for good order and discipline of the 4000 cadets at the academy. Only three wing commanders are selected for the summer and fall semesters, with one more being selected for the spring.
"I am really proud of our two players," head coach Penny Lucas-White said. "They are leaders on and off they court. They will both excel at these new leadership opportunities."
Diaz, a 5-foot-10 outside hitter from Tampa, Fla., has been the team's most valuable player for the past two season. Dildy, a 5-foot-11 setter from Houston, Texas, was the team's co-captain last year.
"This is the most challenging experience I have ever had and probably the most challenging experience I will ever have," Dildy said. "I have the opportunity to provide the cadet wing with visions and goals directed towards accomplishing the Academy mission. I represent the health, welfare, morale, education and training of my fellow cadets, which is a huge responsibility."
Dildy had leadership aspirations and the opportunity to serve as wing commander is an opportunity that will carry her throughout her career as an officer in the Air Force.
"My aspiration was to influence the women to be a good example of what a leader should be," Dildy said. "I see the good of the Academy and what it can do for you and I desire to share that."
Diaz is also excited about the opportunity. She sees herself as a "natural" leader and looks forward to the challenges of being a wing commander.
"I expect to learn an incredible amount about myself and about leadership," Diaz said. "The times I have been in the position to lead - whether on the volleyball court or on the Hill (Cadet Area) - leadership has come naturally to me. I know that I will be faced with many challenges as wing commander, but challenges motivate me to higher levels."
There are three wing commanders chosen - two for the summer terms and one for the fall semester. It is rare that two of the three are female and even rarer that two would be athletes from the same sport.
"I feel that coaches help mold leadership skills among our athletes," Lucas-White said. "Players learn leadership through adversity, hard work and persistence on a day-to-day basis. Katie was a co-captain last season and has leadership experience. I think Delavane will find out more about herself and discover leadership skills that she didn't even know she had."