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'FLEP'ing the scales of justice

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Andrew Herzog, 366th Comptroller Squadron deputy budget officer, conducts business June 5, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Herzog has been accepted into the Funded Legal Education Program and will attend law school at Vanderbilt University Aug. 12. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shane M. Phipps/Released)

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Andrew Herzog, 366th Comptroller Squadron deputy budget officer, conducts business June 5, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Herzog has been accepted into the Funded Legal Education Program and will attend law school at Vanderbilt University Aug. 12. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shane M. Phipps/Released)

JAG badge

Judge Advocate General AFSC uniform badge featuring scales of justice. (U.S. Air Force File Illustration)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- One finance lieutenant will be attending law school at minimal cost through an Air Force program designed to produce trained Judge Advocate General officers.

The program, known as the Funded Legal Education Program, allows law students to maintain their active duty status, with full pay and benefits, while earning a law degree.

"My interest in law first began my sophomore year at the academy," said 1st Lt. Andrew Herzog, 366th Comptroller Squadron deputy budget officer and U.S. Air Force Academy graduate. "I took a law class and really enjoyed it. My teacher had gone through the FLEP, so that's really when I took notice of the program."

The Air Force informational website explains: "If you are currently serving in active duty but have ambitions to someday become a JAG attorney, you'll be excited to learn that every year we select a limited number of active duty officers to attend law school at Air Force expense. If you are selected to participate in FLEP, you'll receive your tuition, fees and a book allowance from the Air Force while continuing to serve on active duty."

The website continues by emphasizing only the best possible candidates are selected into the program. It states:

"Only active duty officers may apply for FLEP. The selection process is competitive. Academic performance, extracurricular activities, community service, prior military record and work experience are all considered. The Judge Advocate General selects the best-qualified applicants based upon the recommendations of a board of senior judge advocates."

Herzog's leadership says they are proud of what he has accomplished during his time with the finance office.

"Over his three years at Mountain Home, Andrew has done an amazing job and he will be missed in the squadron," said Lt. Col. David Stephens, 366th Comptroller Squadron commander. "His leadership and talent will be hard to replace."

Herzog enlisted the aid of his local legal office in order to put together the best possible application package.

"I got a lot of help from our legal office to put the package together," said Herzog. "I actually sat down with the head of the legal office here. It was a fun process."

On Aug. 12, Herzog will begin a three-year law school at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tenn., but he won't soon forget those who helped him reach his goal.

"I'm really looking forward to the challenge of it all," he said. "I've been lucky enough to have some really great opportunities since I've been here, and I've worked with some really great people. It's easy to lead when you're surrounded by greatness."

Herzog's commander is confident in his ability to excel in future endeavors.

"I know he'll continue to do great things in the Air Force, now as a JAG instead of a comptroller," said Stephens. "Making it into law school is a challenge, but making it into Vanderbilt, one of the nation's top law schools, is really impressive and confirms this is the right move for Andrew and the Air Force."

For Herzog's wife, his selection into the program comes as little surprise.

"I'm extremely proud of him," said 1st Lt. Brittney Herzog, 366th Medical Group clinical nurse. "He seems to always excel at everything he does, and I know this will be no exception."