LOWRY AFB The History
Originally Published:  01/13/2017  06:38
The   United   States Air   Force Academy   (USAFA   or Air   Force)   is   an   officer   candidate   military   academy   of   the   United   States Air   Force.   Its   campus   is   located   immediately   north   of   Colorado   Springs   in   El   Paso   County,   Colorado,   United   States.   The Academy's   stated   mission   is   "to   educate,   train,   and   inspire   men   and   women   to   become   officers   of   character,   motivated to   lead   the   United   States Air   Force   in   service   to   our   nation.”   It   is   the   youngest   of   the   five   United   States   service   acade - mies,   having   graduated   its   first   class   in   1959.   Graduates   of   the   Academy's   four-year   program   receive   a   Bachelor   of Science   degree   and   are   commissioned   as   second   lieutenants   in   the   United   States Air   Force.   The Academy   is   also   one   of the largest tourist attractions in Colorado, attracting more than a million visitors each year.   Candidates    for    admission    are    judged    on    their    academic    achievement,    demonstrated    leadership,    athletics    and character.   To   gain   admission,   candidates   must   also   pass   a   fitness   test,   undergo   a   thorough   medical   examination,   and secure   a   nomination,   which   usually   comes   from   the   member   of   Congress   in   the   candidate's   home   district.   Recent incoming   classes   have   had   about   1,200   cadets;   historically   just   under   1,000   of   those   will   graduate.   Tuition   along   with room   and   board   are   all   paid   for   by   the   U.S.   government.   Cadets   receive   a   monthly   stipend,   but   incur   a   commitment   to serve a number of years of military service after graduation.   The   program   at   the   Academy   is   guided   by   the   Air   Force's   core   values   of   "Integrity   First,   Service   Before   Self,   and Excellence   in   All   We   Do,"   and   based   on   four   "pillars   of   excellence":   military   training,   academics,   athletics   and character   development.   In   addition   to   a   rigorous   military   training   regimen,   cadets   also   take   a   broad   academic   course load   with   an   extensive   core   curriculum   in   engineering,   humanities,   social   sciences,   basic   sciences,   military   studies   and physical   education.   All   cadets   participate   in   either   intercollegiate   or   intramural   athletics,   and   a   thorough   character development   and   leadership   curriculum   provides   cadets   a   basis   for   future   officership.   Each   of   the   components   of   the program is intended to give cadets the skills and knowledge that they will need for success as officers. HISTORY ESTABLISHMENT Prior   to   the   Academy's   establishment,   air   power   advocates   had   been   pushing   for   a   separate   air   force   academy   for decades.   As   early   as   1918,   Lieutenant   Colonel   A.J.   Hanlon   wrote,   "As   the   Military   and   Naval   Academies   are   the backbone   of   the Army   and   Navy,   so   must   the Aeronautical Academy   be   the   backbone   of   the Air   Service.   No   service   can flourish   without   some   such   institution   to   inculcate   into   its   embryonic   officers   love   of   country,   proper   conception   of duty,   and   highest   regard   for   honor."   Other   officials   expressed   similar   sentiments.   In   1919,   Congressman   Charles   F.   Curry introduced   legislation   providing   for   an Academy,   but   concerns   about   cost,   curriculum   and   location   led   to   its   demise.   In 1925,   air   power   pioneer   General   Billy   Mitchell   testified   on   Capitol   Hill   that   it   was   necessary   "to   have   an   air   academy   to form   a   basis   for   the   permanent   backbone   of   your   air   service   and   to   attend   to   the...organizational   part   of   it,   very   much the   same   way   that   West   Point   does   for   the Army,   or   that Annapolis   does   for   the   Navy."   Mitchell's   arguments   did   not   gain traction   with   legislators,   and   it   was   not   until   the   late   1940s   that   the   concept   of   the   United   States   Air   Force   Academy began to take shape.   Support   for   an   air   academy   got   a   boost   with   the   National   Security Act   of   1947,   which   provided   for   the   establishment   of a   separate   Air   Force   within   the   United   States   military.   As   an   initial   measure,   Secretary   of   the   Air   Force   W.   Stuart Symington   negotiated   an   agreement   where   up   to   25%   of   West   Point   and Annapolis   graduates   could   volunteer   to   receive their   commissions   in   the   newly   established   Air   Force.   This   was   only   intended   to   be   a   short   term   fix,   however,   and disagreements   between   the   services   quickly   led   to   the   establishment   of   the   Service   Academy   Board   by   Secretary   of Defense   James   Forrestal.   In   January   1950,   the   Service   Academy   Board,   headed   by   Dwight   D.   Eisenhower,   then president   of   Columbia   University,   concluded   that   the   needs   of   the Air   Force   could   not   be   met   by   the   two   existing   U.S. service academies and that an air force academy should be established. Following   the   recommendation   of   the   Board,   Congress   passed   legislation   in   1954   to   begin   the   construction   of   the   Air Force   Academy,   and   President   Eisenhower   signed   it   into   law   on   1   April   of   that   year.   The   legislation   established   an advisory   commission   to   determine   the   site   of   the   new   school.   Among   the   panel   members   were   Charles   Lindbergh, General   Carl   Spaatz,   and   Lieutenant   General   Hubert   R.   Harmon,   who   later   became   the Academy's   first   superintendent. The   original   582   sites   considered   were   winnowed   to   three:   Alton,   Illinois;   Lake   Geneva,   Wisconsin;   and   the   ultimate site   at   Colorado   Springs,   Colorado. The   Secretary   of   the Air   Force,   Harold   E. Talbott,   announced   the   winning   site   on   24 June 1954. Meanwhile, Air Training Command (ATC) began developing a detailed curriculum for the Academy program. EARLY YEARS The   early   Air   Force   Academy   leadership   faced   monumental   tasks,   including   the   development   of   an   appropriate curriculum,   establishment   of   a   faculty,   design   of   a   distinctive   cadet   uniform,   oversight   of   the   construction   of   the permanent   site,   and   the   creation   of   a   structure   for   military   and   flight   training.   To   establish   the   foundations   of   the Academy   program,   officials   ultimately   drew   from   sources   within   the   Air   Force,   from   West   Point   and   Annapolis,   and occasionally from outside the military entirely.   The   Academy's   permanent   site   had   not   yet   been   completed   when   the   first   class   entered,   so   the   306   cadets   from   the Class   of   1959   were   sworn   in   at   a   temporary   site   at   Lowry   Air   Force   Base,   in   Denver   on   11   July   1955.   While   at   Lowry, they   were   housed   in   renovated   World   War   II   barracks. There   were   no   upper   class   cadets   to   train   the   new   cadets,   so   the Air   Force   appointed   a   cadre   of   "Air Training   Officers"   (ATOs)   to   conduct   training. The ATOs   were   junior   officers,   many   of whom   were   graduates   of   West   Point,   Annapolis   and   The   Citadel.   They   acted   as   surrogate   upper   class   cadets   until   the upper   classes   could   be   populated   over   the   next   several   years.   The Academy's   dedication   ceremony   took   place   on   that first   day   and   was   broadcast   live   on   national   television,   with   Walter   Cronkite   covering   the   event. Arnold   W.   Braswell,   a native of Minden, Louisiana, was commander of the original four cadet squadrons at the academy 1955 to 1958.   In   developing   a   distinctive   uniform   for   cadets,   Secretary   of   the   Air   Force   Harold   Talbott   was   looking   for   "imagination" in   the   design.   Talbott   initially   used   military   tailors,   but   was   unhappy   with   their   products. As   a   result,   the   first   classes of   cadets   wore   temporary   uniforms   while   the   official   uniform   was   developed.   Secretary   Talbott   then   sought   out legendary   Hollywood   director   Cecil   B.   DeMille   for   help.   DeMille's   designs,   especially   his   design   of   the   cadet   parade uniform,   won   praise   from   Air   Force   and   Academy   leadership,   were   ultimately   adopted,   and   are   still   worn   by   cadets today.   The   Class   of   1959   established   many   other   important   traditions   that   continue   until   the   present.   The   first   class   adopted the   Cadet   Honor   Code,   and   chose   the   falcon   as   the   Academy's   mascot.   In   1957,   the   Air   Force   cadets   marched   in   the Inaugural   Parade   of   President   Dwight   Eisenhower   in   Washington,   D.C..   On   29   August   1958,   the   wing   of   1,145   cadets moved   to   the   present   site   near   Colorado   Springs,   and   less   than   a   year   later   the   Academy   received   accreditation.   The first USAFA class graduated and was commissioned on 3 June 1959. VIETNAM The   Vietnam   War   was   the   first   war   in   which Academy   graduates   fought   and   died. As   such,   it   had   a   profound   effect   on the   development   of   the   character   of   the   Academy.   Due   to   the   need   for   more   pilots,   Academy   enrollment   grew significantly   during   this   time.   The   size   of   the   graduating   classes   went   from   217   cadets   in   1961   to   745   cadets   in   1970. Academy   facilities   were   likewise   expanded,   and   training   was   modified   to   better   meet   the   needs   of   the   wartime   Air Force. The   Jacks   Valley   field   training   area   was   added,   the   Survival,   Evasion,   Resistance   and   Escape   (SERE)   program   was expanded, and light aircraft training started in 1968. Many Academy   graduates   of   this   era   served   with   distinction   in   the   Vietnam   War.   F-4   Phantom   II   pilot   Steve   Ritchie   '64 and   F-4   Phantom   II   weapon   systems   officer   Jeffrey   Feinstein   '68   each   became   aces   by   downing   five   enemy   aircraft   in combat.   One   hundred   forty-one   graduates   died   in   the   conflict;   thirty-two   graduates   became   prisoners   of   war.   Lance Sijan,   '65,   fell   into   both   categories   and   became   the   first Academy   graduate   to   be   awarded   the   Medal   of   Honor   due   to his heroism while evading capture and in captivity. Sijan Hall, one of the cadet dormitories, is named in his memory.   The   effects   of   the   anti-war   movement   were   felt   at   the   Academy   as   well.   Because   the   Academy   grounds   are   generally open   to   the   public,   the Academy   often   became   a   site   for   protests   by   anti-war   demonstrators.   Regular   demonstrations were   held   at   the   Cadet   Chapel,   and   cadets   often   became   the   targets   of   protesters'   insults.   Other   aggravating   factors were   the   presence   in   the   Cadet   Wing   of   cadets   motivated   to   attend   the Academy   for   reasons   of   draft   avoidance,   and   a number of highly publicized cheating scandals. Morale sometimes suffered as a consequence. WOMEN AT THE ACADEMY One   of   the   most   significant   events   in   the   history   of   the   Academy   was   the   admission   of   women.   On   7   October   1975, President   Gerald   R.   Ford   signed   legislation   permitting   women   to   enter   the   United   States   service   academies.   On   26 June   1976,   157   women   entered   the   Air   Force   Academy   with   the   Class   of   1980.   Because   there   were   no   female   upper class   cadets,   the   Air   Training   Officer   model   used   in   the   early   years   of   the   Academy   was   revived,   and   fifteen   young female   officers   were   brought   in   to   help   with   the   integration   process. The   female   cadets   were   initially   segregated   from the   rest   of   the   Cadet   Wing   but   were   fully   integrated   into   their   assigned   squadrons   after   their   first   semester.   On   28   May 1980,   97   of   the   original   female   cadets   completed   the   program   and   graduated   from   the Academy—just   over   10%   of   the graduating   class.   Women   have   made   up   just   over   20%   of   the   most   recent   classes,   with   the   class   of   2016   having   the highest proportion of any class, 25%. Many   of   the   women   from   those   early   classes   went   on   to   achieve   success   within   the   Cadet   Wing   and   after   graduation. Despite   these   successes,   integration   issues   were   long   apparent.   Female   cadets   have   had   consistently   higher   dropout rates   than   men   and   have   left   the   Air   Force   in   higher   numbers   than   men.   Some   male   cadets   also   believed   that   the presence   of   women   had   softened   the   rigors   of Academy   life   and   that   women   received   special   treatment. According   to at   least   one   commentator,   as   many   as   ten   percent   of   male   Academy   graduates   in   the   late   1970s   and   early   1980s requested   Army   commissions,   in   part   because   of   controversy   over   such   issues.   The   Class   of   1979,   the   last   all-male class,   went   so   far   as   to   unofficially   label   themselves   "LCWB,"   or   "Last   Class   With   Balls"   an   abbreviation   that   appeared on   many   of   their   class-specific   items   and   still   appears   at   reunions,   sporting   events   and   other   Academy   alumni functions. CAMPUS AND FACILITIES The   campus   of   the   Academy   covers   18,500   acres   (73   km²)   on   the   east   side   of   the   Rampart   Range   of   the   Rocky Mountains,   just   north   of   Colorado   Springs.   Its   altitude   is   normally   given   as   7,258   feet   (2,212   m)   above   sea-level,   which is   the   elevation   of   the   cadet   area.   The   Academy   was   designed   by   Skidmore,   Owings   and   Merrill   (SOM)   and   lead architect   Walter   Netsch.   SOM   partner   John   O.   Merrill   moved   from   Chicago   to   a   Colorado   Springs   field   office   to   oversee the construction and to act as a spokesman for the project.   The   most   controversial   aspect   of   the   SOM-designed Air   Force Academy   was   its   chapel.   It   was   designed   by   SOM   architect Walter    Netsch,    who    at    one    point    was    prepared    to    abandon    the    design;    but    the    accordion-like    structure    is acknowledged as an iconic symbol of the academy campus. THE CADET AREA The   buildings   in   the   Cadet Area   were   designed   in   a   distinct,   modernist   style,   and   make   extensive   use   of   aluminum   on building   exteriors,   suggesting   the   outer   skin   of   aircraft   or   spacecraft.   On   1   April   2004,   fifty   years   after   Congress authorized the building of the Academy, the Cadet Area at the Academy was designated a National Historic Landmark.   The   main   buildings   in   the   Cadet   Area   are   set   around   a   large,   square   pavilion   known   as   ‘‘the   Terrazzo’‘.   Most recognizable   is   the   17-spired   Cadet   Chapel.   The   subject   of   controversy   when   it   was   first   built,   it   is   now   considered among   the   most   prominent   examples   of   modern   American   academic   architecture.   Other   buildings   on   the   Terrazzo include   Vandenberg   Hall   and   Sijan   Hall,   the   two   dormitories;   Mitchell   Hall,   the   cadet   dining   facility;   and   Fairchild   Hall, the   main   academic   building,   which   houses   academic   classrooms,   laboratories,   research   facilities,   faculty   offices   and the Robert F. McDermott Library.   The   Aeronautics   Research   Center   (also   known   as   the   "Aero   Lab")   contains   numerous   aeronautical   research   facilities, including   transonic,   subsonic,   low   speed,   and   cascade   wind   tunnels;   engine   and   rocket   test   cells;   and   simulators.   The Consolidated   Education   and   Training   Facility   (CETF)   was   built   in   1997   as   an   annex   to   Fairchild   Hall.   It   contains chemistry    and    biology    classrooms    and    labs,    medical    and    dental    clinics,    and    civil    engineering    and    astronautics laboratories. The Cadet Area also contains an observatory and a planetarium for academic use and navigation training.   The   cadet   social   center   is   Arnold   Hall,   located   just   outside   the   Cadet   Area,   which   houses   a   3000-seat   theater,   a ballroom,   a   number   of   lounges,   and   dining   and   recreation   facilities   for   cadets   and   visitors.   Harmon   Hall   is   the   primary administration building, which houses the offices of the Superintendent and the Superintendent's staff. The   Cadet Area   also   contains   extensive   facilities   for   use   by   cadets   participating   in   intercollegiate   athletics,   intramural athletics,   physical   education   classes   and   other   physical   training.   Set   amid   numerous   outdoor   athletic   fields   are   the ‘‘Cadet   Gymnasium’‘   and   the   Cadet   Fieldhouse. The   Fieldhouse   is   the   home   to   Clune Arena,   the   ice   hockey   rink   and   an indoor   track,   which   doubles   as   an   indoor   practice   facility   for   a   number   of   sports.   Falcon   Stadium,   located   outside   of the Cadet Area, is the football field and site of the graduation ceremonies. COMMEMORATIVE DISPLAYS Many   displays   around   the   Cadet   Area   commemorate   heroes   and   air   power   pioneers,   and   serve   as   an   inspiration   to cadets.   The   ‘‘War   Memorial’‘,   a   black   marble   wall   located   just   under   the   flagpole   on   the   Terrazzo,   is   etched   with   the names   of   Academy   graduates   who   have   been   killed   in   combat.   The   ‘‘Honor   Wall,’‘   overlooking   the   Terrazzo,   is inscribed   with   the   Cadet   Honor   Code:   "We   will   not   lie,   steal,   or   cheat,   nor   tolerate   among   us   anyone   who   does."   Just under   the   Cadet   Chapel,   the   ‘‘Class   Wall’‘   bears   the   crests[dead   link]   of   each   of   the Academy's   graduating   classes. The crest   of   the   current   first   (senior)   class   is   displayed   in   the   center   position.   Another   display   often   used   as   a   symbol   of the   Academy,   the   ‘‘Eagle   and   Fledglings   Statue’‘   was   given   as   a   gift   to   the   Academy   in   1958   by   the   personnel   of   Air Training   Command.   It   contains   the   inscription   by Austin   Dusty   Miller,   "Man's   flight   through   life   is   sustained   by   the   power of   his   knowledge."   Static   air-   and   spacecraft   displays   on   the Academy   grounds   include   an   F-4,   F-15,   F-16   and   F-105   on the   Terrazzo;   a   B-52   by   the   North   Gate;   a   T-38   and   A-10   at   the   airfield;   an   F-100   by   the   preparatory   school;   a   SV-5J lifting   body   next   to   the   aeronautics   laboratory;   and   a   Minuteman   III   missile   in   front   of   the   Fieldhouse.   The   Minuteman III was removed in August 2008 due to rusting and other internal damage. The   ‘‘Core   Values   Ramp’‘   (formerly   known   as   the   ‘’Bring   Me   Men   Ramp’’)   leads   down   from   the   main   Terrazzo   level toward   the   parade   field.   On   in-processing   day,   new   cadets   arrive   at   the   base   of   the   ramp   and   start   their   transition   into military   and   Academy   life   by   ascending   the   ramp   to   the   Terrazzo.   From   1964   to   2004,   the   portal   at   the   base   of   the ramp   was   inscribed   with   the   words   ’’Bring   me   men...   ’’   taken   from   the   poem,   "The   Coming   American,"   by   Samuel Walter   Foss.   In   a   controversial   move   following   the   2003   sexual   assault   scandal,   the   words   "Bring   me   men..."   were   taken down   and   replaced   with   the   Academy's   (later   adopted   as   the   Air   Force's)   core   values:   "Integrity   first,   service   before self, and excellence in all we do." OTHER LOCATIONS ON CAMPUS Other   locations   on   campus   serve   support   roles   for   cadet   training   and   other   base   functions.   Doolittle   Hall   is   the headquarters   of   the   Academy's   Association   of   Graduates   and   also   serves   as   the   initial   reception   point   for   new   cadets arriving   for   Basic   Cadet Training.   It   is   named   after   General   Jimmy   Doolittle. The   Goldwater   Visitor   Center,   named   after longtime   proponent   of   the   Academy   United   States   Senator   Barry   Goldwater,   is   the   focal   point   for   family,   friends   and tourists   visiting   the Academy   grounds. The Academy Airfield   is   used   for   training   cadets   in   airmanship   courses,   including parachute   training,   soaring   and   powered   flight.   Interment   at   the   ’‘Academy   Cemetery’‘   is   limited   to   Academy   cadets and   graduates,   certain   senior   officers,   certain   Academy   staff   members,   and   certain   other   family   members.   Air   power notables Carl Spaatz, Curtis E. LeMay and Robin Olds, are interred here. The   United   States Air   Force Academy   Preparatory   School   (usually   referred   to   as   the   "Prep   School")   is   a   program   offered to   selected   individuals   who   were   not   able   to   obtain   appointments   directly   to   the   Academy.   The   program   involves intense   academic   preparation   (particularly   in   English,   math   and   science),   along   with   athletic   and   military   training, meant   to   prepare   the   students   for   appointment   to   the   Academy.   A   high   percentage   of   USAFA   Preparatory   School students (known as "Preppies") earn appointments to the Academy following their year at the Prep School. THE HONOR CODE AND CHARACTER EDUCATION The   Cadet   Honor   Code   is   the   cornerstone   of   a   cadet's   professional   training   and   development   –   the   minimum   standard of   ethical   conduct   that   cadets   expect   of   themselves   and   their   fellow   cadets.   The   Honor   Code   was   developed   and adopted   by   the   Class   of   1959,   the   first   class   to   graduate   from   the   Academy   and   has   been   handed   down   to   every subsequent class. The Code itself is simple:   We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.   In   1984,   the   Cadet   Wing   voted   to   add   an   "Honor   Oath,"   which   was   to   be   taken   by   all   cadets.   The   oath   is   administered to   fourth   class   cadets   (freshmen)   when   they   are   formally   accepted   into   the   Wing   at   the   conclusion   of   Basic   Cadet Training. The   oath   remains   unchanged   since   its   adoption   in   1984   and   consists   of   a   statement   of   the   code,   followed   by   a resolution to live honorably:   “We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.   Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and to live honorably, so help me God.” — "Honor Code Handbook" Cadets   are   considered   the   "guardians   and   stewards"   of   the   Code.   Cadet   honor   representatives   are   chosen   by   senior leadership,    and    oversee    the    honor    system    by    conducting    education    classes    and    investigating    suspected    honor violations.   Cadets   throughout   the   Wing   are   expected   to   sit   on   Honor   Boards   as   juries   that   determine   whether   their fellow   cadets   violated   the   code.   Cadets   also   recommend   sanctions   for   violations.   The   presumed   sanction   for   an   honor violation   is   dis-enrollment,   but   mitigating   factors   may   result   in   the   violator   being   placed   in   a   probationary   status   for some period of time. This "honor probation" is usually only reserved for cadets in their first two years at the Academy. To   reinforce   the   importance   of   honor,   character   and   integrity   to   future   officers,   cadets   are   given   an   extensive character   and   leadership   curriculum.   The   Academy's   Center   for   Character   and   Leadership   Development   provides classroom,   seminar,   workshop   and   experiential-based   learning   programs   to   all   cadets,   beginning   when   they   enter   Basic Cadet   Training   and   continuing   each   year   through   their   last   semester   at   the   Academy.   The   Center's   programs,   when coupled   with   the   Honor   Code   and   Honor   System,   establish   a   foundation   for   the   "leaders   of   character"   that   the Academy aspires to produce. ORGANIZATION The   Academy's   organization   is   unusual   in   a   number   of   respects.   Because   it   is   primarily   a   military   unit,   much   of   the Academy's   structure   is   set   up   like   that   of   any   other   Air   Force   Base.   This   is   particularly   true   of   the   non-cadet units—most   assigned   to   the   10th   Air   Base   Wing—that   provide   base   services   such   as   security,   communications,   and engineering.   Because   the   Academy   is   also   a   university,   however,   the   organization   of   the   faculty   and   the   Cadet   Wing have some aspects that are more similar to the faculty and student body at a civilian college. THE CADET WING The   student   body   of   the   Academy   is   known   as   the   Cadet   Wing.   The   students,   called   "cadets",   are   divided   into   four classes,   based   on   their   year   in   school,   much   like   a   civilian   college.   They   are   not   referred   to   as   freshmen,   sophomores, juniors   and   seniors,   however,   but   as   fourth-,   third-,   second-   and   first   class   cadets,   respectively.   Fourth   class   cadets (freshmen)   are   sometimes   referred   to   as   "doolies,"   a   term   derived   from   the   Greek   word   δουλος   ("doulos")   meaning "slave"   or   "servant."   Members   of   the   three   lower   classes   are   also   referred   to   as   "4   degrees,"   "3   degrees"   or   "2   degrees" based   on   their   class.   First-class   cadets   (seniors)   are   referred   to   as   "firsties."   In   the   military   structure   of   the   Cadet Wing,   first   class   cadets   hold   the   positions   of   cadet   officers,   second   class   cadets   act   as   the   cadet   non-commissioned officers and third class cadets represent the cadet junior non-commissioned officers. The   Cadet   Wing   is   divided   into   four   groups,   of   ten   cadet   squadrons   each.   Each   cadet   squadron   consists   of   about   110 cadets,    roughly    evenly    distributed    among    the    four    classes.    Selected    first-,    second-    and    third-class    cadets    hold leadership,   operational   and   support   jobs   at   the   squadron,   group   and   wing   levels.   Cadets   live,   march   and   eat   meals with   members   of   their   squadrons.   Military   training   and   intramural   athletics   are   conducted   by   squadron   as   well.   Each cadet   squadron   and   cadet   group   is   supervised   by   a   specially   selected   active   duty   officer   called   an   Air   Officer Commanding   (AOC).   In   the   case   of   a   cadet   squadron,   the   AOC   is   normally   an   active   duty   Air   Force   major.   For   a   cadet group,   the AOC   is   normally   an   active-duty   lieutenant   colonel.   These   officers   have   command   authority   over   the   cadets, counsel   cadets   on   leadership   and   military   career   issues,   oversee   military   training   and   serve   as   role   models   for   the future officers. BASE ORGANIZATION The   Superintendent   of   the   Academy   is   the   commander   and   senior   officer.   The   position   of   Superintendent   is   normally held   by   an   active-duty   lieutenant   general.   The   superintendent's   role   is   roughly   similar   to   that   of   the   president   of   a civilian   university.   As   such,   the   Superintendent   oversees   all   aspects   of   the   Academy,   including   military   training, academics,   athletics,   admissions   and   the   administration   of   the   base. The Academy   is   a   Direct   Reporting   Unit   within   the Air Force, so the Superintendent reports directly to the Air Force Chief of Staff. Those   reporting   to   the   Superintendent   include   the   Dean   of   the   Faculty   and   Commandant   of   Cadets,   each   of   whom typically   holds   the   rank   of   brigadier   general,   as   well   as   the   Director   of Athletics,   the   Commander   of   the   10th Air   Base Wing   and   the   Commander   of   the   Prep   School,   each   of   whom   typically   holds   the   rank   of   colonel   or,   in   the   case   of   the Athletic   Director,   a   senior   civilian   position.   The   10th   Air   Base   Wing   provides   all   base   support   functions   that   exist   at other    air    force    bases,    including    civil    engineering,    communications,    medical    support,    personnel,    administration, security   and   base   services.   The   Preparatory   School   provides   an   academic,   athletic   and   military   program   for   qualified young   men   and   women   who   may   need   certain   additional   preparation   prior   to   acceptance   to   the   Academy.   All   flying programs   at   the   Academy   are   run   by   the   306th   Flying   Training   Group,   which   reports   to   the   Air   Education   and   Training Command, ensuring uniformity of flight training with the rest of the Air Force. BOARD OF VISITORS Congressional   oversight   of   the   Academy   is   exercised   through   a   Board   of   Visitors,   established   under   Title   10,   United States   Code,   Section   9355. The   Board   inquires   into   the   morale,   discipline,   curriculum,   instruction,   physical   equipment, fiscal   affairs,   academic   methods   and   other   matters   relating   to   the   Academy.   The   Board   meets   at   least   four   times   per year   and   prepares   semi-annual   reports   containing   its   views   and   recommendations   submitted   concurrently   to   the Secretary   of   Defense,   the   Senate   Armed   Services   Committee,   and   the   House   Armed   Services   Committee.   The   15 members   of   the   board   are   variously   appointed   by   the   President   of   the   United   States,   the   Vice   President,   the   Senate and   House   Armed   Services   Committees   and   the   Speaker   of   the   House   of   Representatives.   Since   2006,   the   Board   has been   required   to   include   at   least   two   Academy   graduates.   In   July   2009,   Speaker   Nancy   Pelosi   appointed   Colorado Congressman Jared Polis to the BOV, the first openly gay person to serve on a service academy’s advisory board. MILITARY TRAINING Cadets'   military   training   occurs   throughout   their   time   at   the   Academy,   but   is   especially   intense   during   their   four summers.   The   first   military   experience   for   new   cadets   (called   "basic   cadets")   occurs   during   the   six   weeks   of   Basic Cadet   Training   (BCT),   in   the   summer   before   their   fourth   class   (freshman)   year.   During   BCT,   also   known   as   "beast," cadets   learn   the   fundamentals   of   military   and   Academy   life   under   the   leadership   of   a   cadre   of   first   and   second   class cadets.   Basic   cadets   learn   military   customs   and   courtesies,   proper   wear   of   the   uniform,   drill   and   ceremony,   and   study military   knowledge   and   undergo   a   rigorous   physical   training   program.   During   the   second   half   of   BCT,   basic   cadets march   to   Jacks   Valley,   where   they   complete   the   program   in   a   field   encampment   environment.   Upon   completion   of   BCT, basic   cadets   receive   their   fourth-class   shoulder   boards,   take   the   Honor   Oath   and   are   formally   accepted   as   members   of the Cadet Wing. The   fourth-class   (freshman)   year   is   traditionally   the   most   difficult   at   the   Academy,   militarily.   In   addition   to   their   full academic   course   loads,   heavy   demands   are   placed   on   fourth   class   cadets   outside   of   class.   Fourth   class   cadets   are expected   to   learn   an   extensive   amount   of   military   and   Academy-related   knowledge   and   have   significant   restrictions placed   on   their   movement   and   actions—traversing   the   Cadet   Area   only   by   approved   routes   (including   staying   on   the marble   "strips"   on   the Terrazzo)   and   interacting   with   upper   class   cadets   using   a   very   specific   decorum. The   fourth   class year   ends   with   "Recognition,"   a   physically   and   mentally   demanding   several-day   event   which   culminates   in   the   award   of the   Prop   and   Wings   insignia   to   the   fourth   class   cadets,   signifying   their   ascension   to   the   ranks   of   upper   class   cadets. After Recognition, the stringent rules of the fourth class year are relaxed. After   the   first   year,   cadets   have   more   options   for   summer   military   training.   Between   their   fourth   and   third   class   years, cadets   undergo   training   in   Air   Force   operations   in   a   deployed   environment   (called   "Global   Engagement")   and   may participate   in   flying   gliders   or   free-fall   parachute   training.   From   the   late   1960s   until   the   mid-1990s,   cadets   also completed   SERE   training   in   the   Jacks   Valley   complex   between   their   fourth-   and   third-class   years.   This   program   was replaced   with   Combat   Survival   Training   (CST)   in   1995   and   done   away   with   entirely   in   2005.   In   the   summer   of   2008,   the CST   program   was   reintroduced   and   now   includes   survival,   evasion,   and   resistance   training   portions.   During   their   last two   summers,   cadets   may   serve   as   BCT   cadre,   travel   to   active   duty   Air   Force   bases   and   participate   in   a   variety   of other   research,   aviation   and   leadership   programs.   They   may   also   be   able   to   take   courses   offered   by   other   military services,   such   as   the   U.S. Army's Airborne   School   at   Fort   Benning,   Georgia,   or   the Air Assault   School,   at   Fort   Campbell, Kentucky. During the academic year, all cadets take formal classes in military theory, operations and leadership. ACADEMICS The Air   Force Academy   is   an   accredited   four-year   university   offering   Bachelor's   degrees   in   a   variety   of   subjects. Active- duty   Air    Force    officers    make    up    approximately    70    percent    of    the    faculty,    with    the    balance    long-term    civilian professors,   visiting   professors   from   civilian   universities   and   instructors   from   other   U.   S.   and   allied   foreign   military services. In recent years, civilians have become a growing portion of senior faculty.   Every   Dean   of   the   Faculty   (equivalent   to   a   Provost   at   most   universities)   has   always   been   an   active-duty   brigadier general,    although    technically,    a    civilian    may    hold    the    position.   The    Dean,    the    Vice    Dean,    and    each    academic department   chair   hold   the   academic   rank   of   Permanent   Professor.   Permanent   Professors   are   nominated   by   the President of the United States and approved by the Senate, and can serve until age 64.   All   graduates   receive   a   Bachelor   of   Science   degree,   regardless   of   major,   because   of   the   technical   content   of   the   core requirements.   Cadets   may   choose   from   a   variety   of   majors,   including   engineering,   the   basic   sciences,   social   sciences and   humanities,   as   well   as   in   a   variety   of   divisional   or   inter-disciplinary   subjects.   The   academic   program   has   an extensive   core   curriculum,   in   which   all   cadets   take   required   courses   in   the   sciences,   engineering,   social   sciences, humanities,   military   studies   and   physical   education. Approximately   sixty   percent   of   a   cadet's   course   load   is   mandated by   the   core   curriculum.   As   a   result,   most   of   a   cadet's   first   two   years   are   spent   in   core   classes.   During   the   third   and fourth   years,   cadets   have   more   flexibility   to   focus   in   their   major   areas   of   study,   but   the   core   requirements   are   still significant.   Traditionally,   the   academic   program   at   the   Air   Force   Academy   (as   with   military   academies   in   general)   has   focused heavily   on   science   and   engineering,   with   the   idea   that   many   graduates   would   be   expected   to   manage   complex   air, space   and   information   technology   systems.   As   a   result,   the   Academy's   engineering   programs   have   traditionally   been ranked   highly.   Over   time,   however,   the   Academy   broadened   its   humanities   offerings.   About   55%   of   cadets   typically select majors in non-technical disciplines. Externally   funded   research   at   the   Air   Force   Academy   has   been   a   large   and   growing   part   of   the   technical   majors.   Air Force   has   ranked   highest   of   all   undergraduate-only   universities   in   federally   funded   research   as   reported   by   the National   Science   Foundation,   surpassing   $60   million   in   2010.   Many   cadets   are   involved   in   research   via   their   major, coordinated   in   more   than   a   dozen   Academy   research   centers,   including   the   Institute   for   Information   Technology Applications,   the   Institute   for   National   Security   Studies,   the Air   Force   Humanities   Institute,   the   Eisenhower   Center   for Space   and   Defense   Studies,   the   Life   Sciences   Research   Center,   the   Academy   Center   for   Physics   Education   Research, among others. ATHLETICS All   cadets   at   the   Academy   take   part   in   the   school's   extensive   athletic   program.   The   program   is   designed   to   enhance the   physical   conditioning   of   all   cadets,   to   develop   the   physical   skills   necessary   for   officership,   to   teach   leadership   in   a competitive   environment   and   to   build   character.   The   primary   elements   of   the   athletic   program   are   intercollegiate athletics, intramural athletics, physical education, and the physical fitness tests. PHYSICAL EDUCATION Cadets   are   required   to   take   physical   education   courses   in   each   of   their   four   years   at   the Academy.   The   classes   cover   a wide   range   of   activities:   Swimming   and   water   survival   build   confidence   while   teaching   important   survival   skills. Combative   sports   such   as   boxing,   wrestling,   judo   and   unarmed   combat   build   confidence,   teach   controlled   aggression and   develop   physical   fitness.   Cadets   also   take   classes   in   team   sports   such   as   basketball   and   soccer,   in   lifetime   sports such as tennis and golf and on the physiology of exercise. FITNESS TESTS Each   semester,   cadets   must   pass   two   athletic   fitness   tests:   a   1.5   mi   (2.4   km)   run   to   measure   aerobic   fitness,   and   a   15- minute,   5-event,   physical   fitness   test   consisting   of   pull-ups,   a   standing   long   jump,   sit-ups,   push-ups   and   a   600   yd   (550 m)   sprint.   Failure   to   pass   a   fitness   test   usually   results   in   the   cadet   being   assigned   to   reconditioning   until   he   can   pass the test. Repeated failures can lead to dis-enrollment. INTRAMURAL ATHLETICS All   cadets   are   expected   to   compete   in   intramural   athletics   for   their   entire   time   at   the   Academy,   unless   they   are   on- season   for   intercollegiate   athletics.   Intramural   sports   put   cadet   squadrons   against   one   another   in   many   sports, including   basketball,   cross-country,   flag   football,   ice   hockey,   racquetball,   flickerball,   rugby   union,   boxing,   soccer, mountain   biking,   softball,   team   handball,   tennis,   Ultimate,   wallyball   and   volleyball.   Winning   the   Wing   Championship   in a given sport is a particular source of pride for a cadet squadron.   INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS The   Academy's    intercollegiate    program    has    17    men's    and    10    women's    NCAA    sanctioned    teams,    nicknamed    the ‘‘Falcons.’‘Men's   teams   compete   in   football,   baseball,   basketball,   ice   hockey,   cross-country,   fencing,   golf,   gymnastics, indoor   and   outdoor   track,   lacrosse,   rifle,   soccer,   swimming   and   diving,   tennis,   water   polo   and   wrestling.   Women's teams   include   basketball,   cross-country,   fencing,   gymnastics,   indoor   and   outdoor   track,   swimming   and   diving,   soccer, tennis   and   volleyball.   In   addition,   the   Academy   also   sponsors   two   non-NCAA   programs:   cheerleading   and   boxing.   The Academy also has several club sports, such as rugby, that compete intercollegiately.   The   men's   and   women's   programs   compete   in   NCAA's   Division   I,   with   the   football   team   competing   in   Division   I   FBS.   Most teams    are    in    the    Mountain    West    Conference;    however,    the    wrestling    team    competes    in    the    Western    Wrestling Conference,   the   gymnastics   teams   compete   in   the   Mountain   Pacific   Sports   Federation;   the   men's   soccer   team   will move   from   the   MPSF   to   the   Western   Athletic   Conference   in   July   2013;   the   men's   hockey   team   competes   in   Atlantic Hockey   and   the   water   polo   team   competes   in   the   Western   Water   Polo Association.   The   men's   boxing   team   competes   in the   National   Collegiate   Boxing   Association.   The   men's   lacrosse   team   competes   in   the   ECAC   Lacrosse   League.   For   a number   of   years,   only   the   men's   teams   competed   in   Division   I.   Women's   teams   competed   in   Division   II   and   were   once members   of   the   Continental   Divide   Conference,   then   the   Colorado   Athletic   Conference.   With   new   NCAA   legislation, beginning in 1996, women's teams also competed in Division I. Air   Force   has   traditional   service   academy   rivalries   with   Navy   and   Army.   The   three   service   academies   compete   for   the Commander-in-Chief's   Trophy   in   football   each   year.   Air   Force   Falcons   football   has   had   the   best   showing   of   the   three, winning   the   trophy   18   of   its   34   years.   The Academy   also   has   an   in-state   rivalry   with   Colorado   State   University,   which   is located in Fort Collins and is a fellow member of the Mountain West Conference.   The   boxing   team,   led   for   31   years   by   Coach   Ed   Weichers,   has   won   18   national   championships. The Academy's   men's   and women's   rugby   teams   have   each   won   multiple   national   championships   and   the   women's   side   recently   had   two   players selected   for   the   United   States   national   team.   The   football   team   has   played   in   17   bowl   games   and   the   basketball   team has   had   strong   showings   in   the   last   several   years,   qualifying   for   the   NCAA   tournament   and,   most   recently,   making   the final   four   of   the   2007   NIT   Tournament.   The   men's   ice   hockey   team   won   the   last   two   Atlantic   Hockey   conference tournaments,   made   the   first   ever   appearance   by   a   service   academy   in   the   NCAA   hockey   tournament   in   2007,   and   made a   repeat   appearance   in   2008.   The Air   Force Academy's   Mens   Hockey   team   recently   lost   in   the   'Elite   Eight'   of   hockey   in double   overtime.   This   marked   the   farthest   they   had   gone   in   the   post-season   in   school   history   and   the   longest   an Atlantic Hockey Association team has made it into the post-season. ADMISSIONS To be eligible to enter the Academy, a candidate must:   Be a citizen of the United States (unless nominated by an official of a country invited by the Department of Defense) Be unmarried with no dependents Be of good moral character   Be at least 17, but less than 23 years of age by 1 July of the year of entry   Meet high leadership, academic, physical and medical standards   In   addition   to   the   normal   application   process,   all   candidates   must   secure   a   nomination   to   the Academy,   normally   from a   U.S.   Senator   or   U.S.   Representative.   Each   member   of   Congress   and   the   Vice   President   can   have   five   appointees attending   the Air   Force Academy   at   any   time.   The   process   for   obtaining   a   congressional   nomination   is   not   political   and candidates   do   not   have   to   know   their   senator   or   representative   to   secure   a   nomination. Additional   nomination   slots   are available   for   children   of   career   military   personnel,   children   of   disabled   veterans   or   veterans   who   were   killed   in   action, or   children   of   Medal   of   Honor   recipients.   The   admissions   process   is   a   lengthy   one   and   applicants   usually   begin   the paperwork during their junior year of high school. CLASS SIZE There   were   306   cadets   admitted   for   the   first   class   (class   of   1959).   By   1961,   class   size   was   down   to   271,   but   due   to   the need   for   officers   in   the   Vietnam   War,   grew   to   745   admittees   in   1970,   and   peaking   in   1974,   with   1620,   and   1975,   with 1,626,   the   largest   number   ever   admitted.   After   that   class   sizes   shrank   down   to   about   1,300.   Despite   a   peak   of   1,350 (admitted   2004)   and   1,418   (admitted   2005),   from   1995   to   2005   class   size   averaged   about   1,250   freshmen.   From   2005 to   2010   class   sizes   were   slightly   down   from   the   2005   peak.   The   2013   class   (beginning   2009)   had   1,286   and   the   2014 class   (beginning   Fall   2010)   had   1,285.   Cutbacks   were   ordered   in   2011,   so   by   2012,   the   entering   class   (class   of   2016) was down to about 1,050. TRADITIONS Prop and Wings The   Prop   and   Wings   insignia   of   the   Air   Service   (1918–26),   Air   Corps   (1926–41),   and   Army   Air   Forces   (1941–47)   became the   insignia   of   upperclass   cadets   at   the Air   Force Academy   beginning   with   the   first   class,   1959.   The   insignia   is   given   to fourth   class   (freshmen)   cadets   at   the   Recognition   Ceremony   near   the   end   of   their   first   year   rite   of   passage.   The standard   insignia   uses   the   design   of   the Air   Corps   Prop   and   Wings,   except   that   it   is   all   silver   instead   of   the   gold   wings and   silver   prop   of   the   earlier   design.   Cadets   who   have   ancestors   who   served   in   the   Air   Service,   Air   Corps,   or   Army   Air Forces,   or   those   who   are   direct   descendants   of   Air   Force   Academy   graduates,   are   eligible   to   wear   the   gold   wings   and silver prop design. Cadet Sabre The Air   Force Academy   cadet   sabre   is   carried   by   first   class   (senior)   cadets   in   command   positions   in   the   Cadet   Wing. All graduates   are   normally   entitled   to   own   no   more   than   two   sabres:   one   for   personal   use   and   one   to   be   given   as   a   gift. The Plaque and Sabre Award is the highest award given by the Cadet Wing to dignitaries and other honorees. Class Ring The American   college   tradition   of   the   class   ring   began   with   the   class   of   1835   at   the   U.   S.   Military Academy.   From   there, it   spread   to   the   U.   S.   Naval   Academy   in   the   class   of   1869.   The   Air   Force   Academy   continued   the   tradition,   beginning with   the   first   class,   1959,   and   so   is   the   only   service   academy   to   have   had   class   rings   for   every   class   since   its   founding. The Air   Force   ring   is   distinctive   for   being   white   gold   instead   of   the   yellow   gold   used   at   the   other   academies.   Each   class designs   its   own   class   crest;   the   only   requirements   being   that   each   crest   include   all   the   elements   on   the   Class   of   1959's crest:   the   class   number,   the   class   year,   the   Polaris   star,   and   the   eagle.   One   side   of   the   ring   bears   the   academy   crest, while   the   other   side   bears   the   class   crest;   the   center   bezel   bears   the   words   United   States   Air   Force   Academy.   Cadets choose   their   own   stones   for   the   center   of   the   ring.   The   rings   are   received   at   the   Ring   Dance   at   the   beginning   of   the Graduation   Week   festivities   for   the   class   ahead   of   the   ring   recipients.   The   rings   traditionally   are   placed   in   glasses   of champagne   and   are   caught   in   the   teeth   following   a   toast.   During   the   cadet's   first   class   (senior)   year,   the   ring   is   worn with   the   class   crest   facing   the   wearer;   following   graduation,   the   ring   is   turned   so   that   the   class   crest   faces   out.   The rings   of   all   the   academies   were   originally   designed   to   be   worn   on   the   left   hand,   so   that   the   wearer   reads   the   name   of the   academy   on   the   bezel   while   a   cadet   or   midshipman   and   others   can   read   it   after   graduation,   the   rings   are   now worn   on   either   hand.   The   Academy's   Association   of   Graduates   (AOG)   accepts   rings   of   deceased   graduates   which   are melted   down   to   form   an   ingot   of   white   gold   from   which   a   portion   of   all   future   rings   are   made.   Both   the   academy's Association of Graduates and the Academy Library maintain displays of class rings.
Cadets from the first AFA class lined up for physical training at Lowry AFB in 1955
Interior of Cadet Chapel
The Class Wall is located just below the Cadet Chapel
Cadets have the opportunity to fly gliders as part of their training
More than 1,300 basic cadets salute during the ceremonial Oath of Office formation on 26 June 2009. The Cadet Chapel is in the background.
Air Force Academy cadets celebrate after graduation.
Diamond Star “DA40” of USAFA at RIAT 2010
The Eagle and Fledglings Statue at the south end of the Air Gardens is inscribed with the quote, "Man's flight through life is sustained by the power of his knowledge"
AFA The Bird chute
Echo, one of USAFA's trained prairie falcon mascots
The United States Air Force Academy
Last Updated:  01/12/2018  06:46
Lowry AFB The History
The United States Air Force Academy
The   United   States   Air   Force   Academy   (USAFA   or   Air   Force)   is   a   military academy    for    officer    candidates    for    the    United    States   Air    Force.    Its campus   is   located   immediately   north   of   Colorado   Springs   in   El   Paso County,   Colorado,   United   States.   The   Academy's   stated   mission   is   "to educate,    train,    and    inspire    men    and    women    to    become    officers    of character,   motivated   to   lead   the   United   States Air   Force   in   service   to   our nation.   It   is   the   youngest   of   the   five   United   States   service   academies, having   graduated   its   first   class   in   1959.   Graduates   of   the Academy's   four- year     program     receive     a     Bachelor     of     Science     degree,     and     are commissioned   as   second   lieutenants   in   the   United   States   Air   Force.   The Academy    is    also    one    of    the    largest    tourist    attractions    in    Colorado, attracting more than a million visitors each year.   Candidates   for   admission   are   judged   on   their   academic   achievement, demonstrated   leadership,   athletics   and   character.   To   gain   admission, candidates   must   also   pass   a   fitness   test,   undergo   a   thorough   medical examination,   and   secure   a   nomination,   which   usually   comes   from   the member   of   Congress   in   the   candidate's   home   district.   Recent   incoming classes   have   had   about   1,200   cadets;   historically   just   under   1,000   of those   will   graduate.   Tuition   along   with   room   and   board   are   all   paid   for by   the   U.S.   government.   Cadets   receive   a   monthly   stipend,   but   incur   a commitment    to    serve    a    number    of    years    of    military    service    after graduation.   The   program   at   the   Academy   is   guided   by   the   Air   Force's   core   values   of "Integrity   First,   Service   Before   Self,   and   Excellence   in   All   We   Do,"   and based    on    four    "pillars    of    excellence":    military    training,    academics, athletics   and   character   development.   In   addition   to   a   rigorous   military training   regimen,   cadets   also   take   a   broad   academic   course   load   with   an extensive   core   curriculum   in   engineering,   humanities,   social   sciences, basic    sciences,    military    studies    and    physical    education.    All    cadets participate    in    either    intercollegiate    or    intramural    athletics,    and    a thorough    character    development    and    leadership    curriculum    provides cadets   a   basis   for   future   officership.   Each   of   the   components   of   the program   is   intended   to   give   cadets   the   skills   and   knowledge   that   they will need for success as officers. HISTORY ESTABLISHMENT Prior   to   the   Academy's   establishment,   air   power   advocates   had   been pushing   for   a   separate   air   force   academy   for   decades.   As   early   as   1918, Lieutenant    Colonel    A.J.    Hanlon    wrote,    "As    the    Military    and    Naval Academies    are    the    backbone    of    the    Army    and    Navy,    so    must    the Aeronautical   Academy   be   the   backbone   of   the   Air   Service.   No   service can    flourish    without    some    such    institution    to    inculcate    into    its embryonic    officers    love    of    country,    proper    conception    of    duty,    and highest   regard   for   honor."   Other   officials   expressed   similar   sentiments. In   1919,   Congressman   Charles   F.   Curry   introduced   legislation   providing for   an Academy,   but   concerns   about   cost,   curriculum   and   location   led   to its   demise.   In   1925,   air   power   pioneer   General   Billy   Mitchell   testified   on Capitol   Hill   that   it   was   necessary   "to   have   an   air   academy   to   form   a   basis for    the    permanent    backbone    of    your    air    service    and    to    attend    to the...organizational   part   of   it,   very   much   the   same   way   that   West   Point does    for    the   Army,    or    that   Annapolis    does    for    the    Navy."    Mitchell's arguments   did   not   gain   traction   with   legislators,   and   it   was   not   until   the late   1940s   that   the   concept   of   the   United   States   Air   Force   Academy began to take shape.   Support   for   an   air   academy   got   a   boost   with   the   National   Security Act   of 1947,   which   provided   for   the   establishment   of   a   separate   Air   Force within   the   United   States   military. As   an   initial   measure,   Secretary   of   the Air   Force   W.   Stuart   Symington   negotiated   an   agreement   where   up   to   25% of   West   Point   and   Annapolis   graduates   could   volunteer   to   receive   their commissions   in   the   newly   established   Air   Force.   This   was   only   intended to   be   a   short   term   fix,   however,   and   disagreements   between   the   services quickly    led    to    the    establishment    of    the    Service   Academy    Board    by Secretary    of    Defense    James    Forrestal.    In    January    1950,    the    Service Academy   Board,   headed   by   Dwight   D.   Eisenhower,   then   president   of Columbia   University,   concluded   that   the   needs   of   the Air   Force   could   not be   met   by   the   two   existing   U.S.   service   academies   and   that   an   air   force academy should be established. Following   the   recommendation   of   the   Board,   Congress   passed   legislation in    1954    to    begin    the    construction    of    the    Air    Force    Academy,    and President   Eisenhower   signed   it   into   law   on   1   April   of   that   year.   The legislation   established   an   advisory   commission   to   determine   the   site   of the   new   school.   Among   the   panel   members   were   Charles   Lindbergh, General   Carl   Spaatz,   and   Lieutenant   General   Hubert   R.   Harmon,   who later   became   the   Academy's   first   superintendent.   The   original   582   sites considered    were    winnowed    to    three:    Alton,    Illinois;    Lake    Geneva, Wisconsin;   and   the   ultimate   site   at   Colorado   Springs,   Colorado.   The Secretary   of   the Air   Force,   Harold   E. Talbott,   announced   the   winning   site on    24    June    1954.    Meanwhile,    Air    Training    Command    (ATC)    began developing a detailed curriculum for the Academy program. EARLY YEARS   Cadets from the first AFA class lined up    for physical training at Lowry AFB in 1955 The    early    Air    Force    Academy    leadership    faced    monumental    tasks, including   the   development   of   an   appropriate   curriculum,   establishment of   a   faculty,   design   of   a   distinctive   cadet   uniform,   oversight   of   the construction   of   the   permanent   site,   and   the   creation   of   a   structure   for military   and   flight   training.   To   establish   the   foundations   of   the Academy program,   officials   ultimately   drew   from   sources   within   the   Air   Force, from    West    Point    and    Annapolis,    and    occasionally    from    outside    the military entirely.   The   Academy's   permanent   site   had   not   yet   been   completed   when   the first   class   entered,   so   the   306   cadets   from   the   Class   of   1959   were   sworn in   at   a   temporary   site   at   Lowry   Air   Force   Base,   in   Denver   on   11   July 1955.   While   at   Lowry,   they   were   housed   in   renovated   World   War   II barracks.   There   were   no   upper   class   cadets   to   train   the   new   cadets,   so the   Air   Force   appointed   a   cadre   of   "Air   Training   Officers"   (ATOs)   to conduct   training.   The   ATOs   were   junior   officers,   many   of   whom   were graduates    of    West    Point,   Annapolis    and   The    Citadel.   They    acted    as surrogate   upper   class   cadets   until   the   upper   classes   could   be   populated over   the   next   several   years.   The   Academy's   dedication   ceremony   took place   on   that   first   day   and   was   broadcast   live   on   national   television, with   Walter   Cronkite   covering   the   event. Arnold   W.   Braswell,   a   native   of Minden,   Louisiana,   was   commander   of   the   original   four   cadet   squadrons at the academy 1955 to 1958.   In   developing   a   distinctive   uniform   for   cadets,   Secretary   of   the Air   Force Harold    Talbott    was    looking    for    "imagination"    in    the    design.    Talbott initially   used   military   tailors,   but   was   unhappy   with   their   products.   As   a result,   the   first   classes   of   cadets   wore   temporary   uniforms   while   the official    uniform    was    developed.    Secretary    Talbott    then    sought    out legendary   Hollywood   director   Cecil   B.   DeMille   for   help.   DeMille's   designs, especially   his   design   of   the   cadet   parade   uniform,   won   praise   from   Air Force   and   Academy   leadership,   were   ultimately   adopted,   and   are   still worn by cadets today.   The    Class    of    1959    established    many    other    important    traditions    that continue   until   the   present.   The   first   class   adopted   the   Cadet   Honor Code,   and   chose   the   falcon   as   the   Academy's   mascot.   In   1957,   the   Air Force    cadets    marched    in    the    Inaugural    Parade    of    President    Dwight Eisenhower   in   Washington,   D.C..   On   29   August   1958,   the   wing   of   1,145 cadets   moved   to   the   present   site   near   Colorado   Springs,   and   less   than   a year   later   the   Academy   received   accreditation.   The   first   USAFA   class graduated and was commissioned on 3 June 1959. VIETNAM The   Vietnam   War   was   the   first   war   in   which   Academy   graduates   fought and   died.   As   such,   it   had   a   profound   effect   on   the   development   of   the character   of   the   Academy.   Due   to   the   need   for   more   pilots,   Academy enrollment    grew    significantly    during    this    time.    The    size    of    the graduating   classes   went   from   217   cadets   in   1961   to   745   cadets   in   1970. Academy   facilities   were   likewise   expanded,   and   training   was   modified   to better   meet   the   needs   of   the   wartime   Air   Force.   The   Jacks   Valley   field training   area   was   added,   the   Survival,   Evasion,   Resistance   and   Escape (SERE)   program   was   expanded,   and   light   aircraft   training   started   in 1968. Many   Academy    graduates    of    this    era    served    with    distinction    in    the Vietnam   War.   F-4   Phantom   II   pilot   Steve   Ritchie   '64   and   F-4   Phantom   II weapon    systems    officer    Jeffrey    Feinstein    '68    each    became    aces    by downing    five    enemy    aircraft    in    combat.    One    hundred    forty-one graduates   died   in   the   conflict;   thirty-two   graduates   became   prisoners   of war.   Lance   Sijan,   '65,   fell   into   both   categories   and   became   the   first Academy   graduate   to   be   awarded   the   Medal   of   Honor   due   to   his   heroism while   evading   capture   and   in   captivity.   Sijan   Hall,   one   of   the   cadet dormitories, is named in his memory.   The   effects   of   the   anti-war   movement   were   felt   at   the Academy   as   well. Because   the   Academy   grounds   are   generally   open   to   the   public,   the Academy   often   became   a   site   for   protests   by   anti-war   demonstrators. Regular   demonstrations   were   held   at   the   Cadet   Chapel,   and   cadets   often became   the   targets   of   protesters'   insults.   Other   aggravating   factors   were the   presence   in   the   Cadet   Wing   of   cadets   motivated   to   attend   the Academy    for    reasons    of    draft    avoidance,    and    a    number    of    highly publicized     cheating     scandals.     Morale     sometimes     suffered     as     a consequence. WOMEN AT THE ACADEMY One   of   the   most   significant   events   in   the   history   of   the Academy   was   the admission    of    women.    On    7    October    1975,    President    Gerald    R.    Ford signed   legislation   permitting   women   to   enter   the   United   States   service academies.   On   26   June   1976,   157   women   entered   the Air   Force Academy with    the    Class    of    1980.    Because    there    were    no    female    upper    class cadets,   the   Air   Training   Officer   model   used   in   the   early   years   of   the Academy   was   revived,   and   fifteen   young   female   officers   were   brought   in to   help   with   the   integration   process.   The   female   cadets   were   initially segregated   from   the   rest   of   the   Cadet   Wing   but   were   fully   integrated into   their   assigned   squadrons   after   their   first   semester.   On   28   May   1980, 97   of   the   original   female   cadets   completed   the   program   and   graduated from   the   Academy—just   over   10%   of   the   graduating   class.   Women   have made   up   just   over   20%   of   the   most   recent   classes,   with   the   class   of   2016 having the highest proportion of any class, 25%. Many   of   the   women   from   those   early   classes   went   on   to   achieve   success within   the   Cadet   Wing   and   after   graduation.   Despite   these   successes, integration    issues    were    long    apparent.    Female    cadets    have    had consistently   higher   dropout   rates   than   men   and   have   left   the Air   Force   in higher   numbers   than   men.   Some   male   cadets   also   believed   that   the presence   of   women   had   softened   the   rigors   of   Academy   life   and   that women     received     special     treatment.     According     to     at     least     one commentator,   as   many   as   ten   percent   of   male Academy   graduates   in   the late   1970s   and   early   1980s   requested Army   commissions,   in   part   because of   controversy   over   such   issues.   The   Class   of   1979,   the   last   all-male class,   went   so   far   as   to   unofficially   label   themselves   "LCWB,"   or   "Last Class   With   Balls"   an   abbreviation   that   appeared   on   many   of   their   class- specific   items   and   still   appears   at   reunions,   sporting   events   and   other Academy alumni functions. CAMPUS AND FACILITIES                                                Cadet Chapel Interior The   campus   of   the   Academy   covers   18,500   acres   (73   km²)   on   the   east side    of    the    Rampart    Range    of    the    Rocky    Mountains,    just    north    of Colorado   Springs.   Its   altitude   is   normally   given   as   7,258   feet   (2,212   m) above   sea-level,   which   is   the   elevation   of   the   cadet   area.   The   Academy was   designed   by   Skidmore,   Owings   and   Merrill   (SOM)   and   lead   architect Walter   Netsch.   SOM   partner   John   O.   Merrill   moved   from   Chicago   to   a Colorado   Springs   field   office   to   oversee   the   construction   and   to   act   as   a spokesman for the project.   The   most   controversial   aspect   of   the   SOM-designed   Air   Force   Academy was   its   chapel.   It   was   designed   by   SOM   architect   Walter   Netsch,   who   at one   point   was   prepared   to   abandon   the   design;   but   the   accordion-like structure is acknowledged as an iconic symbol of the academy campus. THE CADET AREA The   buildings   in   the   Cadet   Area   were   designed   in   a   distinct,   modernist style,    and    make    extensive    use    of    aluminum    on    building    exteriors, suggesting   the   outer   skin   of   aircraft   or   spacecraft.   On   1 April   2004,   fifty years   after   Congress   authorized   the   building   of   the   Academy,   the   Cadet Area at the Academy was designated a National Historic Landmark.   The   main   buildings   in   the   Cadet   Area   are   set   around   a   large,   square pavilion   known   as   ‘‘the   Terrazzo’‘.   Most   recognizable   is   the   17-spired Cadet   Chapel.   The   subject   of   controversy   when   it   was   first   built,   it   is now    considered    among    the    most    prominent    examples    of    modern American    academic    architecture.    Other    buildings    on    the    Terrazzo include   Vandenberg   Hall   and   Sijan   Hall,   the   two   dormitories;   Mitchell Hall,   the   cadet   dining   facility;   and   Fairchild   Hall,   the   main   academic building,    which    houses    academic    classrooms,    laboratories,    research facilities, faculty offices and the Robert F. McDermott Library.   The Aeronautics   Research   Center   (also   known   as   the   "Aero   Lab")   contains numerous   aeronautical   research   facilities,   including   transonic,   subsonic, low   speed,   and   cascade   wind   tunnels;   engine   and   rocket   test   cells;   and simulators.   The   Consolidated   Education   and   Training   Facility   (CETF)   was built   in   1997   as   an   annex   to   Fairchild   Hall.   It   contains   chemistry   and biology    classrooms    and    labs,    medical    and    dental    clinics,    and    civil engineering   and   astronautics   laboratories.   The   Cadet   Area   also   contains an    observatory    and    a    planetarium    for    academic    use    and    navigation training.   The   cadet   social   center   is   Arnold   Hall,   located   just   outside   the   Cadet Area,    which    houses    a    3000-seat    theater,    a    ballroom,    a    number    of lounges,   and   dining   and   recreation   facilities   for   cadets   and   visitors. Harmon   Hall   is   the   primary   administration   building,   which   houses   the offices of the Superintendent and the Superintendent's staff. The    Cadet   Area    also    contains    extensive    facilities    for    use    by    cadets participating   in   intercollegiate   athletics,   intramural   athletics,   physical education    classes    and    other    physical    training.    Set    amid    numerous outdoor    athletic    fields    are    the    ‘‘Cadet    Gymnasium’‘    and    the    Cadet Fieldhouse.   The   Fieldhouse   is   the   home   to   Clune   Arena,   the   ice   hockey rink   and   an   indoor   track,   which   doubles   as   an   indoor   practice   facility   for a   number   of   sports.   Falcon   Stadium,   located   outside   of   the   Cadet   Area, is the football field and site of the graduation ceremonies. COMMEMORATIVE DISPLAYS The Class Wall is located just below the Cadet Chapel Many    displays    around    the    Cadet   Area    commemorate    heroes    and    air power    pioneers,    and    serve    as    an    inspiration    to    cadets.    The    ‘‘War Memorial’‘,   a   black   marble   wall   located   just   under   the   flagpole   on   the Terrazzo,   is   etched   with   the   names   of   Academy   graduates   who   have been   killed   in   combat.   The   ‘‘Honor   Wall,’‘   overlooking   the   Terrazzo,   is inscribed   with   the   Cadet   Honor   Code:   "We   will   not   lie,   steal,   or   cheat, nor   tolerate   among   us   anyone   who   does."   Just   under   the   Cadet   Chapel, the   ‘‘Class   Wall’‘   bears   the   crests[dead   link]   of   each   of   the   Academy's graduating    classes.    The    crest    of    the    current    first    (senior)    class    is displayed   in   the   center   position. Another   display   often   used   as   a   symbol of   the Academy,   the   ‘‘Eagle   and   Fledglings   Statue’‘   was   given   as   a   gift   to the   Academy   in   1958   by   the   personnel   of   Air   Training   Command.   It contains   the   inscription   by   Austin   Dusty   Miller,   "Man's   flight   through   life is   sustained   by   the   power   of   his   knowledge."   Static   air-   and   spacecraft displays   on   the Academy   grounds   include   an   F-4,   F-15,   F-16   and   F-105   on the   Terrazzo;   a   B-52   by   the   North   Gate;   a   T-38   and   A-10   at   the   airfield; an   F-100   by   the   preparatory   school;   a   SV-5J   lifting   body   next   to   the aeronautics    laboratory;    and    a    Minuteman    III    missile    in    front    of    the Fieldhouse.    The    Minuteman    III    was    removed    in   August    2008    due    to rusting and other internal damage. The   ‘‘Core   Values   Ramp’‘   (formerly   known   as   the   ‘’Bring   Me   Men   Ramp’’) leads   down   from   the   main   Terrazzo   level   toward   the   parade   field.   On   in- processing   day,   new   cadets   arrive   at   the   base   of   the   ramp   and   start   their transition   into   military   and   Academy   life   by   ascending   the   ramp   to   the Terrazzo.   From   1964   to   2004,   the   portal   at   the   base   of   the   ramp   was inscribed   with   the   words   ’’Bring   me   men...   ’’   taken   from   the   poem,   "The Coming   American,"    by    Samuel    Walter    Foss.    In    a    controversial    move following   the   2003   sexual   assault   scandal,   the   words   "Bring   me   men..." were   taken   down   and   replaced   with   the Academy's   (later   adopted   as   the Air    Force's)    core    values:    "Integrity    first,    service    before    self,    and excellence in all we do." OTHER LOCATIONS ON CAMPUS   Cadets have the opportunity to fly     gliders as part of their training Other   locations   on   campus   serve   support   roles   for   cadet   training   and other   base   functions.   Doolittle   Hall   is   the   headquarters   of   the Academy's Association   of   Graduates   and   also   serves   as   the   initial   reception   point for    new    cadets    arriving    for    Basic    Cadet   Training.    It    is    named    after General   Jimmy   Doolittle.   The   Goldwater   Visitor   Center,   named   after longtime    proponent    of    the    Academy    United    States    Senator    Barry Goldwater,   is   the   focal   point   for   family,   friends   and   tourists   visiting   the Academy   grounds.   The   Academy   Airfield   is   used   for   training   cadets   in airmanship   courses,   including   parachute   training,   soaring   and   powered flight.   Interment   at   the   ’‘Academy   Cemetery’‘   is   limited   to   Academy cadets   and   graduates,   certain   senior   officers,   certain   Academy   staff members,   and   certain   other   family   members.   Air   power   notables   Carl Spaatz, Curtis E. LeMay and Robin Olds, are interred here. The    United    States    Air    Force    Academy    Preparatory    School    (usually referred    to    as    the    "Prep    School")    is    a    program    offered    to    selected individuals   who   were   not   able   to   obtain   appointments   directly   to   the Academy.     The     program     involves     intense     academic     preparation (particularly    in    English,    math    and    science),    along    with    athletic    and military   training,   meant   to   prepare   the   students   for   appointment   to   the