United States Air Force Academy

United States Air Force Academy

The United States Air Force Academy - located in Colorado Springs, Colorado - is an accredited four-year university for the undergraduate education of future officers in the United States Air Force.Its mission is to inspire and develop outstanding young men and women to become Air Force officers with knowledge, character, and discipline; motivated to lead the world's greatest aerospace forc in service to the nation.The history of the Air Force Academy dates back to 1954, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill authorizing establishment of the academy. The first students were enrolled in July 1955, in a temporary building at Lowry Air Force Base, Denver.Even though, the construction of the present site was begun the same year, it would take another three years before the Cadet Wing could move into its permanent home. The first batch of students was graduated next year, in 1959.During the Vietnam War, the academy became the site for protests by anti-war demonstrators. During that war, 141 Air Force officers died, and 32 officers became prisoners of war.The first women to enter the rolls of the academy came in June 1976,when President Gerald R. Ford signed legislation Oct. 7, 1975, permitting women to enter the nation's military academies. They subsequently graduated in June 1980.The United States Air Force Academy campus spans an area of 18,500 acres on the east side of the Rampart Range of the Rocky Mountains. The academy was designed by the world-renowned architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill.The cadets were housed in two dormitories - Vandenberg Hall and Sijan Hall. McDermott Library.Mitchell Hall covers 1.7 acres of dining area and is named after airpower pioneer Brigadier General William "Billy" Mitchell. The auditorium, ballroom, conference rooms, restaurant, and historical displays are inside the Arnold Hall.In addition to the academic programs, the Air Force Academy also has athletic fields covering about 143 acres, which include 18 football fields, 13 soccer fields, and 10 flickerball fields.The Cadet Fieldhouse includes the Clune Arena, used for basketball, boxing, and public speaking events. The five-story tall Cadet gym contains three basketball courts, two pools, 19 racquetball courts, weight rooms, four tennis courts, and offices.The Cadet Chapel is generally considered to be among the most aesthetically beautiful buildings on the academy campus. The USAFA library system consists of the McDermott Library, the Base Library, a professional Medical Library, Audio-Visual Library, and departmental collections.The displays and memorials on campus include The War Memorial, The Honor Wall, The Class Wall, and The Eagle and Fledglings Statue.Other points of interest are Doolittle Hall - the headquarters of the USAFA Association of Graduates, Goldwater Visitors Center, Falcon Stadium - the home of Air Force Academy football, and the The United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School.The academy gives emphasis to academics, military training, athletic conditioning, and spiritual and ethical development. The cadets complete their bachelor's degrees in a variety of subjects including the basic sciences, engineering, humanities, social sciences, and military art and science. Along with it, the physical education program consists of mandatory courses and electives ranging from judo to SCUBA.Upon completion of the four-year program, graduates receive a Bachelor of Science degree and are normally commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the United States Air Force.


United States Air Force Academy

United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel Photo courtesy of USAFA

Born in the first decade of the Cold War, the United States Air Force Academy provided the new military service with a trained and educated officer corps at a time when national policy placed unprecedented emphasis on air power. Its campus, set in magnificent natural surroundings at the foot of the Rampart Range in Colorado, ranks among the finest examples of modern movement architecture commissioned by Federal agencies during the post-World War II era.

The United States reorganized its military under the National Security Act of 1947, establishing the Air Force as an independent service equal to the Army and Navy. In 1954, the Federal Government authorized the creation of the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) to serve as the primary undergraduate educational institution of that new service, it continues to serve as an important military educational institution today. It joined the other two major U.S. academies--the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, and the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland--as the nation’s undergraduate military schools.

Aerial view of the United States Air Force Academy campus Photo courtesy of USAFA, Special Collections

Following World War II, the United States entered into a 45-year confrontation with the Soviet Union known as the Cold War. Although it was the newest service, the Air Force emerged as the nation’s primary military arm, resulting in a major expansion of its ranks. The new service required an influx of officers, leading to the establishment of the USAFA. In the face of technological advances, including a burgeoning nuclear arsenal, the new service academy educated those officers for the increasingly complex demands of military leadership. In addition, it helped to define the Air Force's identity as distinct from the Army and Navy.

Built between 1958 and 1968, the campus was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), and broke from the traditions of West Point and Annapolis with its architectural vocabulary to become “the first U.S. national shrine to be designed in the modern style,” according to Architectural Forum magazine. Its buildings stirred a national debate in Congress, professional journals and the popular media during the early years of the Cold War. In a survey of federally-built architecture, Lois Craig declared, “Perhaps no architectural debate over government buildings in the 1950s equaled the discussion about the design of the new U.S. Air Force Academy.” The responses encapsulate many of the significant issues debated about architecture in the postwar era.

United States Air Force Academy campus Photo courtesy of USAFA

In particular, the Cadet Chapel is an exceptional example of postwar modern movement architecture. In the 1950s, while the United States engaged in the Cold War, American civil religion stood in contrast with “godless Communism.” Historian Sydney Ahlstrom remarked of the decade, “There seemed to be a consensus that personal religious faith was an essential element in proper patriotic commitment.” President Dwight Eisenhower summarized the non-sectarian attitude, stating, “Our government makes no sense unless it is founded on a deeply felt religious faith--and I don’t care what it is.” The Academy carefully embraced three major beliefs with distinct worship spaces in the chapel for Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, expanding in recent years to include Muslim, Buddhist and other faiths.

Visit the National Park Service Travel American Aviation to learn more about Aviation related Historic Sites.


List of United States Air Force Academy alumni

The United States Air Force Academy is an undergraduate college in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with the mission of educating and commissioning officers for the United States Air Force and United States Space Force. The Academy was established in 1954, entered its first class in 1955, and graduated its first class in 1959. All students hold the Air Force rank of "Cadet." [1] Sports media refer to the Academy as "Air Force" this usage is officially endorsed. [2] Most cadets are admitted through a congressional appointment system. [3] The curriculum is broad-based but has traditionally emphasized science and engineering. [4] Before the Academy's first graduating class in 1959, the United States Military Academy and United States Naval Academy were the primary sources of officers for the Air Force and its predecessors, the Army Air Corps and Army Air Forces. [ citation needed ] Though the primary focus of the Academy is for the Air Force and Space Force, some graduates are given the option of "cross-commissioning" into the United States Army, United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, or United States Coast Guard. [5]

This list is drawn from graduates, non-graduate former cadets, current cadets, and faculty of the Air Force Academy. Over 410 noted scholars from a variety of academic fields are Academy graduates, including: 41 Rhodes Scholars, 9 Marshall Scholars, 13 Harry S. Truman Scholars, 115 John F. Kennedy School of Government Scholars, and 31 Gerahart Scholars. [6] Additional notable graduates include 794 general officers, 164 graduates who were killed in combat, 36 repatriated prisoners of war, 1 Medal of Honor recipient, and 2 combat aces. [6] Thirty-nine Academy graduates have become astronauts, second among institutions of higher learning only to the United States Naval Academy with 52. [7]


What are the top 11 must-see attractions at the U.S. Air Force Academy?

Here are the top 11 must-sees for visitors. Click here for more details on these attractions.

  1. B-52 Display
  2. Cadet Field House/Falcon Athletic Center
  3. Academic Overlook
  4. Athletic Overlook
  5. Barry Goldwater Visitor Center
  6. Cadet Chapel - closed for renovation beginning September 4, 2019
  7. Chapel Overlook
  8. Arnold Hall
  9. Doolittle Hall
  10. Falcon Stadium
  11. Planetarium & STEM Center

Neurological and Learning Disorders

Seizure disorders (except febrile convulsions in childhood) and recurrent or severe headaches may be disqualifying, and waivable only be determined on a case-by-case basis. A history of learning disorders such as attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD) may only be considered for waiver if an applicant has demonstrated successful academic performance off stimulant medication or other treatment for at least 15 months and if no educational accommodations have been required.


This day in history, April 1: President Dwight D. Eisenhower establishes the United States Air Force Academy

Today is Thursday, April 1, the 91st day of 2021. There are 274 days left in the year. This is April Fool’s Day.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 1, 1954, the United States Air Force Academy was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In 1789, the U.S. House of Representatives held its first full meeting in New York Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania was elected the first House speaker.

In 1933, Nazi Germany staged a daylong national boycott of Jewish-owned businesses.

In 1945, American forces launched the amphibious invasion of Okinawa during World War II. (U.S. forces succeeded in capturing the Japanese island on June 22.)

In 1970, President Richard M. Nixon signed a measure banning cigarette advertising on radio and television, to take effect after Jan. 1, 1971.

In 1972, the first Major League Baseball players’ strike began it lasted 12 days.

In 1975, with Khmer Rouge guerrillas closing in, Cambodian President Lon Nol resigned and fled into exile, spending the rest of his life in the United States.

In 1976, Apple Computer was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne.

In 1977, the U.S. Senate followed the example of the House of Representatives by adopting, 86-9, a stringent code of ethics requiring full financial disclosure and limits on outside income.

In 1984, Marvin Gaye was shot to death by his father, Marvin Gay (correct), Sr. in Los Angeles, the day before the recording star’s 45th birthday. (The elder Gay pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and received probation.)

In 1987, in his first speech on the AIDS epidemic, President Ronald Reagan told doctors in Philadelphia, “We’ve declared AIDS public health enemy no. 1.”

In 1992, the National Hockey League Players’ Association went on its first-ever strike, which lasted 10 days.

In 2003, American troops entered a hospital in Nasiriyah (nah-sih-REE’-uh), Iraq, and rescued Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, who had been held prisoner since her unit was ambushed on March 23.

Ten years ago: Afghans angry over the burning of a Quran at a small Florida church stormed a U.N. compound in northern Afghanistan, killing seven foreigners, including four Nepalese guards.

Five years ago: World leaders ended a nuclear security summit in Washington by declaring progress in safeguarding nuclear materials sought by terrorists and wayward nations, even as President Barack Obama acknowledged the task was far from finished.

One year ago: President Donald Trump acknowledged that the federal stockpile of personal protective equipment used by doctors and nurses was nearly depleted, and he warned of some “horrific” days ahead for the country. Resisting calls to issue a national stay-at-home order, Trump said he wanted to give governors “flexibility” to respond to the coronavirus. Under growing pressure, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis joined his counterparts in more than 30 states in issuing a stay-at-home order. Navy officials struggling to quarantine crew members in the face of an outbreak on a U.S. aircraft carrier said nearly 3,000 sailors would be taken off of the USS Theodore Roosevelt in Guam. Grand Canyon National Park joined some other national parks in shutting down indefinitely in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. England’s Wimbledon tennis tournament was canceled for the first time since World War II.

Today’s birthdays: Actor Jane Powell is 92. Actor Don Hastings is 87. Actor Ali MacGraw is 82. R&B singer Rudolph Isley is 82. Reggae singer Jimmy Cliff is 73. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is 71. Rock musician Billy Currie (Ultravox) is 71. Actor Annette O’Toole is 69. Movie director Barry Sonnenfeld is 68. Singer Susan Boyle is 60. Actor Jose Zuniga is 59. Country singer Woody Lee is 53. Actor Jessica Collins is 50. Rapper-actor Method Man is 50. Movie directors Albert and Allen Hughes are 49. Political commentator Rachel Maddow is 48. Former tennis player Magdalena Maleeva is 46. Actor David Oyelowo (oh-YEHLOH’-oh) is 45. Actor JJ Field is 43. Singer Bijou Phillips is 41. Actor Sam Huntington is 39. Comedian-actor Taran Killam is 39. Actor Matt Lanter is 38. Actor Josh Zuckerman is 36. Country singer Hillary Scott (Lady A) is 35. Rock drummer Arejay Hale (Halestorm) is 34. Actor Asa Butterfield is 24. Actor Tyler Wladis is 11.

Journalism, it’s often said, is the first-draft of history. Check back each day for what’s new … and old.


Whether you live close by or on the other side of the country, there are many opportunities for families to get involved with the U.S. Air Force Academy and become part of our community. See how you can take a more active role in your cadet’s life while they are at the Academy.

From astronauts and athletes to industry leaders and American heroes, the U.S. Air Force Academy has produced many remarkable alumni who have gone on to make names for themselves in their respective fields. Learn more about these former cadets and the legacy of service they created that we all strive to emulate.


Today in History – August 29, 1958 – United States Air Force Academy opens in Colorado Springs

29 August 1958 – 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. [20] While at Lowry, they were housed in renovated World War II barracks. [21] 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, VMI, and The Citadel. They acted as surrogate upper-class cadets until the upper classes could be populated over the next several years. [14] The academy’s dedication ceremony took place on that first day and was broadcast live on national television, with Walter Cronkite covering the event. [14] Arnold W. Braswell, a native of Minden, Louisiana, was commander of the original four cadet squadrons at the academy 1955 to 1958. [22]

“I’m ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille!”

In developing a distinctive uniform for cadets, the Air Force turned to Hollywood. Famed director Cecil B. DeMille designed the cadet parade uniform it is still worn by cadets today. [23]

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. On 29 August 1958, the wing of 1,145 cadets moved to the present site near Colorado Springs, [24] and less than a year later the Academy received accreditation. The first USAFA class graduated and was commissioned on 3 June 1959. [9] [25]


  • Appointed: 1604 on Monday, June 23, 1980
  • Graduated: 1027 on Wednesday, May 30, 1984
  • Commissions:
  • USAF-1018
  • US Army-1
  • US Navy-1
  • US Marine Corps-2
  • Foreign-2
  • Not commissioned-3
  • Graduation Speaker:
  • Ronald Reagan, President of the United States
  • Presented Commissions:
  • Ronald Reagan, President of the United States
  • Presented Diplomas:
  • Ronald Reagan, President of the United States
  • Cadet Wing Commanders:
  • Timothy L. Saffold (Fall) David C. Johnson (Spring)
  • Scholarships:
  • Rhodes: Davison, Kenneth L. Jr. Guggenheim: Bowen, Britt R., Farquhar, Carl L., Green, Robert S., Wright, Robin A. JFK: Brandon, Brent D., Graffis, Judy M., Heien, Keith W., Rattray, Gregory J. Gerhart: Scanlon, Evelyn M. (Rodgers) Wolfe: Wynne, Leslie S. Hertz: Short, Christopher D. East-West: Hills, James W. III
  • All-Americans (sports):
  • Mark Bethea, Arnold Bunch, Carl Dieudonne, Marlow Martin, Mike Jensen (Boxing) John Owens, (Boxing, 3 time) Christopher Fisher (Boxing, 2 time) Mike Kirby (Football) Dan Rojas (Indoor Track) Eddie Norris (Pistol, 6 time) Brian Meier, Bradley Roberts (Pistol, 5 time) Heidi Croeber (Gymnastics) Gail Conway (Indoor Track) Gail Conway Outdoor Track, 5 time) Cathy Callaghan, Sharon Rucker (Outdoor track, 2 time) Karen Burton (Swimming, 16 times) Tiina Landschulz (Swimming, 5 time) Dana Strong (Swimming, 3 time) Mary Keller(Swimming) Linda Samuelson (Volleyball, 2 time) Cheryl Devita (Volleyball) Joy Meyen (Outdoor Track, 2 time)
  • Class Officers:
  • President: David C. Johnson Scribe: Mike Jensen

Class Motto: Custodes Libertatis (Wings To Soar)

Contributions of Graduates:


B. Alvin Drew, Astronaut (2000).

Gregory Johnson, Astronaut (2000).

Ted Sundquist named General Manager, Denver Broncos (2002).

Marty Louthan inducted into Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame (2016).

Michael Loh named Colorado Adjutant General and Commander of the Colorado National Guard (2017).

Rite Lane appointed to the Board of Directors of L3 Technologies (2018).

Scott Wachenheim named Head Football Coach at Virginia Military institute (2018).

Stephen Luxion named Director of the Mississippi Alliance for System Safety of UAS (2019).

Gregory Johnson joins the Board of Directors of the Armstrong Air and Space Museum Association in Wapakoneta, Ohio (2019).


Watch the video: What New Air Force Cadets Go Through On Day One At The Academy. Boot Camp