USAFA 60th Anniversary continues with April highlights

The following highlights are from 60 years of Air Force Academy history and were compiled by Steve Simon from Academy communications.

1 April 1954 -- President Eisenhower signs Public Law 325, Eighty-third Congress, Second Session, the legislation that establishes the Air Force Academy.

1 April 1958 -- The Department of Military History and Geography is renamed the Department of Geography.

1 April 1958 -- The Department of Astronautics is activated.

1 April 1959 -- The first Academy Assembly opens with 60 undergraduate representatives from 30 colleges.  The theme was "International Stability and Progress" and Paul H.Nitze,an expert on military power and strategic arms who later served as Deputy Secretary of Defense,delivered the keynote address.

1 April 1964 -- The sixth annual Air Force Academy Assembly begins.  Principal speakers include Secretary of the Air Force Eugene M. Zuckert and Mr. James E. Webb, Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

1 April 1974 -- The Air Force Academy Band is forced to reduce its size by 29 people, so the Drum and Bugle Corps is eliminated.

1 April 1979 -- CMSgt Ronald Miller becomes the Academy's fourth Cadet Wing Sergeant Major.

1 April 1993 -- The Senate Armed Services Committee proposes deactivating the three service academy bands.  Three months later, the United States Air Force Academy Band is assigned to Air Force Space Command and designated as the Band of the Rockies.

1 April 2004 -- In conjunction with the Academy's 50th "birthday,"the Academy's Cadet Area is designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior.  In addition, the U.S. Postal Service issues a commemorative 37-cent stamp featuring the Cadet Chapel.

1 April 2004 -- Lieutenant General Hubert R. Harmon is named "The Father of the U.S. Air Force Academy."

1 April 2004 -- The Friends of the Air Force Academy Library sponsors a gala in Doolittle Hall to celebrate the release of The Friends-sponsored DVD on the first 50 years of the Air Force Academy, Expect Great Things.  On hand were more than 200 guests.  Former Academy Superintendent Lieutenant General Brad Hosmer, Class of '59, introduced the showing of the DVD.

3 April 1892 -- Hubert R. Harmon, the "Father of the Air Force Academy" and its first Superintendent, is born in Chester, Pennsylvania.

3 April 1959 -- The Department of Aerodynamics announces that calibration had been started for the transonic wind tunnel; the tunnel was designed for pressure of 3000 pounds per square inch, allowing it to more closely simulate free flight conditions than most other tunnels of comparable size.

3 April 1963 -- The fifth annual Academy Assembly begins, with the  theme "Secretary of State."  Secretary of State Dean Rusk and General Ira C. Eaker attended the event.

4 April 1949 -- The Service Academy Board recommends the establishment of an air force academy.

4 April 1983 -- Karol Bobko, Class of '59, becomes the first Air Force Academy graduate in space, as pilot of the Challenger crew on mission STS-6.  This was the Challenger's maiden flight.

4 April 2002 -- The Academy begins hosting the three-day Former Superintendents Conference.  Four of the seven former superintendents attended the event, intended to provide the Superintendent with advice and opinions on key Academy issues, update the former superintendents on Academy issues and plans, and allow former superintendents to participate in Founders Day events.

5 April 2002 -- The Academy and the Association of Graduates present the first two Distinguished Graduate Awards.  The first recipients are General (Retired) Ron Fogleman, Class of '63, and Mr. Harry Pearce, Class of '64.The award honors graduates "whose lifetime of achievement is of such significance as to set them apart from their contemporaries."

5 April 2008 -- Cadet Ryan Mudry, Class of '09, receives recognition for his research into an implant device for glaucoma treatment at the 45th International Meeting of the Rocky Mountain Bioengineering Symposium.  Involved in research at the Academy's Life Sciences Research Center, he was the first undergraduate to receive the Program Chairman's Award for Excellence.

5 April 2010 -- Air Force Academy researcher Stefan Siegel forms Atargis, a wave-energy company launched from research in the Academy'sAeronautics Department.

6 April 1954 -- Secretary of the Air Force Harold E. Talbott establishes the Air Force Academy Site Selection Commission.

6 April 1954 -- The Department of the Air Force mails a form letter and questionnaire to all architectural firms that had expressed an interest in the academy project.

6 April 1967 -- A dedication ceremony isheld on the Terrazzofor the F-104 Starfighter, an aircraft retired from the flight test program at Edwards Air Force Base.  The aircraft remained on the Terrazzo until replaced by the F-15 in 1994.

6 April 1999 -- The Academy instruction establishing the Distinguished Graduate Award is issued.  The award honors a graduate "whose lifetime of achievement is of such significance as to set them apart from their contemporaries."  It has been presented to two graduates annually since 2002.

6 April 2000 -- Air Force hosts the three-day National Collegiate Boxing Association National Championships.  Twelve Air Force Academy boxers qualified for Nationals, and the team won the championship for the second consecutive year.

6 April 2008 -- First Lieutenant Prichard R. Keely, Class of '04, flies the mission for which he received the 2010 Colonel James Jabara Award for Airmanship.  LieutenantKeely, leadWeapon Systems Officer of an F-15E two-ship, distinguished himself through his heroic actions supporting United States and Afghan National Army ground forces in the Nuristan province of Afghanistan.

7 April 1956 -- The baseball program plays its first game, a 15-9 loss to Colorado Mines at Lowry Air Force Base.

7 April 1964 -- The 1964 National AAU Platform Diving Championships are held at the Academy.

7 April 2003 -- After providing close-air support of ground troops in Baghdad, the A-10 flown by Captain Kim Campbell, Class of '97, is struck by a surface-to-air missile.  Despite losing hydraulics, she was able to land safely in Kuwait.  She received the Distinguished Flying Cross for the mission.

8 April 1987 -- Dr. David MacIsaac from Airpower Research Institute presents the 30th Harmon Lecture, "Leadership in the Old Air Force: A Post-Graduate Assignment."

8 April 1995 -- Former President George H. W. Bush is presented the 1994 Thomas D. White Award during a visit to the Air Force Academy.  The award, established in 1962, is presented annually to a U.S. citizen who has contributed significantly to the national defense of the United States.

9 April 1964 -Headquarters Air Force approves the Academy'ssplit-curriculum concept, a program wherein each cadet would graduate with a major, the first in service academy history.

10 April 2000 -- Joe Scott is introduced as head coach of the men's basketball team.  Scott installs the Princeton offense and returns the program to winning form, highlighted by the Mountain West Conference Championship in 2004.

10 April 2003 -- The Special Collections Branch of the Air Force Academy Library is renamed the Lieutenant General A. P. Clark Special Collections Branch.

11 April 1977--The Academy's Wings of Blue parachute team beats the Army's Golden Knights in team accuracy for the first time ever at the U.S. National meet.

13 April 1984 -- Academy officials notify local media of a major honor investigation.  A Physics 411 exam had been compromised.  The incident resulted in an extensive review of the honor code.  The Superintendent, Lieutenant General Skip Scott,suspended the code and granted amnesty for a short period of time.  One result was that the Cadet Wing voted to add the Honor Oath.

14 April 1962-Four cadets perform their first skydives, setting in motion a process that would result in the establishment of the Academy's Wings of Blue parachute team.

14 April 1994 -- Second Lieutenant Laura Piper, Class of '92, becomes the first female graduate to die in a combat zone.  She was a passenger in a UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter on a diplomatic/humanitarian mission in the "No Fly" zone of northern Iraq that was shot down by two U.S. F-15C aircraft.Posthumously promoted to the grade of First Lieutenant, she was also the first female Academy graduate to receive the Purple Heart.

15 April 1965 -- The Academy hosts the first International Conference of Programming and Control.

15 April 1966 -- Vice President Hubert Humphrey begins a two-day visit to the Academy.  He also visited the Academy in January 1970.

15 April 2009 -- Captain Chesley Sullenberger, Class of '73,is presented with the 2009 Colonel James Jabara Award for Airmanship during a Terrazzo Parade. He was recognized for landing US Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson River on 15 January 2009.  He shared the 2009 Jabara Award with Captain Travis Burton, Class of '00.

16 April 1956 -- Architects present a full-size mockup of a cadet room to Air Force officials.

16 April 2009  --  The biography of Lieutenant General Hubert Harmon, Harmon: Airman, Officer, Father of the Air Force Academy by Phillip Meilinger, sponsored by The Friends of the Air Force Academy Library, is released.

17 April 2009 -- The General Hubert R. Harmon Memorial, a gift from the Class of '59 with support from the Air Training Officers and the Harmon family, is dedicated during '59's fifty-year reunion.  Due to blizzard conditions, the dedication takes place in Arnold Hall, after which most attendees braved the elements to visit the site.

19 April 2012 -- The Academy Cyber Competition Team wins the 2012 NSA Cyber Defense Exercise.  The cadet team not only defeated West Point, Annapolis and the Coast Guard Academy, but also scored higher than both teams from the Air Force Institute of Technology and one from the RoyalMilitary College of Canada.

19 April 2013 -- The AcademyCyber Competition Team wins the NSA interservice Cyber Defense Exercise forthe second year in a row.

20 April 2000 -- The Commandant of Cadets sponsors a Casual Day.  This was the first (and last?) time cadets were allowed to wear civilian clothes to class.  The casual day was to reward the Cadet Wing's outstanding performance during the semester and for its generosity in support of Wing Open Charities.

21 April 2003 -- Rhodes Scholar Bart Holaday, Class of '65, and his wife Lynn establish a scholarship to send cadets to Oxford University.  The Holaday Scholarship, named in honor of his mother, is awarded annually to the top-ranking Academy graduate who competes for but does not win a Rhodes Scholarship.

22 April 1968 -- With construction complete, the final acceptance and transfer of the Field House is made.

22 April 1993 -- The Recycling Center is opened just outside the South Gate.

22 April 2009 -- Astronaut and former United States Senator John Glenn is presented the 2008 Thomas D. White Award.   The award, established in 1962, is presented annually to a U.S. citizen who has contributed significantly to the national defense of the United States.

22 April 2012 -- The Academy Cyber Competition Team places second in theNational Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.

23 April 1966 -- Captain Robert Blake, Class of '59, becomes the first graduate to shoot down an enemy aircraft in aerial combat.  He destroyed a MiG-17 while flying an F-4C north of Hanoi.

23 April 1979 -- Former President Gerald R. Ford begins a four-day visit to the Academy, during which he teaches political science classes and addresses the entire Cadet Wing in the Field House as part of the Academy's 25-year commemorative activities.  The topic of his address was "The Role of the Military Officer in our Government System."

24 April 1959 -- The Academy receives academic accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, becoming the only school ever accredited before graduating even one class.

25 April 1986 -- The Academy Department of History and the Rocky Mountain Regional World History Association co-sponsor a two- day teaching conference on "Africa in World History."

26 April 1976 -- CMSgt Joseph McBrearty becomes the Academy's third Cadet Wing Sergeant Major.

27 April 1995 --  Secretary of the Air Force Sheila Widnall and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Ron Fogleman, Class of '63, announce that the resistance and escape components of the former SERE program were being discontinued, effective immediately.

27 April 2006 --  Music group Mannheim Steamroller performs at Arnold Hall.

28 April 1989  --  The Department of English hosts science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, author of such works as "The Martian Chronicles," "The Illustrated Man," "Fahrenheit 451" and "Something Wicked This Way Comes."

28 April 2005 -- Second Lieutenant Delavane Diaz, Class of '04, receives the 2004 Cadet of the Year award at a Pentagon ceremony.  The Air Force-level award recognizes the most outstanding cadet in an Air Force commissioning program.

29 April 1945 -- Lieutenant Colonel Albert Patton Clark, who would serve as the Academy's Superintendent from 1970 to 1974, is liberated from the prisoner of war camp at Mooseburg in Bavaria, Germany.  He had been shot down over France while flying a Spitfire and was imprisoned by the Germans in StalagLuft III.  During his thirty-three months of imprisonment, he directed security activities in preparation for The Great Escape, an operation immortalized in the1963 movie starring Steve McQueen.

29 April 1955 -- The Superintendent, Lieutenant General Hubert Harmon, approves the proposed Academy curriculum comprised of 80 semesters hours in Social Sciences/Humanities, 63 2/3 in Sciences, and 9 5/6 in physical training/ navigation/military training.

29 April 1979 -- The Silver Anniversary Dinner and Ball takes place.  Entertainer Arthur Godfrey emceed the Mitchell Hall dinner.

29 April 1985 -- Fred Gregory, Class of '64, becomes the first African-American to pilot the space shuttle, as a member of the Challenger crewon mission STS-51B.

29 April 1990 -- The Holocaust Torah Scroll is presented to the Air Force Academy Jewish Cadet Chapel for display as a memorial to the six million people who were murdered by the Nazis and as a thank you to the United States for our role in helping the Polish people escape the Nazis.

30 April 1975 -- The city of Saigon falls, marking the beginning of the end of the Vietnam War, a conflict that took the lives of 141 Academy graduates.

30 April 2004 -- The Colonel James Jabara statue is dedicated.  The statue was sculpted by John Doubleday and is displayed near Arnold Hall.

30 April 2008 -- Officials with the Air Force Academy, developer Forest City-Hunt, and Colorado Springs cut the ribbon on several extensively renovated homes located in the Douglass Valley neighborhood.

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