THIS DAY IN AIR FORCE ACADEMY HISTORY - JULY
STEVEN A. SIMON, USAFA '77
ACADEMY DEVELOPMENT AND ALUMNI PROGRAMS OFFICE
1954 -- Noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright visits the Academy site. He was a partner in Kittyhawk Associates, one
of the groups that bid unsuccessfully on the project, and later was a
vociferous critic of the final design by the victorious firm, Skidmore, Owings
1 July 1957 -- Seventy-five cadets from the Class of '59 arrive in Germany to tour European bases for three weeks.
1 July 1959 -- The Department of Physical Education is transferred from the office of the Commandant of Cadets to the Department of Athletics, by direction of the Superintendent, Major General James Briggs.
1 July 1960 -- The Monument Valley Freeway, now I-25, opens, easing access to Colorado Springs from the Academy.
1 July 1963 -- The Academy Council is created as the primary management tool. It consisted of the Dean of the Faculty, Commandant of Cadets, Director of Athletics, Cadet Registrar, and Chief of Staff, with the Superintendent as Chairman.
1 July 1965 -- The Academy conducts a change-of-command ceremony, at which Lieutenant General Thomas Moorman becomes the Academy's fifth Superintendent. Major General Robert Warren, the previous Superintendent, was reassigned to Air Force Systems Command.
1 July 1974 -- The Class of '78, consisting of 1,630 appointees, reports to the Academy for in-processing. This is the largest entering class in Academy history.
1 July 1979 -- The Military Order of Merit (MOM) is replaced by the Military Performance Average (MPA).
1 July 1979 -- The Department of Civil Engineering, Engineering Mechanics, and Materials is reorganized into two departments: The Department of Civil Engineering and the Department of Engineering Mechanics.
1 July 1980 -- Headquarters USAF authorizes the merging of the Air Force Academy Liaison and AFROTC programs.
1 July 1980 -- The Air Force Academy joins the Western Athletic Conference, the first time a service academy is affiliated with a collegiate athletic conference. Academy women's teams received waivers from the WAC and the NCAA to continue at the Division II level until the end of the 1995-1996 season, when all women's teams moved to Division I.
1 July 1981 -- Groundbreaking for the $4.5 million expansion of the Cadet Library takes place.
1 July 1982 -- General Charles Gabriel, who as a captain had served on the original Academy cadre as an Air Officer Commanding, becomes the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
1 July 1990 -- General Michael J. Dugan, who had served at the Academy from 1967 until 1972, becomes the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
1 July 1990 -- The Academy becomes a member of the Colorado Athletic Conference for its women's intercollegiate athletic programs.
1 July 1993 -- Control of the 557th Flying Training Squadron is transferred to Air Education and Training Command, though the flying operations remain at the Academy.
1 July 1993 -- The United States Air Force Academy Band is reassigned to Air Force Space Command and renamed "The Band of the Rockies." The Band remained at the Academy until space for the band was completed at Peterson Air Force Base in February 1997.
1 July 1994 -- The in-processing of new cadets takes place in Doolittle Hall for the first time. Before this change, incoming appointees reported directly to the base of the ramp in between Fairchild and Vandenberg Halls. Every in-processing since has started at Doolittle Hall, with the exception of 2012, when it was moved to the Field House due to the Waldo Canyon Fire.
1 July 1996 -- After receiving waivers for several years that allowed Academy women's teams to compete at the Division II level, the programs were moved to Division I.
1 July 1998 -- Brigadier General David Wagie, Class of '72, becomes Dean of the Faculty, taking over from Brigadier General Ruben Cubero, Class of '61.
1 July 1999 -- The Academy becomes a charter member of the Mountain West Conference.
1 July 2008 -- The Friends of the Air Force Academy Library's comprehensive Memorial Wall project is opened on the Friends website. This project includes more than 40,000 pages of information on graduates whose names appear on the Memorial Wall.
1 July 2008 -- Anthony Aretz, Class of '80, assumes the presidency of the College of Mount Saint Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1 July 2013 -- The Air Force Academy Athletic Corporation (AFAAC) is established. The AFAAC generates revenue to support Air Force intercollegiate athletics and promotes the Air Force Academy to the nation through athletics. As part of the transition, the Athletic Department's non-appropriated fund instrumentality (NAFI) was dissolved, and the 83 NAFI employees were retired or separated. Many of them then joined the AFAAC staff.
2 July 1926 -- Congress passes the Army Air Corps Act. The law changed the name of the air service and provided for an Assistant Secretary of War of Air. This was another step toward a separate service, and then a separate academy.
2 July 2010 -- Captain David Wisniewski, Class of '02, dies of injuries suffered on 9 June 2010 during Operation Enduring Freedom when the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter he was piloting was shot down as the crew prepared to evacuate wounded British troops near Forward Operating Base Jackson, Afghanistan. Four airmen were killed and three others wounded, including Wisniewski. He died at Bethesda Naval Hospital, Maryland. His name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
3 July 1963 -- Special Order G-53, officially designating the Academy golf course as the "Eisenhower Golf Course" is signed by Major James Hargeaves, Director of Administrative Services, USAFA.
3 July 1980 -- Glacier, a white phase gyrfalcon, is taken from its nest in the Seward Peninsula, Alaska, by an Academy-sponsored search team led by Dr. James Enderson. Glacier, who served at the Academy until its death in 1995, is on display in the Field House concourse.
3 July 1983 -- Two world records are set on the Academy track during the National Sports Festival (an Olympic-type event). In a span of 15 minutes, Evelyn Ashford and Calvin Smith broke the world records in 100-meter dashes. This was the first time that the two 100-meter records had fallen in the same day.
3 July 1989 -- The P-51 Mustang statue is dedicated. The memorial, sculpted by Robert Henderson and displayed on the Honor Court, was donated by the P-51 Mustang Pilots Association.
3 July 1997 -- The base paper undergoes its second name change, from The Falcon Flyer to The Academy Spirit. The Director of Public Affairs, Lieutenant Colonel Doug McCoy, wrote the cover story. In it, he said the Falcon Flyer name didn't evoke thoughts of the Air Force Academy, with readers thinking it was the paper of the Falcon School District or Falcon Air Force Base. The new name, he said, is identifiable and "represents who and what we are."
4 July 1986 -- The Cadet Chorale sings at the Statue of Liberty Rededication Ceremonies held at Liberty State Park, New Jersey.
6 July 1975 -- The Convair T-29 Samaritan ("Flying Classroom"), used as a navigation trainer at the Academy since 1955, is replaced by the Boeing T43A Gator (as in "navigator").
6 July 1985 -- Members of the Class of '89 begin their cadet careers with in-processing at Doolittle Hall. The Class was the first to participate in the Life Membership at Grad (LMAG) program initiated by the Association of Graduates (AOG). LMAG allows cadets to pay dues throughout their cadet careers and graduate with a paid-up life membership in the AOG.
7 July 1955 -- Architect Frank Lloyd Wright testifies to Congress in opposition to the Skidmore, Owings and Merrill design for the new Air Force Academy. Mr. Wright had been a partner in Kittyhawk Associates, one of the consortiums that did not win the contract. He called the design a "shocking fiasco," "half baked," and "a glassified box on stilts," among other things.
7 July 1965 -- Captain Thomas Sanders, Class of '61, is killed when the O-1F aircraft he was piloting crashes on takeoff from Camp Holloway near Pleiku, South Vietnam. He was recovered unconscious from the wreckage, but died en route to the field hospital without gaining consciousness. His name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
7 July 2006 -- Air Force men's gymnastics coach Kip Simons is inducted into the Ohio State University Athletics Hall of Fame. He was a four-time All-Big Ten honoree and conference champion, and two-time All-American. He represented the United States at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
8 July 1954 -- The academy selection board begins interviewing representatives of eight firms that had expressed an interest in the academy project. These sessions took place in the Pentagon.
8 July 1954 -- Approximately 50 Colorado businessmen attend a luncheon at the Broadmoor Hotel to form an organization to be known as the Air Academy in Colorado Foundation, Inc. A news story covering the event stated the group was being formed "to assist the federal government in any way that may develop in the establishment of the multi-million dollar Air Force Academy 10 miles north of Colorado Springs."
8 July 1963 -- Former President Dwight Eisenhower personally dedicates the Academy's Eisenhower Golf Course's Blue Course by hitting a tee shot off the Number 1 tee. The driver used by General Eisenhower is displayed in the Eisenhower Room of the clubhouse.
8 July 1972 -- Steve Ritchie, Class of '64, shoots down two MiG-21s, his third and fourth kills en route to becoming the first Air Force Academy graduate pilot ace. He was the Air Force's only pilot ace of the Vietnam War.
8 July 1994 -- Lieutenant General Paul Stein, Class of '66, becomes the Academy's thirteenth Superintendent (and second Academy graduate Superintendent), succeeding Lieutenant General Bradley Hosmer, Class of '59 (the first Academy grad Superintendent).
9 July 1955 -- The Thunderbirds (U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron) makes its first Air Force Academy-related flight, at Lowry AFB, Colorado. The team also flew the next day at the Pikes Peak Air Rodeo, and on 11 July 1955 at the Academy dedication ceremony.
9 July 1962 -- Major General Robert Warren succeeds Major General William Stone as the Academy Superintendent. General Warren was the fourth Superintendent.
9 July 1963 -- Construction of the Cadet Chapel is declared "essentially completed." The building would be dedicated in September.
9 July 1989 -- Brigadier General Joseph Redden, Class of '64, becomes the Academy's 15th Commandant of Cadets.
9 July 2003 -- Lieutenant General John Rosa Jr. becomes the Academy's fifteenth Superintendent.
9 July 2010 -- Brigadier General Richard Clark, Class of '86, becomes the first African-American Commandant of Cadets.
10 July 1960 -- Major General William Stone, Air Force Academy Superintendent, receives The Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant, one of Thailand's highest military decorations, from King Bhumibol.
11 July 1955 -- The first class, consisting of 306 young men, begins training at Lowry AFB site in Denver. Valmore Bourque was the first cadet sworn in (and in 1964 became the first graduate killed in combat). The dedication ceremony was covered live on television with Walter Cronkite reporting.
12 July 1955 -- Responding to public criticism of the Academy design, the House Appropriations Committee announces it would withhold funds for the Academy "until the design is more firmly established."
12 July 1967 -- Captain Charles Moore, Class of '62, is killed when his F-100D is hit by automatic weapons fire, catches fire and crashes. He had been making his first run over suspected military buildings about 15 miles south of Saigon. His name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
12 July 1975 -- First Lieutenant Dean Kinder, Class of '73, a faculty member, is killed in the crash of a single-engine Cessna 150 aircraft near Monument, Colorado.
12 July 1997 -- The Superintendent, Lieutenant General Paul Stein, Class of '66, receives the Order of the Sword. The Order of the Sword is presented by enlisted members to an officer who they feel epitomizes officership.
12 July 2009 -- The Academy's Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) program begins. Four cadets were hand-picked to serve as the first cadre in the program. They spent time at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, home to the MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle. The Academy was the first service academy to begin a UAS program.
13 July 1983 -- Colonel Ervin Rokke, Class of '62, who had become the first Air Force Academy graduate to serve as Dean of the Faculty on 1 July, is promoted to Brigadier General. He had also been the first Air Force Academy graduate to be appointed a permanent professor.
14 July 1954 -- A non-profit corporation, "The Air Academy in Colorado Foundation, Incorporated," is incorporated in Colorado Springs. The purpose of the foundation was to "Assist and contribute to the establishment, maintenance, growth, and development of the United States Air Force Academy . . . .".
14 July 1969 -- Six cadets from the Ecole de l'Air, the French Air Force Academy, arrive at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and nine USAFA cadets depart to spend a semester at the Ecole de l'Air. They are the first cadets to study as part of a semester-long international exchange program.
15 July 1954 -- At a board meeting of the Air Academy in Colorado Foundation, Inc., the board is expanded to include Governor Dan Thornton and others. In addition, it was resolved the Secretary of the Air Force, Harold E. Talbott, be elected a board member and named honorary chairman.
15 July 1955 -- The American Institute of Architects weighs in on the on-going controversy over the Academy design, defending the architects and urging that the project go forward as designed.
17 July 1955 -- The Academy's first worship service is held at the Academy's temporary site at Lowry AFB, Colorado.
17 July 1982 -- At a special meeting of the Board of the Falcon Foundation, the newly-elected President, Lieutenant General (Retired) Ben Bellis, is directed to move the offices to Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Foundation had been based in Dallas since its 1958 incorporation. The move to Colorado Springs took place later that year.
17 July 2006 -- Brigadier General Suzanne Vautrinot, Class of '82, assumes command of the Air Force Recruiting Service at a Randolph Air Force Base ceremony. In doing so, she became the first female to lead Air Force recruiting in the service's 52-year history.
17 July 2009 -- The Child Development Center (CDC) is named for Donna Head. Mrs. Head, the Chief of Family Member Programs, including oversight of the CDC, the Youth Center, Youth Sports, Family Child Care, and Part Day Enrichment Programs, died in December 2007 after being struck by a vehicle on Academy grounds.
17 July 2009 -- Captain Mark McDowell, Class of '05, is killed during Operation Enduring Freedom when his F-15E went down after flying for several hours in support of ground troops in the Nawur district, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. His name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
18 July 1976 -- Bob Nieman, Class of '70, becomes the first Academy graduate to compete in the Olympic Games. He competed in the Modern Pentathlon in Montreal, Canada, finishing 26th in the individual standings and fifth in the team event. He also competed in the 1988 Olympic Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea, 18-22 September 1988.
18 July 2006 -- Colonel (Dr.) John Putnam becomes the first medical entomologist to chair the Department of Biology. Medical entomology is the study of insects, spiders, ticks, and mites, collectively referred to as arthropods, and the diseases they transmit.
19 July 1954 -- General Hubert Harmon recommends Lowry Air Force Base, Denver, as the temporary home of the Air Force Academy. On the same day, Secretary of the Air Force Harold E. Talbott makes it official.
19 July 1971 -- Chemistry Professors Lieutenant Colonel Lowell King and Major David Seegmiller are awarded a 1970 Air Force Research and Development Award for creating a battery which produced more energy and was more practical than existing battery power systems.
20 July 1969 -- The Apollo 11 lunar mission puts the first men on the moon. Approximately six hours after landing, Colonel Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin becomes the second man to walk on the moon. In 1955 and 1956, as a First Lieutenant, he had been a member of the original Academy cadre at Lowry Air Force Base, serving as Aide to the Dean off the Faculty.
20 July 1999 -- Construction is officially completed for the Rampart Lodge's 20-room, four-building Temporary Lodging Facilities complex, Buildings 6260-6263.
21 July 1921 -- Army Brigadier General Billy Mitchell, namesake of the Academy cadet dining hall, conducts a test in which bombers sink the captured German battleship Ostfriesland off the coast of Virginia. This success further demonstrated the value of air power and eventually led to the establishment of the Air Force, and then it's Academy.
21 July 1986 -- The Department of Economics and the Office of Geography are joined into a single unit, the Department of Economics and Geography.
21 July 1997 -- Work begins on the mural on display in the Field House over the track area. The project, depicting Academy life in all four seasons, was commissioned by the Class of '76. The artist, Michael Esch, completed the project in October 1997. At 40 feet by 320 feet, it is one of the largest permanently hung murals in the world.
21 July 2011 -- The Space Shuttle Atlantis lands at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, concluding the final flight in the Space Transportation System program that consisted of 135 missions over thirty years. Thirty-six Air Force Academy graduates flew aboard missions on NASA's space shuttle fleet -- Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour.
22 July 1954 -- Brigadier General Don Zimmerman becomes the first Dean of the Faculty.
22 July 1975 -- Brigadier General Stanley Beck replaces Brigadier General Hoyt S. Vandenberg Jr. to become the ninth Commandant of Cadets.
22 July 1976 -- Captain Phil Boggs, then a staff officer at the Academy, wins the men's three meter springboard title at the Olympic Summer Games in Montreal, Canada.
22 July 1976 -- Casey Converse, who would go on to a long and successful coaching career at the Academy, swims the 400 freestyle at the Olympic Summer Games in Montreal, Canada.
22 July 2011 -- The Holaday Athletic Center is dedicated. The 92,000 square foot facility cost $15.5 million, entirely provided through private donations. This was the first major project for the USAFA Endowment, a fund-raising foundation established in 2007.
23 July 1954 -- The architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill is awarded the contract to design and built the Air Force Academy. Walter Andrew Netsch Jr., age 34, was lead architect of the project.
23 July 1955 -- The Senate votes to restore $79 million in funding to the academy project that had been withheld pending architectural revisions. Given continuing concerns over the design, the amount was reduced to $20 million three days later in a conference committee.
23 July 1972 -- First Lieutenant Stephen Gravrock, Class of '70, is killed during a dusk ground support mission near An Loc, South Vietnam, when the A-37 aircraft he was piloting was struck by hostile ground fire and crashed. His name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
23 July 1973 -- Aviation pioneer, World War I fighter ace, and Medal of Honor recipient Eddie Rickenbacker passes away. He had visited the Academy on at least two occasions, in 1967 and January 1969. The Class of '04 chose him as its exemplar.
23 July 2006 -- Lieutenant Colonel Tim Lawrence, Class of '88 and a Department of Astronautical Engineering professor, sets a world record in long-distance swimming. He became only the sixth person, and the first American, to swim the 14.8 nautical miles from Britain's Jersey Island to France, in the process lowering the best overall time to 8 hours, 21 minutes, 17 seconds.
24 July 1968 -- Captain Harley Hackett, Class of '65, and First Lieutenant John Bush, Class of '66, are killed when their F-4D crashes into the sea following an armed reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. Their names appear on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
25 July 1993 -- The carillon bell system becomes operational, after being silent for six years. The American Legion donated the Academy's original bells in 1961. They played until 1987, when the system became so obsolete that parts were not available for the needed repairs.
25 July 1997 -- One month after its third fatal T-3A crash the Academy, the Air Force grounds the aircraft. It would be permanently grounded two years later.
25 July 2010 -- The Colorado Springs Gazette publishes its list of the 25 best football players in Academy history. Included were the Academy's five consensus All-Americans: Brock Strom, Class of '59; Ernie Jennings, Class of '71; Scott Thomas, Class of '86; Chad Hennings, Class of '88; and Carlton McDonald, Class of '93.
26 July 1942 -- Lieutenant Colonel Albert Patton Clark, who would serve as the Academy's Superintendent from 1970 to 1974, is shot down in combat over France while flying a Spitfire with the RAF. He was taken prisoner by the Germans and held in Stalag Luft III for the duration of the War. During his thirty-three months of imprisonment, he directed security activities in preparation for The Great Escape, an operation immortalized in the 1963 movie starring Steve McQueen.
26 July 1947 -- President Harry S Truman signs the National Security Act, creating the Department of Defense and a separate Air Force.
26 July 1962 -- Six Academy cadets begin a 15-day stay in the crew compartment of a simulated space vehicle. While performing tasks similar to those in actual space travel, they proved that astronauts could perform well as a team.
27 July 1954 -- Brigadier General Hubert Harmon becomes the Academy's first Superintendent. He had been intimately involved in all planning for the Academy, dating back to the 1940s, when he headed the office of the special assistant for Air Force Academy and served on commissions to determine the Academy program, as well as its ultimate location.
27 July 1956 -- General Hubert R. Harmon, the first Academy Superintendent, retires. He would pass away less than a year later, before the first class graduated.
27 July 1962 -- Time Magazine weighs in on the controversy over the Cadet Chapel design with a positive review. It concludes that the Chapel " . . . is in perfect harmony with the spirit of the Academy . . . and its spires do not merely point, they soar."
27 July 1996 -- Secretary of the Air Force Sheila Widnall cuts the ribbon at the dedication ceremony for the new Consolidated Education and Training Facility (CETF). The $34 million project houses laboratories, classrooms, offices, and medical facilities.
28 July 1919 -- California Congressman Charles F. Curry introduces legislation providing for an air academy. The legislation failed amid disputes about cost, operation, curriculum (to include the amount of flying training), and location. He is decades ahead of his time, as it would be another 35 years, decades after his 1930 death, until his dream is realized.
28 July 1956 -- Major General James E. Briggs becomes the Academy's second Superintendent.
28 July 1967 -- First Lieutenant Karl Richter, Class of '64, is shot down and killed on his 198th combat mission. He was leading an F-105D two-ship west of Dong Hoi when his aircraft was struck by anti-aircraft artillery fire. He ejected and landed on a sharp rocky cliff. He was rescued by an HH-3, but died in the helicopter. His name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo, and the Richter Lounge in Arnold Hall is named for him.
28 July 1989 -- The Academy hosts the new Colorado State Games. Over the 28-30 July period, the Academy hosted 17 events in the competition that was open to all age groups. The Academy also hosted Colorado State Games events in 1990 and 1991.
28 July 2011 -- Academy head football coach Troy Calhoun, Class of '89, and his wife, Amanda, conduct the first annual Football 101 event, designed to increase football awareness among female fans. The 300 attendees had access to the AFA locker room, a Falcon Stadium field tour, cocktails, dinner and an athletic fashion show.
29 July 1961 - Academy officials, led by Colonel Edward Stealy, deputy base commander, dedicate the Pioneer Cemetery in Douglass Valley. A plaque memorializing the first settlers in the area was unveiled. Capps Cabin, the oldest structure on Academy property, was also dedicated.
29 July 1969 -- The North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools reaccredits the Academy as a bachelor's degree granting institution.
29 July 1985 -- The Office of the Academic Dean of the USAFA Preparatory School is created. This action consolidated all academic activities under one person. Lieutenant Colonel John McGrath was the first Academic Dean. The new position also allowed the creation of two new directorates - Academic Support and Information Services.
29 July 2004 -- The Academy and the Association of Graduates begin co-hosting a three-day Graduate Leadership Conference. Nearly 200 graduates, military and civilian, returned to the Academy to interact with Academy senior staff, tour facilities, learn about the Academy's status and future plans, and to provide input.
30 July 1965 -- Colonel James Wilson becomes the first permanent professor to retire. He was awarded the retirement rank of brigadier general.
30 July 1977 -- President Jimmy Carter signs Public Law 95-79, separating cadet pay from its previous basis of 50 percent of the pay of a second lieutenant with less than two years of service, the historic formula used since the Academy opened in 1955.
30 July 1993 -- The Center for Character Development is established. Its purpose was to oversee development of philosophy and methodologies for character development across the Academy, including the administration of the Cadet Honor Code and the integration of human relations training.
31 July 1965 -- First Lieutenant Donald Watson, Class of '62, is killed when his F-100D crashes while attacking a Viet Cong headquarters north of Saigon. His name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
31 July 1968 -- Brigadier General Robert McDermott retires from his post as Dean of Faculty after 12 years in the position. He would move to San Antonio, Texas, as president of the United Services Automobile Association, an insurance company serving military officers.
31 July 1980 -- Colonel John May, Class of '61, becomes the second Academy graduate to be appointed a Permanent Professor. He was appointed Head of the Department of Physics.
31 July 1991 -- Colonel Ken Schweitzer assumes the position of Director of the Athletic Department. He followed Colonel John Clune, who has served as Athletic Director since 1975.
31 July 1996 -- David DeGraaf, Class of '93, represents the United States in team handball at the Atlanta Olympic Games. During the USA vs. Kuwait game, he scored an Olympic record 13 goals and had an Olympic record 7 blocked shots.
31 July 2006 -- Legendary wrestling coach Wayne Baughman's retires after coaching at the Academy for 27 years. An NCAA champion while at the University of Oklahoma, Baughman competed on three Olympic teams, eight World Championship teams and one Pan American Games team. In addition, he coached in the 1976 and 1980 Olympics, as well as five World Championship teams and a Pan American Games team.