Penrose-St. Francis is excited to announce a partnership with the
Air Force Academy Athletics program to be the "Proud Orthopedic Partner for Air Force Athletics."
This year-long partnership kicks off with Penrose-St. Francis as the
proud sponsor of the Air
Force Academy Football season opener. The Falcons will be taking on Nicholls
State at the Air Force Academy on August 30th. The partnership
continues into basketball and hockey season.
over and over from the coaches at the Academy that their primary goal is to
prepare cadets for military service" said Margaret Sabin, president and CEO
of Penrose-St. Francis Health Services. "Athletics is an important part of that
training. As a health care leader, I know that through sports these men and
women are learning valuable life lessons and developing healthy habits that
will lead to a lifetime of good health and leadership. We are proud to partner
with the Air Force Academy to support these athletes."
Francis recently opened of the new Total Joint & Spine Center at St.
Francis Medical Center. The new patient care area is located on the 6th
floor of St. Francis Medical Center and features thirty-three private rooms
serving hip, knee and shoulder replacement patients and spine patients.
Francis has been recognized by Healthgrades with their Joint Replacement Excellence Award for four years and in the Top 5% in the Nation for Overall Orthopedic
Services for two years in a row.
THIS DAY IN AIR FORCE
ACADEMY HISTORY - AUGUST
STEVEN A. SIMON,
AND ALUMNI PROGRAMS OFFICE
1 August 1956 -- Brigadier General Robert F. mcDermott becomes the second Dean of the Faculty. He served until 31 July 1968 and is considered the father of modern military education.
1968 -- Brigadier General William Woodyard becomes the Academy's third Dean of
1968 -- First Lieutenant Joseph Ross, Class of '66, is presumed killed when his
F-4D does not return from a night strike mission in North Vietnam. His aircraft rolled in on a group of trucks
and his wingman observed a large explosion near the target. Radio contact was unsuccessful and no
parachutes were observed. Promoted to
Captain while missing, he was declared dead on 12 March 1975. His name appears on the War Memorial on the
1969 -- Captain Tommy Callies, Class of '65, is killed when his F-4 crashes
after being hit by hostile ground fire while attacking enemy troop
concentrations near Quang Ngai, Vietnam.
His name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
1970 -- Lieutenant General Albert Patton (A.P.) Clark becomes the Academy's
sixth Superintendent, assuming command from Lieutenant General Thomas
Moorman. General Clark was known for his
incarceration as a World War II Prisoner of War in the notorious Stalag Luft
III, a facility immortalized in the 1963 Steve McQueen movie, "The Great
1974 -- Lieutenant General James Allen becomes the Academy's seventh
Superintendent, succeeding Lieutenant General A.P. Clark. General Allen received praise for his
leadership during the initial admission of female cadets in 1976.
1991 -- Colonel Ruben Cubero, Class of '61, succeeds Brigadier General Erlind
Royer as Dean of the Faculty. Cubero,
the second Academy graduate to serve in the position, was promoted to Brigadier
General two days later.
1993 -- The Academy begins hosting the World Police and Fire Games. The eight-day Olympic-style event involved
nearly 6,000 competitors from 25 countries.
Opening Ceremonies were held in Falcon Stadium.
1997 -- Lieutenant General Tad Oelstrom, Class of '65, assumes command of the
Academy from Lieutenant General Paul Stein, Class of '66, becoming the
Academy's fourteenth Superintendent.
2004 -- Brigadier General David A. Wagie, Class of '72, retires as Dean of
Faculty. In October, Brigadier General
Dana Born, Class of '83, would succeed him.
2004 -- Dr. Hans Mueh, Brigadier General, Retired, Class of '66, becomes the
second Academy graduate to serve as Director of Athletics. He succeeded the first, Colonel Randy
Spetman, Class of '76.
2005 -- The Department of Military & Strategic Studies is activated.
2005 -- William Looney, Class of '72, pins on his fourth star, making him the
first Falcon Scholar to attain the rank of General. The Falcon Foundation began granting Falcon
Scholarships in 1958.
2008 -- General Norton Schwartz, Class of '73, becomes the third Air Force
Academy graduate to serve as Air Force Chief of Staff.
2008 -- General William Looney, Class of '72, retires as Commander, Air
Education and Training Command. He also
commanded a flight, a fighter squadron, two fighter wings, an air expeditionary
force, a military college, a warfare center, a numbered air force and two
acquisition centers. He commanded more
organizations than any other officer in Air Force history.
1909 -- The U.S. Signal Corps accesses its first aircraft, a Wright brothers product. The aircraft, "Signal Corps Aeroplane Number
1," is currently on display at the National Air and Space Museum.
1969 -- First Lieutenant Hal Henderson, Class of '67, is killed when his O-2A
collides with an Army CH-47C helicopter west of Chu Lai, South Vietnam, while
en route to a visual reconnaissance mission.
His name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
1996 -- David DeGraaf, Class of '93, representing the United States in team
handball at the Atlanta Olympic Games, scores three goals, including the game
winner as time expires, against Algeria.
1958 -- The Chicago Sun-Times runs a
comic strip depicting Steve Canyon visiting the newly constructed Air Force
2012 -- The Association of Graduates names Janet Edwards an Honorary
Member. Ms. Edwards has been the
Academy's Mortuary Affairs Officer since 1992.
Honorary membership is awarded to persons who have rendered outstanding
service to the Air Force and/or the Academy.
Membership is limited to 25 living persons.
1972 -- Captain Francis Townsend, Class of '70, is killed when his F-4C is hit
by anti-aircraft artillery and crashes near Mob Mon within the Demilitarized
Zone between North and South Vietnam. He
did not survive ejection. His name
appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
1977 -- Cadet First Class Edward Rice Jr. is named Wing Commander, making him the
first African-American commander of the Cadet Wing, effective 8 August.
1954 -- Major General Charles Carpenter, Chief of Air Force Chaplains, calls
for the construction of two chapels--one 600 seat facility for Protestant and
Jewish cadets, and another for Catholics.
2001 -- The first notebook computers are issued to members of the Class of '05
(Dell Latitude C600, Intel Pentium III/850, 256MB RAM, 20 GB hard drive,
1956 -- The first of 92 initial construction contracts, for the sanitary sewer
system, is completed.
1957 -- The House of Representatives votes to approve $5 million for the Cadet
Chapel and sends the bill to the Senate.
The design of the chapel created great controversy and led to many
delays in the project.
1958 -- House Resolution 7140 is approved.
The act amended Title 10, United States Code, to authorize a registrar
at the United States Air Force Academy and the United States Military Academy.
2006 -- Cadet squadrons 37, 38, 39, and 40 are reactivated. The four squadrons had been deactivated in
1999 as the number of authorized cadets was reduced. The return of the squadrons provided expanded
leadership opportunities for cadets.
1956 -- Lieutenant George Frederick is killed in the crash of an F-86 near Lowry
AFB, Colorado, becoming the fourth Air Training Officer to die during the first
two years of the Academy's existence.
1958 -- Approximately $500 in items are stolen during a burglary of the
souvenir shop located on Road 10 (the north gate road). Some of the items were found in April 1959.
1990 -- The first computers with hard drives are issued to members of the Class
of '94 (UNISYS 386SX with 2 MB RAM, 16 MHz CPU, and 40 MB hard drive).
2006 -- The first tablet computers are issued to members of the Class of '10
(Gateway M280G, Intel Pentium M/750, 1.86 GHz CPU, 1 GB DDR RAM, 40 GB hard
drive, 14-inch active matrix screen).
2009 -- Air Force Global Strike Command stands up, with Lieutenant General
Frank Klotz, Class of '73, as the first commander. The Command's mission is to "Develop and provide combat-ready
forces for nuclear deterrence and global strike operations -- safe, secure,
effective -- to support the President of the United States and Combatant
1948 -- At the request of Secretary of the Air Force, W. Stuart Symington, a
conference of fifteen civilians and officers is convened to establish
guidelines for an air academy. The group
is led by General Muir Fairchild, the vice chief of staff (and future namesake
of the Academy's academic building).
1957 -- The Washington Evening Star
publishes a photograph of the long-awaited chapel model. This publicity reignites the controversy over
the design and leads to another wave of strong opinions about the
unconventional design. Among those: Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont said, "The
proposed structure is a deliberate insult to God almighty."
1966 -- First Lieutenant Patrick Wynne, Class of '63, is killed when his F-4C is
hit by anti-aircraft artillery fire and crashes during an armed reconnaissance
mission. His name appears on the War
Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo. His
Academy ring was missing for forty years, but was eventually returned to the
Wynne family, which in turn donated it to the Academy. It is on display with the Class of '63
goblets in Arnold Hall.
1980 -- The Visiting Associate Program is initiated; it is related to the
Distinguished Visiting Professor Program.
1980 -- A new voluntary Academic Honors Program is initiated, centering on the
core curriculum. It was put into effect for the
Class of '82 and subsequent classes.
1984 -- Alonzo Babers, Class of '83, wins the gold medal in the 400 meter dash
at the 1984 Olympic Summer Games in Los Angeles, the first of two gold medal he
would win in LA. He is the only Academy
grad gold medalist.
1995 -- The first computers with CD drives are issued to members of the Class
of '99 (Applied Computer Technology ACT Pentium 75, 16 MB RAM, 540 MB hard
drive, Mitsumi Quad Speed CD).
1996 -- Classes start in the new Consolidated Education and Training Facility
1969 -- Captain Laurent Gourley, Class of '66, is killed when his F-100F Misty
FAC is lost near the A Shau Valley during a visual reconnaissance mission. Other aircrew heard Captain Gourley radio that
the aircraft had been hit and that they were going to eject. A witness reported seeing at least one parachute. He was considered missing until 29 November
1978, and was promoted to major while missing.
His name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
1994 -- The first computers with sound cards are issued at the Academy, to
members of the Class of '98.
1994 -- Colonel David P. Csintyan assumes command of the air base wing,
originally designated Detachment 3 (notionally called the 54th Air Base Wing). It would be redesignated as the 10th Air Base
Wing later in the year.
1995 -- Glacier, a white phase gyrfalcon that had been at the Academy since
being taken from its nest in Alaska in 1980, dies of cancer. The falcon is on display in the Field House
August 1970 -- Major Grant Waugh, Class of '60, is killed when his C-123K loses
an engine and crashes on landing at Cam Ranh Bay in Khang Hoa Province, South Vietnam.
His name appears on the War Memorial on
the Academy Terrazzo.
August 2004 -- FalconWorks, a nonprofit organization created to develop
technology from the Academy and license it for commercial use, is launched in
August 2012 -- General Mark Welsh, Class of '76, becomes the fourth Air Force
Academy graduate to serve as Air Force Chief of Staff.
August 2013 -- The official 40-inch by 50-inch portrait of the Superintendent,
Lieutenant. General Mike Gould, Class of '76, is unveiled at his retirement
dinner at the Falcon Stadium Press Box.
The painting was created "in house" by Academy graphics department
illustrator Chris Hureau, saving the Academy approximately $6,500. The Academy had contracted outside artists
for every previous Superintendent's portrait.
August 1971 -- The Academy hosts the Fifth Annual National AAU Junior
Olympics. More than 650 high school
athletes participated in track and field, swimming and diving, judo, and
August 1977 -- Academy officials concur with an Air Staff proposal to increase
the active duty service commitment for Undergraduate Pilot Training graduates
from five years to six years. The change
would become effective in June 1979.
August 1984 -- Alonzo Babers, Class of '83, wins the gold medal in the 4-by-400
meter relay at the 1984 Olympic Summer Games in Los Angeles, his second gold
medal of the Games. He is the only
Academy grad gold medalist.
1986 -- The first cadet computer issue takes place, with members of to the
Class of '90 receiving Zenith 248s (with 512 KB RAM, dual floppy, and 6MHz CPU).
August 1965 -- Lieutenant General Thomas Moorman, the Academy Superintendent,
establishes the Association of Graduates.
Captain Dick Matthews, Class of '60, was the first AOG Alumni
Secretary. The AOG was initially located
in Harmon Hall, with a staff of four civilians.
August 1971 -- First Lieutenant John Rydlewicz, Class of '69, is killed when
his OV-10A is shot down by ground fire and crashes northwest of Xa Phan Thiet,
Republic of Vietnam. His name appears on
the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
August 1986 -- A groundbreaking ceremony is held for the 40,000 square foot
addition/renovation to Mitchell Hall.
The $7.5 million project was completed in July 1988.
2013 -- Lieutenant General Michelle Johnson, Class of '81, becomes the first female
to serve as Air Force Academy Superintendent.
She is the first woman to be superintendent at one of the three Department
of Defense service academies. Coast
Guard Rear Admiral Sandra Stosz was the first woman to lead a U.S. academy,
becoming superintendent of the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut,
1970 -- Captain Alan Cheeseman, Class of '66, and Captain George Henry, Class
of '67, are killed when their CH-3 helicopter crashes north of Ubon, Thailand,
when hit by enemy fire while on a training mission. Their names appear on the War Memorial on the
1909 -- A large train wreck occurs in Husted, just south of what is now the North
Gate. The northbound and southbound
passenger trains collided, resulting in 11 deaths and 42 injuries.
August 1954 -- The Air Force Academy is activated, with three employees, to
include the Superintendent, Lieutenant General Hubert R. Harmon.
August 2001 -- The Athletic Department breaks ground on the Falcon Athletic
Center building, situated between the Cadet Gymnasium and the Field House.
August 2013 -- Cadet First Class William Kent, Class of '14, an Academy track
and field athlete, wins the NCAA Student-Athlete Sportsmanship Award. During a meet in February, Kent saw that his
weight throw toss had been measured at 19.55 meters. Knowing he did not throw that far, he
approached the official to ensure the correct distance was recorded. Initially, the official insisted the distance
was accurate, but upon further discussion with Kent, he lowered the mark to
August 1979 -- Cadet Julie Richards, Class of '80, becomes the first Academy
female cadet to solo in the T-41 program.
(Cadet Richards was also the subject of an iconic Academy photo taken as
she reported for basic training, standing in front of the "Bring Me Men" ramp.)
August 1979 -- Robert Nieman, Class of '70, becomes the first American to win
the International Modern Pentathlon Individual World Championship, in Budapest. This is the first world championship title in
any sport ever won by a cadet or graduate.
He competed in the 1976 and 1988 Olympics (and made the 1980 team, but
the United States boycotted the Moscow Games).
2005 -- The Falcon Foundation donates the Murray Green Papers, documenting the
life of General of the Air Force Henry "Hap" Arnold, to the Academy's McDermott
August 2006 -- Military strategist and aviation pioneer Colonel John R. Boyd,
U.S. Air Force, retired, posthumously receives the 2004 Thomas D. White Award. His son and daughter accepted the award at a
Mitchell Hall Staff Tower luncheon. 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.
2011 -- Cadet Third Class Craig Nowadly, Class of '13, is singled out by the Air
Force Surgeon General, Lieutenant General Bruce Green, for having the best
cadet poster presentation at the annual USAF Medical Research Symposium in
Washington, D.C. Nowadly received the
award for his work with the Life Sciences Research Center.
August 1959 -- Major General William Stone becomes the Academy's third
Superintendent, taking the reins from Major General James Briggs, who was promoted
to Lieutenant General and assumed command of the Air Training Command at
Randolph AFB, Texas.
August 1959 -- Grace Lake, the Academy's newest recreation area, opens. The site, named Farish Memorial ten days
later, is located in the Rampart Range area, four miles from the western
boundary of the Academy, but by car a drive of more than 40 miles. The Air Force Academy Foundation purchased
the first 60-acre increment of what is now a 655-acre facility.
August 1970 -- Captain Steven Melnick, Class of '65, and Captain James Wood,
Class of '65, are killed when their F-4E crashes after encountering
anti-aircraft fire during a night strike mission southwest of DaNang. Their names appear on the War Memorial on the
August 1958 -- Newsweek runs a strip depicting comic characters Steve Canyon
and his cousin Poteet visiting the Academy.
In it, Poteet says, "I feel downright futuristic, lookin' at this
spankin'-new Air Force Academy."
1969 -- First Lieutenant Daniel Davis, Class of '67, is killed while piloting
an O-1 aircraft over Laos. He was
declared missing at the time of estimated fuel exhaustion. Subsequently, gun camera film from an F-105
revealed a mid-air collision between Lieutenant Davis' O-1 and an F-105 he was
controlling over a target. His remains
were returned in 1995. His name appears
on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
August 1967 -- Captain Donald Stevens, Class of '60, performs the mission for
which he would receive the first-ever Colonel James Jabara Award for
Airmanship, awarded in 1968. Flying a
forward air control mission in an unarmed 0-2A, he directed the recovery of a
wounded American soldier. During his two
and one-half hours in the target area, he repeatedly made passes at an altitude
of 50 feet, accurately marking the position of the soldier, despite constant
enemy ground fire.
August 1968 -- Construction on the 25,000 square foot Academy Hospital addition
begins. The expansion would include
outpatient clinics and auxiliary medical services.
August 1995 -- Joseph Kruzel Jr., Class of '67, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
for European and NATO Policy, is killed while on a peace-keeping mission in
Bosnia. A rain-soaked dirt road collapsed
beneath the armored personnel carrier in which he was riding, sending the
vehicle rolling down a 500-meter slope. His
name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
August 1962 -- Dan Twomey, Class of '67, is offered a Falcon Scholarship. He attended the University of Santa Clara, then
the Air Force Academy, and became the second Falcon Foundation Rhodes Scholar.
Holaday, Class of '65, was the first.
August 1990 -- Colonel Robert Foerster, Class of '65, becomes the first Academy
graduate appointed as Director of Admissions.
August 2008 -- The Minuteman III missile is removed from the area in front of the Cadet Field House. The static display had stood at that location
since December 1971. The deterioration
of the stability of the missile body and the presence of asbestos forced its
removal and precluded its being reassembled elsewhere on the Academy.
August 1941 -- The 10th Air Base Wing, which in 1994 will be reactivated at the
Air Force Academy, is activated as the 73rd Observation Group in Harrisburg,
August 1970 -- Japanese language instruction is added to the foreign language
curriculum, a service academy first.
1992 -- The dedication ceremony for Doolittle Hall, the Association of
Graduates building, takes place. The
35,000 square foot facility is located on 12 acres of leased land just west of
the (then) Officers' Club.
2010 -- Captain Joseph A. Hext, Class of '02, flies the mission for which he
received the 2012 Colonel James Jabara Award for Airmanship. Captain Hext, an A-10 flight lead, distinguished
himself through his heroic actions in an Operation ENDURING FREEDOM sortie
supporting United States Special Operations and Afghan National Army ground
forces in Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan.
August 1967 -- Major Burke Morgan, Class of '61, is killed when his A-26A loses
radar and radio contract and presumably crashes during a road reconnaissance mission
in northern Laos. He was considered
missing until declared dead on 4 June 1971.
His remains were buried at the Academy on 7 September 2006. His name appears on the War Memorial on the
1997 -- The B-17 Flying Fortress statue is dedicated. The memorial, donated by the 305 Bomb Group
Memorial Association and sculpted by Robert Henderson, is displayed on the
August 1962 -- The Academy begins hosting the Fourth Annual National Model
Rocket Championships. More than 100
contestants from all parts of the country participated.
August 1967 -- Captain Francis Midnight, Class of '64, is killed when his F-4D is
hit by ground fire and crashes during a mission south of Dong Hoi. His name appears on the War Memorial on the
August 1968 -- Captain Harreld Martin, Class of '62, is killed during a hostile
rocket attack on DaNang Air Base, South Vietnam. His name appears on the War Memorial on the
August 1968 -- Captain Francis Setterquist, Class of '66, is killed when his RF-4C
is lost and presumed shot down on a night reconnaissance mission over North
Vietnam. He was declared missing until
16 September 1976. His name appears on the
War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
1992 -- The P-38 Lightning statue is dedicated.
The memorial, sculpted by Robert Henderson, is displayed on the Honor
August 1998 -- A Headquarters Air Force Personnel Center message announces the
increase of the pilot training commitment from eight years to ten years. The change would go into effect for those who
entered pilot training on or after 1 November 1999.
2006 -- A regular-season record crowd of 3,206 spectators packs the Cadet
Soccer Stadium as the Academy men's team and service-academy rival Army battle
to a 1-1 tie. Earlier in the evening,
the women's team fell 1-0 to the University of Texas El Paso.
2009 -- The Air Force Academy Facebook page is created.
August 1968 -- Captain Robert Bull, Class of '61, is killed when his C-7
crashes after being hit by hostile ground fire while on a combat resupply mission in
Long Khanh province in South Vietnam. His
name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
August 1985 -- The Department of Political Science sponsors former president
Jimmy Carter, who speaks on "National Priorities, A Changing World."
August 2001 -- Comedian and game show host Wayne Brady performs in Arnold Hall.
August 2002 -- The Academy announces curriculum changes, to include a reduction
in credit hour requirements, the addition of a mandatory freshmen engineering
class, and new language requirements for social sciences and humanities majors.
August 2010 -- Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is presented the 2009
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.
August 1959 -- The Farish Memorial Recreation Area is formally dedicated for
use by cadet and Academy staff. It is
named for First Lieutenant William S. Farish Jr., who was killed in World War
II. His mother donated funds to the Air
Force Academy Foundation for the purchase of the property. The 655-acre site is located west of the
Academy near Woodland Park, at an altitude of 9,000 feet.
1973 -- Female waitresses are employed for the first time in the Cadet Dining
August 1959 -- After years of delays due to the controversy surrounding the
design, a groundbreaking ceremony marks the beginning of construction on the
Cadet Chapel. The Robert E. McKee
Construction Company of Santa Fe, New Mexico, built the facility that was designed
by Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.
August 1972 -- Captain Steve Ritchie, Class of '64, becomes the first Air Force
Academy graduate pilot ace. He was the
Air Force's only pilot ace of the Vietnam War.
For his accomplishments, he received the 1972 Colonel James Jabara Award
August 1972 -- Captain Mikki King wins the three-meter springboard diving gold
medal at the Olympic Summer Games in Munich.
The following year, she would become the Academy's diving coach.
August 1976 -- Lieutenant Colonel Ervin Rokke, Class of '62, becomes the first
Academy graduate to be invested as a Permanent Professor.
August 1979 -- The Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Presidents' Council votes
in a conference call to accept Air Force as a WAC member, with mesbership
effective 1 July 1980.
August 2006 -- Brigadier General Robert McDermott, Dean of the Faculty from
1956 until 1968, and the namesake of the cadet library, passes away in San
Antonio. Due to the many innovations he
made, he has been called the "father of modern military education."
August 1958 -- An advance party of 60 cadets moves to the new quarters at the
permanent home of the Academy. (Source: Falconews, 28 August 1959 issue).
August 1961 -- The first class, consisting of 200 students, enters the Air
Force Academy Preparatory School. The
school graduated 138 fully qualified candidates in 1962, 98 of whom accepted
appointments to the Air Force Academy.
August 1965 -- First Lieutenant Robert Carn Jr., Class of '62, is killed while
on a reconnaissance mission over dense Viet Cong Jungle. He was serving as a Forward Air Controller
with the Airborne Brigade, Army of the Republic of Vietnam, when his O-1F aircraft
collided with another reconnaissance aircraft.
His name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
August 1995 -- Captain David Hawkens, Class of '86, is killed when his U-2R
aircraft crashes shortly after takeoff from RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom, on
a mission to Bosnia in support of Operation Deny Flight. His name appears on the War Memorial on the
August 1995 -- The soccer stadium is dedicated.
The stadium dedication was followed by men's and women's exhibition
August 2008 -- The largest falcon statue in the United States is dedicated in
front of Falcon Stadium. The bronze
sculpture, valued at $400,000, has a wing span of 24 feet and weighs 10,000
pounds. It was created by Jon Hair, and
given to the Academy by Irwin "Ike" Belk, who funded similar giant mascots at
2013 -- Supreme Court associate justice Sonia Sotomayor visits the Academy and
holds an open forum for approximately 50 cadets and 20 faculty members from the
Academy's Law and Political Science Departments to share her experiences about
life as a justice on the nation's highest court.
August 1958 -- Members of the Class of '62, having completed Basic Cadet
Training at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, are bussed to the north entrance to
the permanent Academy site. Led by
upperclassmen and Air Training Officers, and with 400 cadets lining the route,
they march the 4 ½ miles to the Cadet Area, finishing by marching up the ramp. Construction continues throughout the campus.
(Source: Falconews, 28 August 1959
August 2006 -- The 34th Training Wing is redesignated The Commandant of Cadets,
reversing a change made in November 1994.
August 1969 -- Major James Morton, Class of '60, is killed when his F-4E is struck
by hostile fire and crashes in Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam. His name appears on the War Memorial on the
August 1991 -- Comedian and actor Bob Newhart performs in Arnold Hall.
fired up for the 2014 football season with the Annual Football 101 event at the
Holaday Athletic Center on Friday, August 1st! Join Coach Calhoun and his wife
Amanda for a fun night of food, drinks and football fundamentals. Participants can register for just $30 and admission will include an
Air Force Nike hat, personal time with the Falcon coaching staff to learn x's
and o's and run through drills, private tours of the locker room, equipment
room and weight room, dinner, drinks and the opportunity to shop exclusive Air
Force pre-season gear! Register online by following the link here and signing up for a DonorNet account or call 719-333-2626.
THIS DAY IN AIR FORCE
ACADEMY HISTORY - JULY
STEVEN A. SIMON,
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
1957 -- Seventy-five cadets from the Class of '59 arrive in Germany to tour
European bases for three weeks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1979 -- The Military Order of Merit (MOM) is replaced by the Military
Performance Average (MPA).
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
1980 -- Headquarters USAF authorizes the merging of the Air Force Academy
Liaison and AFROTC programs.
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.
1981 -- Groundbreaking for the $4.5 million expansion of the Cadet Library
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
1990 -- General Michael J. Dugan, who had served at the Academy from 1967 until
1972, becomes the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
1990 -- The Academy becomes a member of the Colorado Athletic Conference for
its women's intercollegiate athletic programs.
1993 -- Control of the 557th Flying Training Squadron is transferred to Air
Education and Training Command, though the flying operations remain at the
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.
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.
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
1998 -- Brigadier General David Wagie, Class of '72, becomes Dean of the
Faculty, taking over from Brigadier General Ruben Cubero, Class of '61.
1999 -- The Academy becomes a charter member of the Mountain West Conference.
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.
2008 -- Anthony Aretz, Class of '80, assumes the presidency of the College of
Mount Saint Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
1986 -- The Cadet Chorale sings at the Statue of Liberty Rededication
Ceremonies held at Liberty State Park, New Jersey.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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
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.
1962 -- Major General Robert Warren succeeds Major General William Stone as the
Academy Superintendent. General Warren
was the fourth Superintendent.
1963 -- Construction of the Cadet Chapel is declared "essentially
completed." The building would be
dedicated in September.
1989 -- Brigadier General Joseph Redden, Class of '64, becomes the Academy's
15th Commandant of Cadets.
2003 -- Lieutenant General John Rosa Jr. becomes the Academy's fifteenth
2010 -- Brigadier General Richard Clark, Class of '86, becomes the first
African-American Commandant of Cadets.
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.
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.
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."
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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 . .
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
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
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.
1955 -- The Academy's first worship service is held at the Academy's temporary
site at Lowry AFB, Colorado.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1999 -- Construction is officially completed for the Rampart Lodge's 20-room,
four-building Temporary Lodging Facilities complex, Buildings 6260-6263.
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
1986 -- The Department of Economics and the Office of Geography are joined into
a single unit, the Department of Economics and Geography.
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.
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.
1954 -- Brigadier General Don Zimmerman becomes the first Dean of the Faculty.
1975 -- Brigadier General Stanley Beck replaces Brigadier General Hoyt S.
Vandenberg Jr. to become the ninth Commandant of Cadets.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
1947 -- President Harry S Truman signs the National Security Act, creating the
Department of Defense and a separate Air Force.
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.
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.
1956 -- General Hubert R. Harmon, the first Academy Superintendent, retires. He would pass away less than a year later,
before the first class graduated.
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."
1978 -- The Academy hosts the first National Sports
Festival, sponsored by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The event ran until 30 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.
1956 -- Major General James E. Briggs becomes the Academy's second
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.
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.
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.
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.
1969 -- The North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools
reaccredits the Academy as a bachelor's degree granting institution.
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.
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.
1965 -- Colonel James Wilson becomes the first permanent professor to retire. He was awarded the retirement rank of
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Peterson Air Force
Base is hosting a memorial 5K run to honor Capt. David Lyon, who was killed in
action on Dec. 27, 2013 while conducting combat operations near Kabul,
Afghanistan. The run is sponsored by the 21 Logistics Readiness Center and
takes place Friday, June 27, at 1 p.m. at Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs.
Lyon, a 2008 Academy
graduate, was a three-year letter winner for the Falcons' track and field team
and a Mountain West champion in the shot put. A member of the 21st Logistics
Readiness Squadron out of Peterson AFB, Lyon was killed when a vehicle-born
improvised explosive device was detonated near his convoy.
Serving a year-long deployment to
Afghanistan, Lyon was performing a combat advisory mission with Afghan National
Army Commandos and working with the Combined Joint Special Operations Task
Force-Afghanistan. He was scheduled to return to Colorado in February.
Known as David Lissy
during his time with the Falcons' track and field program, the native of
Sandpoint, Idaho, served as a team captain during the 2007-08 season, while
earning a conference title in the shot put at the 2008 MW Indoor Championships.
He is still ranked third on the Academy's all-time list in both the indoor and
outdoor shot put, highlighted by a throw of 57'11" during the 2008 indoor
A recipient of the track and field
program's Laura Piper Ironman Award (named after a 1991 Academy graduate and
former Air Force thrower who was killed in action during Operation Provide
Comfort), Lyon was named to the National Strength and Conditioning Association
All-American team, which honored his excellence in strength training.
To register for the event, please click
on the link below:
Chris Howard, a 1991 graduate of the Air Force Academy and two-year football lettermen, is featured below in the National Football Foundation countdown to the 25th Campbell Trophy, awared to the best scholar-athlete in college football. Howard was the winner in 1990.
25 Weeks to the 25th
Campbell Trophy: Chris Howard - 1990
In recognition of the 25th Anniversary of the William
V. Campbell Trophy, which will be awarded Dec. 9 to the
absolute best scholar-athlete in the country for his academic success, football
performance and exemplary community leadership, the NFF will highlight one of
the previous winners each week until the 57th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the
Waldorf Astoria in New York City.
This week's honoree is running back Chris
Howard, an Academic All-American at Air Force who received
the inaugural Campbell
Trophy in 1990. Currently the President at Hampden-Sydney College
in Virginia, Howard's "partial" list of accomplishments includes
earning his wings as a helicopter pilot, serving in Afghanistan as
an intelligence officer where he earned a Bronze Star, Harvard MBA,
manager of a $100 million Bristol-Myers Squibb HIV/AIDS initiative in
southern Africa, founder of a non-profit foundation and a member of
General Electric's Corporate Initiative Group. Click
here to learn more about Howard.
The following link is to a story in the Colorado Springs Gazette about volleyball Emma Dridge and her participation in the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Dridge was one of two student-athletes from the SAAC committee to attend a recent Mountain West board of director's meeting. Gazette reporter Brent Briggeman talked with Dridge about the experience.
For the first time in league history, the Mountain West Board of Directors meeting included two members of the MW Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). In keeping with the Conference's progressive approach, and with the new NCAA governance structure set to include student-athletes, the BOD felt this was a great opportunity to include the voice of the league's SAAC members. New Mexico track athlete Kendall Spencer, the national chair of the 2014-15 NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, was joined by Air Force Academy volleyball player Emma Dridge.
Full release here: http://www.themw.com/#!/news-detail/mw_14_bod_saac_06-02-14_yfym83
THIS DAY IN AIR FORCE
ACADEMY HISTORY - JUNE
STEVEN A. SIMON,
AND ALUMNI PROGRAMS OFFICE
1954 -- The Air Force Academy Project office is superseded by the newly created
Air Force Academy Construction Agency.
The Agency's mission, like that of the Project Office, was "to direct
the planning, designing and construction of an Air Force Academy. Colonel Leo Erler was appointed as its first director. Congress approved this limited-time agency
because Air Force officials did not want the Army (Corps of Engineers) involved
in the planning and construction of the Academy.
1959 -- The cadet dormitory is officially named Vandenberg Hall, after General Hoyt
Vandenberg, the second Air Force Chief of Staff, who made many key decisions in
the Academy's formulation, to include selecting General Hubert Harmon as its
first Superintendent. General
Vandenberg's widow and son attended the ceremony. That son, Captain Hoyt Vandenberg Jr., would
go on to be the Academy Commandant of Cadets in the 1970s. This was the last of five building dedications
to take place during a three-day period.
1977 -- The "Tail End Charlie" tradition ends with the graduation of the Class
of '77. The 19-year practice had every
member of the class give a silver dollar to the classmate graduating last in
the order of merit. The incoming
Superintendent, Lieutenant General Kenneth Tallman, would end the custom
because he believed it was not appropriate to recognize a graduate for being
the lowest ranking member of his class.
John McNulty was the final "Tail End Charlie."
1980 -- The Department of Chemistry and Biological Sciences is split into two
departments. Colonel Harvey Schiller became
the first head of the Department of Chemistry and Colonel Orwyn Sampson became
the first head of the Department of Biology.
1 June 1981
-- Colonel Jock Schwank, Class of '60, becomes the first Academy graduate to
serve as Preparatory School Commander.
1981 -- Second Lieutenant Michelle Johnson, Class of '81, becomes the first
female cadet selected for a Rhodes scholarship.
1981 -- The Department of Economics, Geography, and Management is reorganized
into the Department of Economics, the Department of Management, and the Office
of Instruction for Geography. The Office
of Instruction for Geography became part of the Department of Law.
1982 -- The Department of Astronautics and Computer Science is split into two
1982 -- The Thunderbird Overlook is dedicated.
It contained a T-38 Talon painted in the Thunderbirds paint scheme, with
the number 1 on the tail. The aircraft
was given to the Academy in 1981 by Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. The Association of Graduates was instrumental
in funding the Overlook. An A-10 was
added in 2002.
1992 -- The Cadet Wing Hostess Office is eliminated. The decision was primarily
economy-driven. In 2008, the
Superintendent, Lieutenant General John Regni, Class of '73, re-established the
1998 -- Colonel Hedy Pinkerton becomes the first female Director of Admissions.
1999 -- The Air Officer Commanding (AOC) master's program begins, whereby
incoming AOCs study and receive a master's degree in counseling from the
University of Colorado - Colorado Springs at the conclusion of their AOC
2003 -- The Cadet Counseling Center is administratively moved from Dean of the
Faculty to the Commandant of Cadets and is renamed the Academy Counseling
2004 -- Charles Baldwin, Class of '69, is promoted to the rank of Major General
and becomes the first Academy graduate to serve as Air Force Chief of
2012 -- Tom Krise, Class of '83, becomes the thirteenth president of Pacific
1954 -- The official plan for Academy flight training is established. Graduates would be qualified as aircraft
observers and navigator-bombardiers.
Familiarization with flying as pilots would be provided, but graduates
would not be qualified as pilots. The
type and amount of flying training to be conducted at the Academy had been a
contentious subject for decades.
1972 -- Captain Dale Stoval, Class of '67, flies the mission for which he would
receive the Academy's 1973 Colonel James Jabara Award for Airmanship. He penetrated the heavily defended Red River
Valley of North Vietnam in his Jolly Green HH-53 helicopter, repeatedly braving
MIGs, SAMs, anti-aircraft artillery fire, and ground forces, to rescue a fellow
airman. He also received the Air Force
Cross for his actions on the mission.
1975 -- The Academy becomes the first service academy and the first military
installation to receive dual recognition as a National Bicentennial Site.
1987 -- The Friends of the Air Force Academy Library is approved by the
Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) Corporation. The Friends was established to enhance the
quality of the McDermott Library as an educational, research, scientific and
1999 -- President William J. Clinton is the graduation speaker.
2004 -- President George W. Bush is the graduation speaker.
1954 -- The Air Force Academy Site Selection Commission recommends that one of three
sites be chosen as the academy's home: Alton, Illinois; Colorado Springs,
Colorado; and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
1959 -- The first class graduates. The
ceremony was held in Arnold Hall, and it remains the only indoor graduation in
Academy history. Secretary of the Air
Force James Douglas and Air Force Chief of Staff General Thomas D. White
officiated. The 207 graduates in the
Class of '59 began the "Long Blue Line."
1976 -- Air Force Cadet Regulation 50-1, Training: Fourth Class System, is
published. It contains guidance for
training the first female cadets, who would arrive later in the month.
1958 -- The Department of Foreign Languages is officially
established an academic department. In
the first year, classes were taught in French, German, Russian and Spanish.
1958 -- The Department of Graphics is deactivated.
1969 -- President Richard M. Nixon delivers the graduation address to the Class
of '69, the largest (683) class to graduate to that time.
1974 -- The Strategic Air Command's Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird makes its first
appearance at the Academy's graduation festivities.
1975 -- The Class of '75 graduates. The
class had an attrition rate of 46.19%, the highest in Academy history.
1986 -- The Barry M. Goldwater Visitor Center, dedicated on 27 May, opens to
1993 -- The P-47 Thunderbolt statue is dedicated. The memorial, sculpted by Robert Henderson,
is displayed on the Honor Court.
1963 -- President John F. Kennedy speaks at the Class of '63's graduation, the
first graduation ceremony in Falcon Stadium, and the first time a president
participated in an Air Force Academy graduation. The first three African-American graduates of
the Air Force Academy are in the Class of '63 - Charles Bush, Isaac Payne, and
2012 -- Janet Wolfenbarger, Class of '80, becomes the Air Force and the Air
Force Academy's first female four-star general as she assumes command of Air
Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
1961 -- Secretary of the Air Force Eugene M. Zuckert, at the Academy for the
graduation of the class of '61, officiates at the pouring of the first concrete
in the construction of Falcon Stadium.
1965 -- The song "The Ramparts" is debuted at a concert in Arnold Hall. The song, commissioned by the Air Force
Academy Welfare Fund in commemoration of the Academy's tenth anniversary, was
written by Clifton Williams.
1987 -- T. Allan McArtor, Class of '64, named by President Ronald Reagan to
head the Federal Aviation Administration.
He served from 22 July 1987 until 17 February 1989.
1967 -- With the increase in the number of cadets, the Cadet Wing is expanded
into five groups, each with six squadrons.
After one year, the Wing was returned to a four group configuration.
2000 -- The Superintendent, Lieutenant General Tad Oelstrom, Class of '65,
receives the Order of the Sword. The
Order of the Sword is presented by enlisted members to an officer who they feel
1966 -- The first three foreign national cadets to complete four years at the
Academy receive their diplomas.
1996 -- The Association of Graduates purchases a gyrfalcon and presents it to
the Academy. The cadets name the white
2007 -- The Academy announces the inaugural class for induction into the Air
Force Academy Athletic Hall of Fame. The
class is comprised of Olympic champion sprinter Alonzo Babers (Class of '83), basketball
players Bob Beckel ('59) and Michelle Johnson ('81), former athletic director Colonel
John Clune (Navy, '54), and football players Brock Strom (59) and Chad Hennings
2000 -- Major General John Dallager, Class of '69, becomes the Academy's 15th
Superintendent. He would pin on his
third star on 1 August 2000.
2006 -- Ten days after graduating, Second Lieutenant Dana Pounds, Class of '06,
defends her national javelin title at the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field
Championships in Sacramento, California.
She became the Academy's first back-to-back champion at the Division I
2009 -- Lieutenant General Mike Gould, Class of '76, becomes the Academy's
eighteenth Superintendent, assuming command from Lieutenant General John Regni,
Class of '73.
2005 -- Cadet Dana Pounds, Class of '06, wins the national javelin title at the
2005 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, California. She became the Academy's first female national
champion at the Division I level, and the first track and field champion since
Cadet Callie Calhoun, Class of '91, won the 10,000 meter title at the 1991
Division II national meet.
11 June 2013
-- The Black Forest Fire starts just east of the Academy. For the second time in two years, the Academy
and Academy personnel were threatened by a large wildfire. Again, the Academy fire department and other
agencies responded. Two people were
killed in the fire, including Robin Herklotz, Class of '84, and her husband
1956 -- The first Athletic Awards Banquet is held, in the Cadet Dining Hall.
1982 -- Brigadier General Anthony Burschnick, Class of '60, becomes the Academy
Commandant of Cadets. He was the second
Academy graduate to serve a Commandant, immediately following the first,
Brigadier General Bob Beckel, Class of '59.
2007 -- Colonel (Retired) Michael Butler, Class of 1976, is killed near Tikrit,
Iraq. Colonel Butler was working as a
civilian contractor with the Civilian Police Advisory Training Team.
2011 -- Officials from the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs Utilities and
SunPower Corporation flip a switch signifying the official dedication of the
Academy's 6-megawatt solar array. The
array, near the Academy's South Gate, constitutes about 11 percent of the
Academy's overall electricity needs: about 12,000 megawatt-hours per year, or
enough to power more than 1,200 average homes.
1986 -- Brigadier General Sam Westbrook III, Class of '63, assumes command of
CW, making him the fourth consecutive Air Force Academy graduate to serve as Commandant
2013 -- The Academy holds the funeral of Brigadier General Alfred F. Hurley,
USAF, Retired, former Permanent Professor for the Department of History. The event took place in the Catholic Cadet
1939 -- Lieutenant Colonel Robert Crawford unveils his "Army Air Corps" song ("Off
we go, into the wild blue yonder....").
Officially performed for the first time later in the year, the song
would eventually become closely associated with the Air Force Academy.
1963 -- The Falcon Foundation Scholarship Fund Drive begins.
2008 -- Walter Netsch, lead architect of the Air Force Academy, passes away in
1981 -- Major General Robert Kelley succeeds Lieutenant General Kenneth Tallman
as Academy Superintendent.
1983 -- Lieutenant General Winfield "Skip" Scott becomes the Academy's tenth
Superintendent, assuming command from Major General Robert Kelley.
1997 -- The Academy Superintendent, Lieutenant General Paul Stein, Class of
'66, receives the 1997 All-American Football Foundation's Outstanding College
President's Award at the foundation's banquet.
2005 -- Captain Nicole Malachowski, Class of 1996, is announced as the first
female Thunderbird pilot. She flew with
the demonstration team from November 2005 until November 2007.
2002 -- The Hayman Fire west of the Academy forces the evacuation of the Farish
Recreation Camp and the Academy's Combat Survival Training site in the Pike
2004 -- The Class of '59 dedicates the Challenge Bridge outside Doolittle
Hall. The stone and mortar structure
serves as a gateway to the Heritage Trail and is intended to inspire cadets to
reflect on the oath of service and commitment they have chosen for their lives.
1999 -- Brigadier General Mark Welsh III, Class of '76, becomes the Commandant
of Cadets. General Welsh would go on to
become the fourth Air Force Academy graduate to serve as Air Force Chief of
1961 -- Brigadier General William Seawell becomes the Academy's third
Commandant of Cadets.
1964 -- Cadet Jim Murphy, Class of '66, becomes the Academy's first athlete to
win an NCAA individual national championship by finishing in a tie for first
place in the 5,000 meter run at the NCAA Track and Field National Championships
in Eugene, Oregon. He was also the first
cadet selected to participate in the Olympic Trials--the top three runners
qualified for the Olympics, and he finished fourth.
1965 -- Brigadier General Louis Seith becomes Commandant of Cadets, succeeding
Brigadier General Robert Strong.
1961 -- Major Frederick Gillen and Captain Patrick Slezak, both assigned to the
Academy Athletic Department, are killed in the crash of a T-33 near Lowry Air
Force Base. The Gillen-Slezak Trophy,
the Intercollegiate Athletics Award, is presented each year in their
memory. The Trophy is displayed in the
Athletic Hall of Excellence.
1991 -- The Academy and the Academy Research and Development Institute (ARDI)
sign a Memorandum of Agreement. The
document was signed by Academy Superintendent Lieutenant General Charles R.
Hamm, and ARDI President, retired Brigadier General Philip J. Erdle.
2010 -- Colonel Tamra Rank, Class of '83, becomes the first female Vice
Superintendent in Academy history.
1942 -- General of the Air Force Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, namesake of the
Academy's Arnold Hall, is featured on the cover of Time Magazine.
1955 -- The Academy Superintendent, Lieutenant General Hubert Harmon, sends a
letter to District 20 School Board President, Russell Wolfe, requesting a
statement of District 20's desire and capabilities to support the educational
needs of the Air Force Academy's dependents.
The District response indicated that it did not have the funds to build
a school, but would operate a school if the Air Force furnished the facility.
1959 -- The Air Force Academy is featured on the cover of Life Magazine, weeks
after its first class graduates. The
article is titled: "Party: A Festive Week in the Air Force Academy:
Girls and Weddings Grace a Graduation."
The June 1959 issue of National Geographic also covered the Academy in a
colorful 30-page spread.
1973 -- General Jimmy Doolittle, leader of the Doolittle Raid, visits the
2011 -- The General Dynamics MQ-1B Predator drone, hanging inverted from the
Mitchell Hall ceiling, is dedicated.
23 June 1998
-- Heather A. Wilson, Class of 1982, is elected to the United States House of
Representatives, making her not only the first Academy graduate elected to the
House, but also the first female veteran in American history to serve in
2012 -- The Waldo Canyon Fire starts in the foothills south and west of the Academy. By the time the fire was under control,
81,000 acres had burned, including a small portion of Academy land, roughly 140
acres in the southwest corner of the reservation.
1954 -- Secretary of the Air Force Harold E. Talbott announces Colorado Springs
would become the permanent home of the Air Force Academy. He also announces that Denver, Colorado,
would become the interim home of the Air Force Academy and tasked General
Hubert Harmon to evaluate possible sites.
1949 -- J. Douglas Crouch, Military Affairs Chairman of the Colorado Springs
Chamber of Commerce, sends a letter to
Secretary of the Air Force Stuart Symington, recommending Colorado Springs as
"an ideal location for the proposed United States Airforce Academy."
25 June 1954
-- Chaplain, Colonel John S. Bennett and Chaplain, Colonel Constantine E.
Zielinski report for duty as the Academy's first Protestant and Catholic
1991 -- Lieutenant General Bradley Hosmer, Class of '59, becomes the first Air
Force Academy graduate to serve as Superintendent.
1997 -- A T-3A Firefly crashes near Research Parkway and Explorer Drive, east
of the Academy, taking the lives of Captain Glen Comeaux and Cadet Pace Weber, Class
of '98. This was the third T-3 crash at
the Academy, leading to the plane's grounding a month later.
1999 -- The San Antonio Spurs, coached by Gregg Popovich, Class of '70, win the
National Basketball Association championship.
It is the first of four championships the Popovich-led team would win.
2012 -- The Academy conducts a change-of-command ceremony at which Brigadier
General Gregory Lengyel becomes the Commandant of Cadets.
2013 -- Brigadier General Andrew Armacost succeeds Brigadier General Dana Born,
Class of '83, as Dean of the Faculty.
1959 -- The first three Falcon Scholars, sponsored by the Falcon Foundation,
entered the Academy with the Class of '63.
1967 -- Colonel Frank Merritt becomes the Director of Athletics. He would serve in this position until June
1978 -- The Class of '82 enters the Academy, with the first five cadets in
history who were dependents of Academy alumni.
1987 -- The Academy conducts a change-of-command, at which Lieutenant General
Charles Hamm becomes the Academy Superintendent.
1992 -- Brigadier General Richard Bethurem, Class of '66, succeeds Brigadier
General Joseph Redden, Class of '64, as the Academy's Commandant of Cadets.
1993 -- Brigadier General Patrick Gamble becomes the Academy's 17th Commandant
of Cadets. A graduate of Texas A&M
University, he was the first non-USAFA grad Commandant in more than 12 years.
2007 -- The funeral for Dorothy Donnelly Moller is held in the Protestant Cadet
Chapel. Mrs. Moller and her husband, Colonel Joseph A. Moller, who passed away
in 1993, were selected to receive the Academy's 2003 Distinguished Service
Award. Among their many contributions, the
Mollers established the first major planned gift in Academy history.
2008 -- KAFA, the Academy radio station, broadcasts live from in-processing for
the first time. Station manager Dave
West provided listeners with updates and interviewed Academy staff members and
2006 -- General Kevin Chilton, Class of '76, a veteran of three Space Shuttle
flights , assumes command of Air Force Space Command in a ceremony at Peterson
AFB, Colorado. He pinned on the rank of
general in a promotion ceremony the morning of his assumption of command, thus
becoming the first astronaut to earn a fourth star.
1976 -- The first 157 female cadets begin training, as members of the Class of
'80. Joan Olsen was the first female
cadet to be sworn in - she did not graduate.
By mere days, the Air Force Academy was the first of the Department of
Defense service academies to admit women.
1977 -- Lieutenant General Kenneth Tallman becomes the Academy's eighth
Superintendent, taking the reins from Lieutenant General James Allen.
1988 -- Air Force Academy professor Dr. Robert Golobic and Hewlett-Packard
engineer Johann Sverdrup founded Spectranetics. Golobic and Sverdrup developed
medical lasers for heart surgery.
2012 -- Due to the Waldo Canyon Fire, the first phase of the Class of 16's
in-processing is moved from Doolittle Hall to the Field House. This marked the first time since 1993 that
in-processing did not begin at Doolittle Hall.
1954 -- Colonel Robert V. Whitlow is appointed as the Academy's first Director
of Athletics. He also coached the
football team to a 4-4record during its inaugural season in 1955. Colonel Whitlow served at Athletic Director
until June 1957.
1979 -- During its twenty-year reunion, the Class of '59 dedicates a plaque to
the Air Training Officers in Arnold Hall.
The ATOs served the role of upper classmen for the early classes during
the Lowry AFB days.
1992 -- The first international cadets from a former communist bloc country are
admitted to the Academy, as members of the Class of '96. The two cadets were citizens of Poland, and
29 June 2012
-- Colonel Kabrena Rodda, Class of '92, becomes the first female Preparatory
1954 -- Master Sergeant Lawrence Malchow of March Air Base, California, makes
the first gift to the yet-to-be-established foundation to support the
Academy. The check for $5 was sent to
Colorado Spring Mayor Harry Blunt with a request that it be placed "in a
trustee fund for purchase of the U.S. Air Force Academy site." The check could not be deposited until the
foundation was incorporated the following month.
1965 -- Colonel Virgil O'Connor retires from the Cadet Registrar and becomes
the first Academy officer to be awarded an honorary bachelor of science degree
by the Academy.
1972 -- The U.S. Court of Appeals rules that mandatory chapel attendance at the
three service academies is unconstitutional.
In December 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court declines to review the case,
and compulsory chapel ends in January 1973.
2007 -- The funeral for Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF, Retired, is held in
the Protestant Cadet Chapel. General
Olds, a triple ace
with seventeen kills in World War II and Vietnam, served as Academy Commandant
of Cadets 1967-1971.
The following story was done by SB Nation and discusses the difficulty in coaching at a service academy. SB Nation feels that the three service academy jobs are the most difficult in the FBS.
Air Force, Army, Navy head coaches explain football's 3
By Kevin Trahan, May 21 2014, 9:00a 19
America's service academies face tough recruiting restrictions
and still find success on the football field. SB Nation talked to head coaches
Ken Niumatalolo, Troy Calhoun, and Jeff Monken about adapting and contending
when the NCAA changed its policy to allow for unlimited meals, college coaches
championed it as a success for student-athletes and as a potential benefit in
recruiting. But for Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun, it was just
another reminder of what he's up against.
"That doesn't pertain to us," he said of the
Calhoun isn't bitter about the rule change. He knows it
benefits athletes at most schools and that it's necessary in a world more
focused on player welfare. And he knew in 2007, when he took the Air Force
Academy job, that he was signing up for one of the three toughest jobs in
At no other major football schools are recruits agreeing
to active military service when they sign to play football. At the academies,
physical training mandatory for a degree gets in the way of physical training
for football. And that's for the players who meet the height and weight
requirements for entry.
With these restrictions, among many others, it's a shock
that America's service academies can win any games in the top subdivision of
Division I. Because to win games, you have to recruit good players. And finding
good players with those restrictions is improbable, at best.
How do service academies recruit?
I posed that broad question to Calhoun, and his answer
started out simply enough: "I don't think our process is different than
anywhere else," he said.
On the surface, that's true. Calhoun and the coaches at
Army and Navy go out in search of the best football players in the country to
come to their schools, just like the coaches at every other Division I program.
But it comes with a caveat: "just, the filters that are involved are a lot
Just a few of those filters:
Academics. At Air Force, prospective players need to
have at least a 3.5 high school GPA, a 25 on the ACT in all subjects, and a
minimum of a 1200 two-part SAT score. Requirements are similarly rigorous at
the other service academies. Lt. Col. Gaylord Greene, who works in admissions
at Army, said coaches will often encourage recruits to take more core courses,
since the school requires more of them for entry than most others do.
Height and weight requirements. They differ slightly
by academy, but at Air Force, a 6'4 applicant cannot weigh more than 221 pounds
for admission -- and must also not weigh more than that upon graduation. This
makes recruiting offensive linemen very difficult. "I'd love to have a
bunch of 320-pound guys with good feet," Calhoun said. "We've never
had a 285-pound kid, which is very small for a Division I offensive lineman. We
usually average 255 pounds with our offensive line."
Mandatory military service. Unlike players who sign
a normal scholarship tender, athletes at the service academies sign on to serve
in active military duty after college. As expected, that "is a turnoff for
a lot of kids," according to new Army head coach Jeff Monken.
Apply the academic filter, and suddenly the pool of
prospects shrinks. The academies are forced to recruit similar kids as
Stanford, Duke, Northwestern, and the Ivy League schools, yet none of those
schools have to also worry about the additional filters of weight limits and
mandatory military service.
Opposing linemen regularly outweigh the academies' by 50
pounds or more. Scott Cunningham, Getty
The result is a national recruiting plan.
"I bet out of our two-deep, we might only have two
that are even from this time zone," Calhoun said. "Which, that is
That sounds really nice: "we recruit
nationally." After all, that's what powerhouses like Notre Dame pride
themselves on. However, Notre Dame recruits nationally because its name has
enough cachet to pull players from anywhere; the Irish don't have to just stick
with the players in the Midwest. The academies recruit nationally out of
necessity, because they could barely fill out a team if they recruited their
Even with a national recruiting plan, the academies
rarely beat out major-conference teams for players. And as Navy head coach Ken
Niumatalolo pointed out, even many lower-level FBS players think they can go to
the NFL. Whether that's true or not, it cuts the service academies out of the
picture for those players as well. So they tend to recruit against each other,
FCS schools, and maybe a MAC school every once in awhile.
Monken arrived at Army from FCS Georgia Southern this
year, and even though he jumped up a division, it might be tougher to get
"I think the service academies are the most
difficult places to recruit to in the nation," he said.
THE ACADEMIES ARE THE MOST DIFFICULT PLACES TO RECRUIT TO
IN THE NATION.
ARMY HEAD COACH JEFF MONKEN The recruiting rankings back
that up. According to 247 Sports, Air Force was the top-ranked service academy
in 2014, finishing 109th nationally. Army and Navy were 121st and 129th,
respectively, finishing among a group of FCS and low-level FBS schools. Only 10
of their collective 58 commits received three-star ratings. Star ratings
matter for football success, so the coaches at service academies need to be
creative in their recruiting approaches.
Since there is so much information in recruiting these
days, the academies can't really rely on fellow coaches to miss ready-made
prospects. Instead, they take chances on players they hope to develop.
Niumatalolo said his staff will look to identify
undersized offensive linemen, corners with 4.6-second 40-yard dash times, and
small defensive linemen who could turn into linebackers. It's an exhausting
process, but if coaches look hard enough, they can find enough players who fit
the very specific profiles. Once they find those players and get them to campus
for official visits, Niumatalolo claims 90 percent of them end up committing.
"Since we recruit all 50 states," he said,
"I believe there are enough student-athletes out there that have good
grades that are willing to serve their country after."
Adapting to the recruiting filters
The physical requirements at the service academies
dictate their on-field style. All three are known for running option offenses.
Navy, in particular, has become famous for perfecting the flexbone triple
option. Former Navy coach Paul Johnson brought it to Georgia Tech with
some success, with Monken a former assistant.
Because the academies can't have big offensive lines,
they rely on athletic linemen and option misdirection to create running lanes
and open up the field. The Midshipmen won a game in 2011 without
completing a pass, as did Monken's GSU against Florida in 2013. In the past six
years, all three academies have ranked in the FBS top four in rushing attempts
per game, along with Georgia Tech.