Former Falcon football player Bart Holaday earns special honor

    The United States Air Force Academy and the Association of Graduates are proud to announce the winners of the Academy's Distinguished Graduate Award for 2013. Each year, this award recognizes two graduates whose singular and distinctive contributions to our society and nation have set them apart from other alumni of the institution. The winners of the Distinguished Graduate Award for 2013 are Mr. A. Bart Holaday and General (Retired) William R. "Bill" Looney III. They will receive their awards at a formal presentation during the Air Force Academy Founders Day celebration on April 4, 2014. 


    Bart Holaday, Class of 1965, achieved a record of exceptional success as an Air Force officer, federal civil servant, venture capitalist and philanthropist. As a cadet, he was a varsity athlete, class president, Cadet Wing Commander and earned a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University.


    On active duty, Bart served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Systems Analysis, making several trips to MACV Headquarters in Vietnam. His leadership and accomplishments earned him the Meritorious Service Medal and the Joint Service Commendation Medal. Upon leaving the Air Force, he was recruited to a senior leadership position in the Department of Defense, serving as Director of the Econometrics Division in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Systems Analysis). In all, he completed eight years of federal government service in senior management leadership positions in the Department of Defense, the Department of the Interior and the Federal Energy Administration finishing as a GS-18 Deputy Assistant Administrator of the FEA. In more than 20 years as a venture capitalist, he was an industry leader ultimately serving as an officer and board member of the National Venture Capital Association. He co-chaired an industry task force that established the first portfolio valuation and performance measurements standards for private equity. In these positions he advanced his vision of building the American economy based on innovation, entrepreneurship, investment and hard work.


    As a philanthropist, he founded the Dakota Foundation, a foundation dedicated to funding entrepreneurial, non-profit organizations that help people help themselves in achieving greater economic self-sufficiency. The Dakota Foundation utilizes innovative investment tools and holds to a core belief that non-profit organizations can benefit from the application of business principles. An enthusiastic and life-long supporter of USAFA, he is the Founding Chairman of the USAFA Endowment, the named benefactor of the Holaday Athletic Center and a Trustee of the Falcon Foundation. Additionally, Bart funds a post-graduate Fellowship at Exeter College, Oxford University that each year sends a top graduate of the Air Force Academy to Exeter. He was also instrumental in the production of "Return with Honor," a movie documentary tribute to the Vietnam POWs.


    In recognition of his outstanding service and unfailing support of the Academy, he received the Academy's Distinguished Service Award in 2009. Bart Holaday is a man of humility, passion, selflessness, generosity and commitment. He lives the core values of Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in all that he does. His implicit and explicit life's legacy promotes the very best of the Air Force Academy and the Long Blue Line of graduates. 


    Also selected to receive the Distinguished Graduate Award is General William R. "Bill" Looney III, Class of 1972. General Looney embodies the core values of our Academy and the USAF--Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in all he does. As a cadet, his leadership abilities were recognized early as he was selected as Cadet Wing Sergeant Major, First Basic Cadet Training Commander, and Cadet Wing Commander, the first cadet to hold all three positions, during his junior and senior years at the Academy.


    After graduation, General Looney began a career that would take him around the world and to the highest levels of command in the United States Air Force. Again his leadership abilities were recognized early with selection to the Air Staff Training Program (ASTRA). As a squadron commander, his squadron was recognized as the best squadron in USAFE and the top air-to-air squadron in the Air Force. During his career, General Looney commanded a flight, a fighter squadron, two fighter wings, a joint task force, an air expeditionary force, a military college, a warfare center, a numbered air force, two acquisition centers, and a major command.


    At retirement, he had commanded more organizations than any other Air Force officer, past or present. During his 36-year career, he served on the Air Staff, the European Command Staff, and the Joint Staff and logged more than 4000 hours in a number of aircraft, with more than 2500 hours, including 62 combat hours, in the F-15 Eagle. General Looney received the AFA Man of the Year for California in 2001, the Congressional Citation of Merit in 2002, the Schriever Fellow Award in 2003, and the Hoyt S. Vandenberg Award for Aerospace Education in 2008.


    After retirement from the Air Force, General Looney has been the President of Integration Innovation, Incorporated (i3), a highly successful defense services company with U.S. and international clients; he has also served on a number of corporate boards and is a national security consultant to many Fortune 500 companies. A published author and sought-after motivational speaker on the power of leadership, he has enabled the next generation of leaders to be better and do better than they ever thought possible. A strong advocate for the Academy, he has been a life member of the Association of Graduates since his graduation and has generously supported the Academy with his time, talent and treasure. He is a guest lecturer on leadership and serves as a Governing Trustee for the Falcon Foundation. He holds the distinction of being the first Academy Falcon Scholar to reach the four-star rank. General Looney's lifetime of service and accomplishments clearly warrants his selection as a 2013 Distinguished Graduate.


    The tremendous efforts and accomplishments of Mr. Holaday and General Looney have enhanced the U.S. Air Force Academy, furthered the mission of the Air Force at large, and positively impacted the communities in which they live. Their examples of service and excellence in every endeavor are worthy of emulation and have served to enhance the reputation of the Air Force Academy and its graduates. Both men are truly exceptional representative of the Academy and its vision of "developing leaders of character for the nation."

    USAFA 60th Anniversary continues in February

    In commemoration of the Academy's 60th anniversary, the Academy Spirit will run a weekly feature throughout 2014. In each edition, we will highlight Academy events, milestones, and accomplishments that took place during the current week in history. This will include achievements by Air Force Academy graduates, as well as a few historic events that helped shape the Academy. The information has been compiled by Steve Simon, USAFA public affairs.

    1 February 1990 --The Academy's cadet chorale performs for President George Bush and members of Congress.

    3 February 1995 --Eileen Collins, former Air Force Academy  math assistant professorand T-41 instructor pilot, becomes the first femaleastronaut to pilot the space shuttle, as a member of the Discovery crewon mission STS-63.

    3 February 1999 -- Winds measured at up to 84 miles per hour strike the Academy, breaking windows, uprooting trees, and forcing the cancellation of flying operations.

    4 February 2008 -- Randy Spetman, Class of '76, is hired by Florida State University as its Director of Athletics. He had previously been director of athletics at the Academy and Utah State.

    5 February 1980 -- The Academy Board approves a test Stop-Out program for third classmen.  The program was indented to help reduce attrition. Participants resigned and were in a non-pay status for a one-year period. The program was discontinued in January 1993.

    5 February 2006 -- Bryce Fisher, Class of '99, plays in the NFL's Super Bowl XL for the Seattle Seahawks, who lost to Pittsburgh, 21-10.  He was the second Air Force Academy graduate to play in a Super Bowl, following Chad Hennings, Class of '88.

    6 February 1957 -- The men's basketball team defeats Colorado College 104-53, reaching the 100-point mark for the first time in school history.

    6 February 1978 -- More than 1,000 cadets are seen on sick call suffering from A/USSR/77 influenza.  Classes were cancelled for three days.

    6 February 1991 -- Flying an A-10, Captain Robert Swain, Class of '79, shoots down an Iraqi Bo 105C helicopter during combat operations over Iraq.  This is the first A-10 kill.  The aircraft Swain flew when recording his kill has been on display at the Academy, near the airfield, since 2002.

    6 February 2005 -- The Air Force Academy's Cadet Chorale teams up with the Naval Academy Glee Club, West Point Choir, and the Coast Guard Academy to perform the national anthem at Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville, Florida. This was the first time the four academies had performed together since former President Richard Nixon's 1973 inauguration ceremony.

    6 February 2012 -- President Barack Obama nominates Janet Wolfenbarger, Class of '80, for promotion to General, which upon Senate confirmation made her the Air Force's first female four-star general. She received her third star in December 2009 and became the Air Force's highest ranking woman in January 2010.

    7 February 1966 -- The first contract in the $40 million expansion program is awarded to construct the new dormitory (which would become Sijan Hall in 1976), to accommodate the increase in the size of the Cadet Wing to 4,417 cadets.

    7 February 1997 -- Space for the Band of the Rockies is completed at Peterson Air Force Base.  In 1993, the United States Air Force Academy Band had been administratively moved to Air Force Space Command and renamed the Band of the Rockies, but continued to support the Academy.  The Academy regained administrative control of the Band in 2003

    7 February 2003 -- H.T. Johnson, Class of '59, is directed by President George W. Bush to assume the duties of Acting Secretary of the Navy.

    8 February 2012 -- Dave Pilipovich is announced as the men's basketball team's head coach for the remainder of the season.  One month later, he is given the job permanently.

    9 February 2006 -- The Air Force releases a revised version of its religious guidelines, its latest step in a process started after a review at the Academy indicated a need for additional direction.

    11 February 2004 -- Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden speaks at the Academy as part of the National Character and Leadership Symposium.

    11 February 2012 -- The Air Force men's basketball program conducts a banner unveiling ceremony at halftime of its game versus Boise State. The banners honored two of the program's all-time greats, Bob Beckel, Class of '59, and Cliff Parsons, Class of'69. Incidentally, both players wore jersey number 34.

    12 February 1973 -- The release of Prisoners of War from southeast Asia begins in Hanoi, including several Air Force Academy graduates. Operation Homecoming continues until 29 March 1973, when all 591 American prisoners had been released and returned to the United States.

    13 February 1989 -- KAFA, the cadet radio station, returns to the air after a long absence.

    13 February 1980 -- Captain Steve Simon, Class of '77, a member of the Lake Placid Olympic Winter Games Torch Relay Team, participates in the Lake Placid Olympics Opening Ceremonies. He represented Wyoming (where he was stationed) as one of only 52 runners selected to carry the torch on the 1,000-mile relay and take part in all ceremonies during the Games.

    15 February 1961 -- The crash of a Boeing 707 in Brussels takes the lives of 73 persons, including the entire U.S. Figure Skating Team. Cadet Fourth Class William Hickox, Class of '64, and his sister Laurie were among those killed. They were en route to the World Figure Skating Championships in Prague, where they were to have competed in the pairs competition.

    16 February 2002 -- Legendary blues performer B.B. King plays a concert at Arnold Hall.

    16 February 2006 -- Vice Superintendent, Irv Halter, Class of '77, pins on his second star, making him the only Major General Vice Superintendent in service academy history.

    17 February 2004 -- Janet Therianos, Class of '80, isnominated for promotion to the grade of brigadier general, making her the first female Air Force Academy graduate selected for promotiontoflag officer rank.

    17 February 2004 -- Construction begins on the Cadet Area protective perimeter fence. It is the first phase of the plan to install approximately 8,000 feet of fencing in response to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks and the heightened security that followed.

    18 February 1954 -- The Senate Armed Services Committee begins hearings on a bill to establish an air force academy.

    20 February 2005 -- The Academy's Cadet Chorale sings the national anthem at the National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Game in Denver.

    20 February 2005 -- Fred Gregory, Class of '64, begins serving as Acting NASA Administrator. He served as NASA Deputy Administrator from 12 August 2002 until 4 November 2005 and was the first African-American Deputy Administrator.

    21 February 1981 -- Brigadier General Robert D. Beckel, Class of '59, becomes the first Air Force Academy graduate to serve as Commandant of Cadets.

    22 February 1957 -- General Hubert R. Harmon, first Academy Superintendent, passes away.

    22 February 1958 -- The first death of a member of the Cadet Wing occurs when Richard Davis, Class of '60, is killed in a private aircraft accident near Denver.

    22 February 2013 -- Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe becomes the first recipient of the Air Force Academy's Character and Leadership Award. The award is given to a U.S. citizen whose life, professional career and community service exemplify the finest examples of exemplary character and leadership in public service.

    23 February 1943 -- A U.S. Army Air Force C49J crashes on Blodgett Peak, west of the current Academy site.

    24 February 2009 -- Stubbs, the beloved 46-year-old horse who had been at the Academy Equestrian Center since 1980, passes away. A perfect employee, he worked six days a week, never took a vacation and never filed a complaint of any sort, Center Manager Billy Jack Barrett said of him.

    25 February 1988 -- A then-record crowd of 6,355 spectators at the Academy's Clune Arena watches the men's basketball team's 76-62 loss to Brigham Young.

    25 February 1999 -- The Exemplar Program begins, as the Class of 2000 chooses General Jimmy Doolittle as its exemplar and dedicates a Doolittle exhibit. The program provides each class with a role model to emulate.

    26 February 2013 -- Dr. Thomas Yechout, a professor of aeronautics, receives a patent for his design of angled wing tips for aircraft, known as rakelets. The new design promises to increase fuel efficiency.

    28 February 1979 -- Head Football Coach Bill Parcells makes the surprise announcement that he had resigned to accept a job as an assistant coach for the New York Giants of the National Football League.  He would go on to win two Super Bowls as a head coach at the professional level, both with the Giants.

    29 February 2012 - The Pacific Lutheran University Board of Regents meets to name Tom Krise, Class of '83, as its 13th president. Krise would become President effective 1 June 2012.

    Initial Coaches' Panel Rankings Released


    Air Force sophomore Josh Martinez is rated in the initial coaches' panel rankings for the 2013-14 wrestling season, released today by the NCAA. The final rankings will be one of the tools used as part of the selection process to determine the qualifiers for the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

    Martinez, an NCAA qualifier as a freshman, is currently rated fifth at 125 pounds with a 24-2 overall record on the season.

    Wrestlers in each weight class will be measured by winning percentage, rating percentage index (RPI) and coaches' rankings to earn spots for the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. The coaches' rankings are compiled by a vote of coaches representing each qualifying tournament. For ranking purposes, coaches may only consider a wrestler that has been designated as a starter at a respective weight class. In order to be eligible for the rankings, wrestlers must have participated in at least five matches against Division I opponents and have wrestled within the last 30 days.

    Air Force Academy 60th Anniversary countdown begins

      In commemoration of the Academy's 60th anniversary, the following are taken from a list of significant events in the history of Air Force athletics. The information has been compiled by Steve Simon of the Academy's communications area.

    1 January 1956  --  Buck Shaw is hired as the Academy's first football head coach.  He coached at Air Force for two seasons.He also coached in the NFL. He was the San Francisco 49rers first head coach, and also coached the Philadelphia Eagles. The Director of Athletics, Colonel Robert V. Whitlow, coached the Air Force team during the inaugural 1955 season.

    1 January 1959  -- The football team caps an undefeated season with a 0-0- tie against heavily favored Texas Christian University in the Cotton Bowl (when there were only four bowl games).

    1 January 1971  --  The football team loses 34-13 to Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl, the Academy's third trip to a bowl game. The Air Force Academy Band was also featured at the game.

    1 January 1978  --  Bill Parcells begins his tenure as Air Force Academy head football coach.  He left after one season, and went on to win two Super Bowls in 19 years as a head coach in the NFL.

    7 January 1956  -- The Academy fencing team is formed, under the direction of coach Caption Richard Bowman.

    9 January 1986  -- Air Force football coach Fisher DeBerry is named the major college football coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association..  He had led the team to a 12-1 record and a number fiveranking in the United Press post-season national poll, an Academy record high finish.

    10 January 1968  -- The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) passes a rule authorizing freshmen to compete in all intercollegiate varsity sporting events with the exception of football and basketball. The Academy makes these changes to its programs.

    13 January 1968  -- The Air Force basketball team plays Navy for the first time, beating the Midshipmen 98-88 in Annapolis.

    17 January 2004  -- Jeff Heidmous, Class of '77, is inducted into the National Water Polo Hall of Fame in St. Louis.  Heidmous played water polo at the Academy and is currently the head coach.

    29 January 1971  -- Ernie Jennings, Class of '71, is chosen in the 10th round of the NFL draft by San Francisco 49ers. Jennings, a consensus All-American considered the best wide receiver in Academy history.

    31 January 1993  -- Chad Hennings, Class of '88, wins the first of his three Super Bowl Championship rings with the Dallas Cowboys.

    Mountain West Images of the Year on conference website

    The Mountain West Conference has posted Images of the Year on the conference website instagram page at The images were provided by Clarkson Creative/NCAA Photos.


    Football, baseball star Baska part of winter graduation

     The Air Force Academy adds five new graduates to the Air Force on Wednesday morning at this fall semester's graduation and commissioning ceremony. David Baska, a football and baseball lettermen, will graduate with a B.S. in humanities and report to Vanderberg AFB, Calif., to serve as a space operations officer before going into acquisitions. 

    Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, Academy Superintendent, will be the guest speaker for the ceremony. The general will present the diplomas to the new graduates, along with Brig. Gen. Andrew Armacost, dean of the faculty.  After receiving their diplomas, the Academy's newest graduates will swear the oath of office and each will have family members pin on their new rank. These five new lieutenants bring the Air Force Academy's total number of graduates to 46,045 since the first graduating class, which was the Class of 1959. 

    Football photo among best images in 2013

    Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun leading the team out of the tunnel for a game this season was one of the images included in the 2013 Photos of the Year by Airman Magazine. To view the images, click on the link below.

    Watch Air Force at CSU at Watch

    The Air Force at Colorado State game will be televised on the internet only. To watch the telecast, you can visit the link below.

    Watch Air Force vs. UNLV on Watch ESPN

    The following link will allow fans to watch the Air Force - UNLV game via Watch ESPN.

    Track & Field Looking for Volunteers to Officiate Home Meets

    The Air Force track and field team is looking for volunteers to serve as officials during its home competitions for the upcoming 2013-14 season. Volunteers serve in roles ranging from timing and recording to serving as umpires for track events and judges for field events. For the 2013-14 season, Air Force will host home meets on five Fridays and seven Saturdays, with most volunteer stints lasting four-to-six hours (a complete list of home events can be found on the track schedule page_


    Training and certification sessions will take place at 8:15 a.m., on Saturday, Dec. 14, in the Falcon Athletic Center Auditorium. This session is not mandatory, however, and new officials can be trained in several positions that do require certification.


    Any individuals interested in volunteering as a competition official for home track meets during the 2013 season should contact Rich Schornstein, Officials Certification Chairman for USA Track and Field ( or Jim Murphy, Air Force's Coordinator of Officials ( by Monday, Dec. 9.


    Take advantage of this great opportunity to observe cadet-athletes in action and learn and serve in the Olympic sport of track and field.