United States Air Force Academy
Overview
The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA or Air Force) is an accredited college for the undergraduate education of officer candidates for the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

. Its campus is located immediately north of Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and most populous city of El Paso County, Colorado, United States. Colorado Springs is located in South-Central Colorado, in the southern portion of the state. It is situated on Fountain Creek and is located south of the Colorado...

 in El Paso County
El Paso County, Colorado
El Paso County is the most populous of the 64 counties of the state of Colorado of the United States, now more populous than Denver County. The United States Census Bureau concluded that the county population was 622,371 in 2010. In recent years, the population had come closer to that of Denver...

, Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, United States. The Academy's stated mission is "to educate, train, and inspire men and women to become officers of character, motivated to lead the United States Air Force in service to our nation." It is the youngest of the five United States service academies, having graduated its first class in 1959.
Encyclopedia
The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA or Air Force) is an accredited college for the undergraduate education of officer candidates for the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

. Its campus is located immediately north of Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and most populous city of El Paso County, Colorado, United States. Colorado Springs is located in South-Central Colorado, in the southern portion of the state. It is situated on Fountain Creek and is located south of the Colorado...

 in El Paso County
El Paso County, Colorado
El Paso County is the most populous of the 64 counties of the state of Colorado of the United States, now more populous than Denver County. The United States Census Bureau concluded that the county population was 622,371 in 2010. In recent years, the population had come closer to that of Denver...

, Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, United States. The Academy's stated mission is "to educate, train, and inspire men and women to become officers of character, motivated to lead the United States Air Force in service to our nation." It is the youngest of the five United States service academies, having graduated its first class in 1959. Graduates of the Academy's four-year program receive a Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science
A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years .-Australia:In Australia, the BSc is a 3 year degree, offered from 1st year on...

 degree, and most are commissioned as second lieutenant
Second Lieutenant
Second lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces.- United Kingdom and Commonwealth :The rank second lieutenant was introduced throughout the British Army in 1871 to replace the rank of ensign , although it had long been used in the Royal Artillery, Royal...

s in the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

. The Academy is also one of the largest tourist attractions in Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, attracting more than a million visitors each year.

The Air Force Academy is among the most selective colleges in the United States. U.S. News and World Report recently ranked it tied for 5th place in the category Undergraduate Engineering Programs. Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

magazine, in 2009, ranked the Academy the #2 public college in the United States and the #7 college overall in its "America's Best Colleges 2009" publication. Candidates for admission are judged on their academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, athletics and character. To gain admission, candidates must also pass a fitness test, undergo a thorough medical examination, and secure a nomination, which usually comes from the member of Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 in the candidate's home district. Recent incoming classes have had about 1,400 cadets; historically just under 1,000 of those will graduate. Tuition along with room and board are all paid for by the U.S. government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

. Cadets receive a monthly stipend, but incur a commitment to serve a number of years of military service after graduation.

The program at the Academy is guided by the Air Force's core values of "Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do", and based on four "pillars of excellence": military training, academics, athletics and character development. In addition to a rigorous military training regimen, cadets also take a broad academic course load with an extensive core curriculum in engineering, humanities, social sciences, basic sciences, military studies and physical education. All cadets participate in either intercollegiate or intramural athletics, and a thorough character development and leadership curriculum provides cadets a basis for future officership. Each of the components of the program is intended to give cadets the skills and knowledge that they will need for success as officers.

Establishment

Prior to the Academy's establishment, air power advocates had been pushing for a separate air force academy for decades. As early as 1918, Lieutenant Colonel A.J. Hanlon wrote, "As the Military and Naval Academies are the backbone of the Army and Navy, so must the Aeronautical Academy be the backbone of the Air Service. No service can flourish without some such institution to inculcate into its embryonic officers love of country, proper conception of duty, and highest regard for honor." Other officials expressed similar sentiments. In 1919, Congressman Charles F. Curry
Charles F. Curry
Charles Forrest Curry was a U.S. Representative from California and the father of Charles Forrest Curry, Jr.....

 introduced legislation providing for an Academy, but concerns about cost, curriculum and location led to its demise. In 1925, air power pioneer General Billy Mitchell testified on Capitol Hill that it was necessary "to have an air academy to form a basis for the permanent backbone of your air service and to attend to the…organizational part of it, very much the same way that West Point does for the Army, or that Annapolis does for the Navy." Mitchell's arguments did not gain traction with legislators, and it was not until the late 1940s that the concept of the United States Air Force Academy began to take shape.

Support for an air academy got a boost with the National Security Act of 1947
National Security Act of 1947
The National Security Act of 1947 was signed by United States President Harry S. Truman on July 26, 1947, and realigned and reorganized the U.S. Armed Forces, foreign policy, and Intelligence Community apparatus in the aftermath of World War II...

, which provided for the establishment of a separate Air Force within the United States military. As an initial measure, Secretary of the Air Force W. Stuart Symington negotiated an agreement where up to 25% of West Point
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

 and Annapolis
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in Annapolis, Maryland, United States...

 graduates could volunteer to receive their commissions in the newly-established Air Force. This was only intended to be a short term fix, however, and disagreements between the services quickly led to the establishment of the Service Academy Board by Secretary of Defense James Forrestal
James Forrestal
James Vincent Forrestal was the last Cabinet-level United States Secretary of the Navy and the first United States Secretary of Defense....

. In January 1950, the Service Academy Board, headed by Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

, then president of Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, concluded that the needs of the Air Force could not be met by the two existing U.S. service academies
United States military academies
The United States Service academies, also known as the United States Military Academies, are federal academies for the undergraduate education and training of commissioned officers for the United States armed forces.There are five U.S...

 and that an air force academy should be established.

Following the recommendation of the Board, Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 passed legislation in 1954 to begin the construction of the Air Force Academy, and President Eisenhower signed it into law on 1 April of that year. The legislation established an advisory commission to determine the site of the new school. Among the panel members were Charles Lindbergh
Charles Lindbergh
Charles Augustus Lindbergh was an American aviator, author, inventor, explorer, and social activist.Lindbergh, a 25-year-old U.S...

, General Carl Spaatz
Carl Spaatz
Carl Andrew "Tooey" Spaatz GBE was an American World War II general and the first Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. He was of German descent.-Early life:...

, and Lieutenant General Hubert R. Harmon
Hubert R. Harmon
Lieutenant General Hubert Reilly Harmon , after a distinguished combat career in World War II, was instrumental in developing plans for the establishment of the United States Air Force Academy...

, who later became the Academy's first superintendent. The original 582 sites considered were winnowed to three: Alton
Alton, Illinois
Alton is a city on the Mississippi River in Madison County, Illinois, United States, about north of St. Louis, Missouri. The population was 27,865 at the 2010 census. It is a part of the Metro-East region of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area in Southern Illinois...

, Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

; Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Lake Geneva is a city in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 7,148 at the 2000 census. A resort city located on Geneva Lake, it is southwest of Milwaukee and popular with tourists from metropolitan Chicago and Milwaukee.-History:...

, Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

; and the ultimate site at Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and most populous city of El Paso County, Colorado, United States. Colorado Springs is located in South-Central Colorado, in the southern portion of the state. It is situated on Fountain Creek and is located south of the Colorado...

, Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

. The Secretary of the Air Force, Harold E. Talbott
Harold E. Talbott
Harold Elstner Talbott, Jr. was the third United States Secretary of the Air Force.-Biography:He was born in Dayton, Ohio, in March 1888 and died in 1957...

, announced the winning site on 24 June 1954. Meanwhile, Air Training Command
Air Training Command
Air Training Command is a former major command of the United States Army Air Forces and United States Air Force. ATC came into being as a redesignation of the Army Air Forces Training Command on July 1, 1946...

 (ATC) began developing a detailed curriculum for the Academy program.

Early years

The early Air Force Academy leadership faced monumental tasks, including the development of an appropriate curriculum, establishment of a faculty, design of a distinctive cadet uniform, oversight of the construction of the permanent site, and the creation of a structure for military and flight training. To establish the foundations of the Academy program, officials ultimately drew from sources within the Air Force, from West Point and Annapolis, and occasionally from outside the military entirely.

The Academy's permanent site had not yet been completed when the first class entered, so the 306 cadet
Cadet
A cadet is a trainee to become an officer in the military, often a person who is a junior trainee. The term comes from the term "cadet" for younger sons of a noble family.- Military context :...

s from the Class of 1959 were sworn in at a temporary site at Lowry Air Force Base
Lowry Air Force Base
Lowry Air Force Base is a former United States Air Force base located in the cities of Aurora and Denver, Colorado. Its primary mission throughout its existence was Air Force technical training and was heavily involved with the training of United States Army Air Forces bomber crews during World...

, in Denver
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

 on 11 July 1955. While at Lowry, they were housed in renovated World War II barracks. There were no upper class cadets to train the new cadets, so the Air Force appointed a cadre of "Air Training Officer
Air Training Officer
Air Training Officers were specially selected commissioned officers who served as surrogate upperclass cadets at the United States Air Force Academy.-Establishment of the Air Force Academy:...

s" (ATOs) to conduct training. The ATOs were junior officers, many of whom were graduates of West Point, Annapolis and The Citadel. They acted as surrogate upper class cadets until the upper classes could be populated over the next several years. The Academy's dedication ceremony took place on that first day and was broadcast live on national television, with Walter Cronkite
Walter Cronkite
Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr. was an American broadcast journalist, best known as anchorman for the CBS Evening News for 19 years . During the heyday of CBS News in the 1960s and 1970s, he was often cited as "the most trusted man in America" after being so named in an opinion poll...

 covering the event.

In developing a distinctive uniform for cadets, Secretary of the Air Force Harold Talbott was looking for "imagination" in the design. Talbott initially used military tailors, but was unhappy with their products. As a result, the first classes of cadets wore temporary uniforms while the official uniform was developed. Secretary Talbott then sought out legendary Hollywood
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Hollywood is a famous district in Los Angeles, California, United States situated west-northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Due to its fame and cultural identity as the historical center of movie studios and movie stars, the word Hollywood is often used as a metonym of American cinema...

 director Cecil B. DeMille
Cecil B. DeMille
Cecil Blount DeMille was an American film director and Academy Award-winning film producer in both silent and sound films. He was renowned for the flamboyance and showmanship of his movies...

 for help. DeMille's designs, especially his design of the cadet parade uniform, won praise from Air Force and Academy leadership, were ultimately adopted, and are still worn by cadets today.

The Class of 1959 established many other important traditions that continue until the present. The first class adopted the Cadet Honor Code
Cadet Honor Code
Both the United States Military Academy and the United States Air Force Academy have adopted a Cadet Honor Code as a formalized statement of the minimum standard of ethics expected of cadets. Other military schools have similar codes with their own methods of administration...

, and chose the falcon
Falcon
A falcon is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America....

 as the Academy's mascot. In 1957, the Air Force cadets marched in the Inaugural Parade of President Dwight Eisenhower in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

. On 29 August 1958, the wing
Wing (air force unit)
Wing is a term used by different military aviation forces for a unit of command. The terms wing, group or Staffel are used for different-sized units from one country or service to another....

 of 1,145 cadets moved to the present site near Colorado Springs, and less than a year later the Academy received accreditation. The first USAFA class graduated and was commissioned on 3 June 1959.

Vietnam

The Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 was the first war in which Academy graduates fought and died. As such, it had a profound effect on the development of the character of the Academy. Due to the need for more pilots, Academy enrollment grew significantly during this time. The size of the graduating classes went from 217 cadets in 1961 to 745 cadets in 1970. Academy facilities were likewise expanded, and training was modified to better meet the needs of the wartime Air Force. The Jacks Valley field training area was added, the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) program was expanded, and light aircraft training started in 1968.

Many Academy graduates of this era served with distinction in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. F-4 Phantom II
F-4 Phantom II
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter/fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. It first entered service in 1960 with the U.S. Navy. Proving highly adaptable,...

 pilot Steve Ritchie '64 and F-4 Phantom II weapon systems officer
Weapon systems officer
A Weapon Systems Officer is an air Flight Officer directly involved in all air operations and weapon systems of the fighter in the United States Navy. A Weapon Systems Officer ("WSO", pronounced "wizzo") is an air Flight Officer directly involved in all air operations and weapon systems of the...

 Jeffrey Feinstein
Jeffrey Feinstein
Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey S. Feinstein was a career officer in the United States Air Force. In 1972 during the Vietnam War, while flying as a weapon systems officer aboard F-4 Phantom IIs, Feinstein downed five enemy aircraft, thereby becoming a flying ace, the last ace produced by the USAF.Born...

 '68 each became aces
Flying ace
A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down several enemy aircraft during aerial combat. The actual number of aerial victories required to officially qualify as an "ace" has varied, but is usually considered to be five or more...

 by downing five enemy aircraft in combat. One hundred forty-one graduates died in the conflict; thirty-two graduates became prisoners of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

. Lance Sijan
Lance Sijan
Lance Peter Sijan was a United States Air Force officer and fighter pilot...

, '65, fell into both categories and became the first Academy graduate to be awarded the Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

 due to his heroism while evading capture and in captivity. Sijan Hall, one of the cadet dormitories, is named in his memory.

The effects of the anti-war movement were felt at the Academy as well. Because the Academy grounds are generally open to the public, the Academy often became a site for protests by anti-war demonstrators. Regular demonstrations were held at the Cadet Chapel
United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel
The United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel, completed in 1962, is the distinguishing feature of the Cadet Area at the United States Air Force Academy. It was designed by renowned architect Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill of Chicago. Construction was accomplished by Robert E....

, and cadets often became the targets of protesters' insults. Other aggravating factors were the presence in the Cadet Wing of cadets motivated to attend the Academy for reasons of draft
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 avoidance, and a number of highly publicized cheating scandals. Morale sometimes suffered as a consequence.

Women at the Academy

One of the most significant events in the history of the Academy was the admission of women. On 7 October 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed legislation permitting women
Woman
A woman , pl: women is a female human. The term woman is usually reserved for an adult, with the term girl being the usual term for a female child or adolescent...

 to enter the United States service academies. On 26 June 1976, 157 women entered the Air Force Academy with the Class of 1980. Because there were no female upper class cadets, the Air Training Officer
Air Training Officer
Air Training Officers were specially selected commissioned officers who served as surrogate upperclass cadets at the United States Air Force Academy.-Establishment of the Air Force Academy:...

 model used in the early years of the Academy was revived, and fifteen young female officers were brought in to help with the integration process. The female cadets were initially segregated from the rest of the Cadet Wing but were fully integrated into their assigned squadrons after their first semester. On 28 May 1980, 97 of the original female cadets completed the program and graduated from the Academy—just over 10% of the graduating class. Women have made up just over 20% of the most recent classes.

Many of the women from those early classes went on to achieve success within the Cadet Wing and after graduation (see list of Academy graduates below). Despite these successes, integration issues were long apparent. Female cadets have had consistently higher dropout rates than men and have left the Air Force in higher numbers than men. Some male cadets also believed that the presence of women had softened the rigors of Academy life and that women received special treatment. According to at least one commentator, as many as ten percent of male Academy graduates in the late 1970s and early 1980s requested Army commissions, in part because of controversy over such issues. The Class of 1979, the last all-male class, went so far as to unofficially label themselves "LCWB," or "Last Class With Balls" an abbreviation that appeared on many of their class-specific items and still appears at reunions, sporting events and other Academy alumni functions.

Campus and facilities

The campus of the Academy covers 18,000 acres (73 km²) on the east side of the Rampart Range of the Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

, just north of Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and most populous city of El Paso County, Colorado, United States. Colorado Springs is located in South-Central Colorado, in the southern portion of the state. It is situated on Fountain Creek and is located south of the Colorado...

. Its altitude is normally given as 7,258 feet (2,212 m) above sea-level, which is the elevation of the cadet area. The Academy was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP is an American architectural and engineering firm that was formed in Chicago in 1936 by Louis Skidmore and Nathaniel Owings; in 1939 they were joined by John O. Merrill. They opened their first branch in New York City, New York in 1937. SOM is one of the largest...

 (SOM) and lead architect Walter Netsch
Walter Netsch
Walter Netsch was an American architect based in Chicago. He was most closely associated with the brutalist style of architecture, as well as the firm of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. His signature aesthetic is known as Field Theory and is based on rotating squares into complex shapes...

. SOM partner John O. Merrill
John O. Merrill
John Ogden Merrill Sr. was an American architect and structural engineer. He was chiefly responsible for the design and construction of the United States Air Force Academy campus and for the development of Oak Ridge, Tennessee where the atomic bomb was developed...

 moved from Chicago to a Colorado Springs field office to oversee the construction. Merrill was a project spokesman for the project.

The most controversial aspect of the SOM-designed Air Force Academy was its chapel. It was designed by SOM architect Walter Netsch, who at one point was prepared to abandon the design; but the accordion-like structure is acknowledged as an iconic symbol of the academy campus.

The Cadet Area

The buildings in the Cadet Area were designed in a distinct, modernist style, and make extensive use of aluminum on building exteriors, suggesting the outer skin of aircraft or spacecraft. On 1 April 2004, fifty years after Congress authorized the building of the Academy, the Cadet Area at the Academy was designated a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

.

The main buildings in the Cadet Area are set around a large, square pavilion known as ‘‘the Terrazzo’‘. Most recognizable is the 17-spired Cadet Chapel
United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel
The United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel, completed in 1962, is the distinguishing feature of the Cadet Area at the United States Air Force Academy. It was designed by renowned architect Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill of Chicago. Construction was accomplished by Robert E....

. The subject of controversy when it was first built, it is now considered among the most prominent examples of modern American academic architecture. Other buildings on the Terrazzo include ‘‘Vandenberg Hall’‘ and ‘‘Sijan Hall’‘, the two dormitories; ‘‘Mitchell Hall’‘, the cadet dining facility; and ‘‘Fairchild Hall’‘ the main academic building, which houses academic classrooms, laboratories, research facilities, faculty offices and the Robert F. McDermott
Robert F. McDermott
Brigadier General Robert Francis McDermott was the first permanent Dean of the Faculty at the United States Air Force Academy, and later served as Chairman and CEO of USAA. He is often referred to as the "Father of Modern Military Education" for his contributions to that field...

 Library.

The ‘‘Aeronautics Research Center’‘ (also known as the "Aero Lab") contains numerous aeronautical research facilities, including transonic, subsonic, low speed, and cascade wind tunnel
Wind tunnel
A wind tunnel is a research tool used in aerodynamic research to study the effects of air moving past solid objects.-Theory of operation:Wind tunnels were first proposed as a means of studying vehicles in free flight...

s; engine and rocket test cells; and simulators. The ‘‘Consolidated Education and Training Facility (CETF)’‘ was built in 1997 as an annex to Fairchild Hall. It contains chemistry and biology classrooms and labs, medical and dental clinics and civil engineering and astronautics laboratories. The Cadet Area also contains an observatory and a planetarium for academic use and navigation training.

The cadet social center is ‘‘Arnold Hall’‘ which houses a 3000-seat theater, a ballroom and a number of lounge, dining and recreation facilities for cadets and visitors. ‘‘Harmon Hall’‘ is the primary administration building, which houses the offices of the Superintendent and the Superintendent's staff.

The Cadet Area also contains extensive facilities for use by cadets participating in intercollegiate athletics, intramural athletics, physical education classes and other physical training. Set amid numerous outdoor athletic fields are the ‘‘Cadet Gymnasium’‘ and the ‘‘Cadet Fieldhouse’‘. The Fieldhouse is the home to Clune Arena
Clune Arena
Clune Arena is a part of the Cadet Fieldhouse, a multi-purpose sports complex at the United States Air Force Academy. The fieldhouse complex houses track, hockey, and basketball. "Clune Arena" is the Men's and Women's Basketball arena. It was named after long-time USAFA Director of Athletics,...

, the ice hockey rink
Cadet Field House Ice Arena
The Cadet Ice Arena is a 2,502-seat hockey rink on the grounds of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is home to the Academy's Falcon ice hockey team. It was built in 1968, and is part of the Cadet Field House, which also includes Clune Arena. The team now...

 and an indoor track, which doubles as an indoor practice facility for a number of sports. ‘‘Falcon Stadium
Falcon Stadium
Falcon Stadium is an outdoor football stadium on the campus of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is the home field of the Air Force Falcons of the Mountain West Conference...

’‘, located outside of the Cadet Area, is the football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 field and site of the graduation ceremonies.

Commemorative displays

Many displays around the Cadet Area commemorate heroes and air power pioneers, and serve as an inspiration to cadets. The ‘‘War Memorial’‘, a black marble wall located just under the flagpole on the Terrazzo, is etched with the names of Academy graduates who have been killed in combat. The ‘‘Honor Wall,’‘ overlooking the Terrazzo
Terrazzo
Terrazzo is a composite material poured in place or precast, which is used for floor and wall treatments. It consists of marble, quartz, granite, glass or other suitable chips, sprinkled or unsprinkled, and poured with a binder that is cementitious, chemical or a combination of both...

, is inscribed with the Cadet Honor Code
Cadet Honor Code
Both the United States Military Academy and the United States Air Force Academy have adopted a Cadet Honor Code as a formalized statement of the minimum standard of ethics expected of cadets. Other military schools have similar codes with their own methods of administration...

: "We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does." Just under the Cadet Chapel, the ‘‘Class Wall’‘ bears the crests of each of the Academy's graduating classes. The crest of the current first (senior) class is displayed in the center position. Another display often used as a symbol of the Academy, the ‘‘Eagle and Fledglings Statue’‘ was given as a gift to the Academy in 1958 by the personnel of Air Training Command
Air Training Command
Air Training Command is a former major command of the United States Army Air Forces and United States Air Force. ATC came into being as a redesignation of the Army Air Forces Training Command on July 1, 1946...

. It contains the inscription by Austin Dusty Miller, "Man's flight through life is sustained by the power of his knowledge." Static air- and spacecraft displays on the Academy grounds include an F-4
F-4 Phantom II
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter/fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. It first entered service in 1960 with the U.S. Navy. Proving highly adaptable,...

, F-15, F-16 and F-105 on the Terrazzo
Terrazzo
Terrazzo is a composite material poured in place or precast, which is used for floor and wall treatments. It consists of marble, quartz, granite, glass or other suitable chips, sprinkled or unsprinkled, and poured with a binder that is cementitious, chemical or a combination of both...

; a B-52 by the North Gate; a T-38
T-38 Talon
The Northrop T-38 Talon is a twin-engine supersonic jet trainer. It was the world's first supersonic trainer and is also the most produced. The T-38 remains in service as of 2011 in air forces throughout the world....

 and A-10
A-10 Thunderbolt II
The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is an American single-seat, twin-engine, straight-wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic in the early 1970s. The A-10 was designed for a United States Air Force requirement to provide close air support for ground forces by attacking tanks,...

 at the airfield; an F-100
F-100 Super Sabre
The North American F-100 Super Sabre was a supersonic jet fighter aircraft that served with the United States Air Force from 1954 to 1971 and with the Air National Guard until 1979. The first of the Century Series collection of USAF jet fighters, it was the first USAF fighter capable of...

 by the preparatory school; a SV-5J lifting body next to the aeronautics laboratory; and a Minuteman III missile in front of the Fieldhouse. The Minuteman III was removed in August 2008 due to rusting and other internal damage.

The ‘‘Core Values Ramp’‘ (formerly known as the ‘’Bring Me Men Ramp’’) leads down from the main Terrazzo level toward the parade field. On in-processing day, new cadets arrive at the base of the ramp and start their transition into military and Academy life by ascending the ramp to the Terrazzo
Terrazzo
Terrazzo is a composite material poured in place or precast, which is used for floor and wall treatments. It consists of marble, quartz, granite, glass or other suitable chips, sprinkled or unsprinkled, and poured with a binder that is cementitious, chemical or a combination of both...

. From 1964 to 2004, the portal at the base of the ramp was inscribed with the words ’’Bring me men... ’’ taken from the poem, "The Coming American," by Samuel Walter Foss
Sam Walter Foss
Sam Walter Foss was an American librarian and poet whose works included The House by the Side of the Road and The Coming American.-Biography:...

. In a controversial move following the 2003 sexual assault scandal, the words "Bring me men..." were taken down and replaced with the Academy's (later adopted as the Air Force's) core values: "Integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do."

Other locations on campus

Other locations on campus serve support roles for cadet training and other base functions. Doolittle Hall is the headquarters of the Academy's Association of Graduates and also serves as the initial reception point for new cadets arriving for Basic Cadet Training. It is named after General Jimmy Doolittle
Jimmy Doolittle
General James Harold "Jimmy" Doolittle, USAF was an American aviation pioneer. Doolittle served as a brigadier general, major general and lieutenant general in the United States Army Air Forces during the Second World War...

. The Goldwater Visitor Center, named after longtime proponent of the Academy United States Senator Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater
Barry Morris Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure during the first half of the 1960s, he was known as "Mr...

, is the focal point for family, friends and tourists visiting the Academy grounds. The Academy Airfield
Aerodrome
An aerodrome, airdrome or airfield is a term for any location from which aircraft flight operations take place, regardless of whether they involve cargo, passengers or neither...

is used for training cadets in airmanship courses, including parachute training, soaring and powered flight. Interment at the ’‘Academy Cemetery’‘
United States Air Force Academy Cemetery
The United States Air Force Academy Cemetery is a cemetery at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.-Notable interments:* William J. Crawford, World War II Medal of Honor recipient...

 is limited to Academy cadets and graduates, certain senior officers, certain Academy staff members, and certain other family members. Air power notables Carl Spaatz
Carl Spaatz
Carl Andrew "Tooey" Spaatz GBE was an American World War II general and the first Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. He was of German descent.-Early life:...

, Curtis E. LeMay and Robin Olds
Robin Olds
Robin Olds was an American fighter pilot and general officer in the U.S. Air Force. He was a "triple ace", with a combined total of 16 victories in World War II and the Vietnam War. He retired in 1973 as a brigadier general....

, are interred here.

The United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School
United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School
The U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School—usually referred to as "the Prep School" or "The P School"—was established in May 1961. The school's founder and first commander was Colonel Lee Charles Black. It is located on the campus of the United States Air Force Academy near the Community Center...

(usually referred to as the "Prep School") is a program offered to selected individuals who were not able to obtain appointments directly to the Academy. The program involves intense academic preparation (particularly in English, math and science), along with athletic and military training, meant to prepare the students for appointment to the Academy. A high percentage of USAFA Preparatory School
United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School
The U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School—usually referred to as "the Prep School" or "The P School"—was established in May 1961. The school's founder and first commander was Colonel Lee Charles Black. It is located on the campus of the United States Air Force Academy near the Community Center...

 students (known as "Preppies") earn appointments to the Academy following their year at the Prep School.

The Honor Code and character education

The Cadet Honor Code
Cadet Honor Code
Both the United States Military Academy and the United States Air Force Academy have adopted a Cadet Honor Code as a formalized statement of the minimum standard of ethics expected of cadets. Other military schools have similar codes with their own methods of administration...

 is the cornerstone of a cadet's professional training and development — the minimum standard of ethical conduct that cadets expect of themselves and their fellow cadets. The Honor Code was developed and adopted by the Class of 1959, the first class to graduate from the Academy and has been handed down to every subsequent class. The Code itself is simple:
We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.


In 1984, the Cadet Wing voted to add an "Honor Oath," which was to be taken by all cadets. The oath is administered to fourth class cadets (freshmen) when they are formally accepted into the Wing at the conclusion of Basic Cadet Training. The oath remains unchanged since its adoption in 1984 and consists of a statement of the code, followed by a resolution to live honorably:
Cadets are considered the "guardians and stewards" of the Code. Cadet honor representatives are chosen by senior leadership, and oversee the honor system by conducting education classes and investigating suspected honor violations. Cadets throughout the Wing are expected to sit on Honor Boards as juries
Jury
A jury is a sworn body of people convened to render an impartial verdict officially submitted to them by a court, or to set a penalty or judgment. Modern juries tend to be found in courts to ascertain the guilt, or lack thereof, in a crime. In Anglophone jurisdictions, the verdict may be guilty,...

 that determine whether their fellow cadets violated the code. Cadets also recommend sanctions for violations. The presumed sanction for an honor violation is disenrollment, but mitigating factors may result in the violator being placed in a probationary status for some period of time. This "honor probation" is usually only reserved for cadets in their first two years at the Academy.

To reinforce the importance of honor, character and integrity to future officers, cadets are given an extensive character and leadership curriculum. The Academy's Character and Leadership Education Division provides classroom, seminar, workshop and experiential-based learning programs to all cadets, beginning when they enter Basic Cadet Training and continuing each year through their last semester at the Academy. The Center's programs, when coupled with the Honor Code and Honor System, establish a foundation for the "leaders of character" that the Academy aspires to produce.

Organization

The Academy's organization is unusual in a number of respects. Because it is primarily a military unit, much of the Academy's structure is set up like that of any other Air Force Base. This is particularly true of the non-cadet units—most assigned to the 10th Air Base Wing
10th Air Base Wing
The 10th Air Base Wing is a non-flying United States Air Force unit that is the host wing for the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.-Components:...

—that provide base services such as security and engineering. Because the Academy is also a university, however, the organization of the faculty and the Cadet Wing have some aspects that are more similar to the faculty and student body at a civilian college.

The Cadet Wing

The student body of the Academy is known as the Cadet Wing. The students, called "cadets", are divided into four classes, based on their year in school, much like a civilian college. They are not referred to as freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors
Student
A student is a learner, or someone who attends an educational institution. In some nations, the English term is reserved for those who attend university, while a schoolchild under the age of eighteen is called a pupil in English...

, however, but as fourth-, third-, second- and first class cadets
United States Air Force Academy Cadet Insignia
-Cadet Rank Insignia:-Current Cadet Squadrons:-Defunct Cadet Squadron Insignia:-Merit lists:Cadet merit list insignia are worn by those cadets who excel militarily , academically , or athletically...

, respectively. Fourth class cadets (freshmen) are sometimes referred to as "doolies," a term derived from the Greek word δουλος ("doulos") meaning "slave" or "servant." Members of the three lower classes are also referred to as "4 degrees," "3 degrees" or "2 degrees" based on their class. First-class cadets (seniors) are referred to as "firsties." In the military structure of the Cadet Wing, first class cadets hold the positions of cadet officers, second class cadets act as the cadet non-commissioned officers and third class cadets represent the cadet junior non-commissioned officers.

The Cadet Wing is divided into four groups
Group (air force unit)
A group is a military aviation unit, a component of military organization and a military formation. Usage of the terms group and wing differ from one country to another, as well as different branches of a defence force, in some cases...

, of ten cadet squadron
Squadron (aviation)
A squadron in air force, army aviation or naval aviation is mainly a unit comprising a number of military aircraft, usually of the same type, typically with 12 to 24 aircraft, sometimes divided into three or four flights, depending on aircraft type and air force...

s each. Each cadet squadron consists of about 110 cadets, roughly evenly distributed among the four classes. Selected first-, second- and third-class cadets hold leadership, operational and support jobs at the squadron, group and wing levels. Cadets live, march and eat meals with members of their squadrons. Military training and intramural athletics are conducted by squadron as well. Each cadet squadron and cadet group is supervised by a specially selected active duty officer called an Air Officer Commanding
Air Officer Commanding
Air Officer Commanding is a title given in the air forces of Commonwealth nations to an air officer who holds a command appointment. Thus, an air vice marshal might be the AOC 38 Group...

 (AOC). In the case of a cadet squadron, the AOC is normally an active duty Air Force major
Major (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, major is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel...

. For a cadet group, the AOC is normally an active-duty lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of major and just below the rank of colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of commander in the other uniformed services.The pay...

. These officers have command authority over the cadets, counsel cadets on leadership and military career issues, oversee military training and serve as role models for the future officers.

Base organization

The Superintendent of the Academy is the commander and senior officer. The position of Superintendent is normally held by an active-duty lieutenant general
Lieutenant General (United States)
In the United States Army, the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps, lieutenant general is a three-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-9. Lieutenant general ranks above major general and below general...

. The superintendent's role is roughly similar to that of the president of a civilian university. As such, the Superintendent oversees all aspects of the Academy, including military training, academics, athletics, admissions and the administration of the base. The Academy is a Direct Reporting Unit
Direct Reporting Unit
A Direct Reporting Unit is an agency of the United States Department of the Air Force that is outside the bounds of the standard organizational hierarchy by being exclusively and uniquely under the control of Air Force headquarters alone, rather than reporting through a Major Command...

 within the Air Force, so the Superintendent reports directly to the Air Force Chief of Staff
Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force
The Chief of Staff of the Air Force is a statutory office held by a four-star general in the United States Air Force, and is the most senior uniformed officer assigned to serve in the Department of the Air Force, and as such is the principal military advisor and a deputy to the Secretary of the...

.

Those reporting to the Superintendent include the Dean of the Faculty and Commandant of Cadets, each of whom typically holds the rank of brigadier general
Brigadier General
Brigadier general is a senior rank in the armed forces. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of colonel and major general. When appointed to a field command, a brigadier general is typically in command of a brigade consisting of around 4,000...

, as well as the Director of Athletics, the Commander of the 10th Air Base Wing
10th Air Base Wing
The 10th Air Base Wing is a non-flying United States Air Force unit that is the host wing for the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.-Components:...

 and the Commander of the Prep School
United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School
The U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School—usually referred to as "the Prep School" or "The P School"—was established in May 1961. The school's founder and first commander was Colonel Lee Charles Black. It is located on the campus of the United States Air Force Academy near the Community Center...

, each of whom typically holds the rank of colonel
Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

. The 10th Air Base Wing provides all base support functions that exist at other air force bases, including civil engineering, communications, medical support, personnel, administration, security and base services. The Preparatory School provides an academic, athletic and military program for qualified young men and women who may need certain additional preparation prior to acceptance to the Academy. All flying programs at the Academy are run by the 306th Flying Training Group
306th Flying Training Group
The 306th Flying Training Group is a unit of the United States Air Force, assigned to the Air Education and Training Command's Nineteenth Air Force...

, which reports to the Air Education and Training Command
Air Education and Training Command
Air Education and Training Command was established July 1, 1993, with the realignment of Air Training Command and Air University. It is one of the U.S. Air Force's ten major commands and reports to Headquarters, United States Air Force....

, ensuring uniformity of flight training with the rest of the Air Force.

Board of Visitors

Congressional oversight of the Academy is exercised through a Board of Visitors, established under Title 10, United States Code, Section 9355. The Board inquires into the morale, discipline, curriculum, instruction, physical equipment, fiscal affairs, academic methods and other matters relating to the Academy. The Board meets at least four times per year and prepares semi-annual reports containing its views and recommendations submitted concurrently to the Secretary of Defense, the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the House Armed Services Committee. The 15 members of the board are variously appointed by the President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

, the Vice President
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

, the Senate and House Armed Services Committees and the Speaker of the House of Representatives
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, or Speaker of the House, is the presiding officer of the United States House of Representatives...

. Since 2006, the Board has been required to include at least two Academy graduates. In July 2009, Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro Pelosi is the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives and served as the 60th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011...

 appointed Colorado Congressman Jared Polis
Jared Polis
Jared Schutz Polis is an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and U.S. Representative for , serving since 2009. He is a member of the Democratic Party...

 to the BOV, the first openly gay person to serve on a service academy’s advisory board.

Military training

See also: Sandhurst Competition
Sandhurst Competition
The Sandhurst Military Skills Competition is a military skills competition at West Point that first began in 1967 with the presentation of a British officer's sword to the United States Corps of Cadets by the British Exchange Officer. Last year's event, dubbed SANCOM10 , was a two-day event...

 (a military skills event)


Cadets' military training occurs throughout their time at the Academy, but is especially intense during their four summers. The first military experience for new cadets (called "basic cadets") occurs during the six weeks of Basic Cadet Training (BCT), in the summer before their fourth class (freshman) year. During BCT, also known as "beast," cadets learn the fundamentals of military and Academy life under the leadership of a cadre of first and second class cadets. Basic cadets learn military customs and courtesies, proper wear of the uniform, drill and ceremony, and study military knowledge and undergo a rigorous physical training program. During the second half of BCT, basic cadets march to Jacks Valley, where they complete the program in a field encampment environment. Upon completion of BCT, basic cadets receive their fourth-class shoulder boards
United States Air Force Academy Cadet Insignia
-Cadet Rank Insignia:-Current Cadet Squadrons:-Defunct Cadet Squadron Insignia:-Merit lists:Cadet merit list insignia are worn by those cadets who excel militarily , academically , or athletically...

, take the Honor Oath and are formally accepted as members of the Cadet Wing.

The fourth-class (freshman) year is traditionally the most difficult at the Academy, militarily. In addition to their full academic course loads, heavy demands are placed on fourth class cadets outside of class. Fourth class cadets are expected to learn an extensive amount of military and Academy-related knowledge and have significant restrictions placed on their movement and actions—traversing the Cadet Area only by approved routes (including staying on the marble "strips" on the Terrazzo) and interacting with upper class cadets using a very specific decorum. The fourth class year ends with "Recognition," a physically and mentally demanding several-day event which culminates in the award of the Prop and Wings
Prop and Wings
The Prop and Wings is a military insignia used to identify various aviation-related units in the United States military. The Prop and Wings originated as branch insignia of the United States Army Air Service in 1920, and remained such from 1926 to 1947 for the successor United States Army Air Corps...

 insignia to the fourth class cadets, signifying their ascension to the ranks of upper class cadets. After Recognition, the stringent rules of the fourth class year are relaxed.

After the first year, cadets have more options for summer military training. Between their fourth and third class years, cadets undergo training in Air Force operations in a deployed environment (called "Global Engagement") and may participate in flying gliders
Glider (sailplane)
A glider or sailplane is a type of glider aircraft used in the sport of gliding. Some gliders, known as motor gliders are used for gliding and soaring as well, but have engines which can, in some cases, be used for take-off or for extending a flight...

 or free-fall parachute training
Parachuting
Parachuting, also known as skydiving, is the action of exiting an aircraft and returning to earth with the aid of a parachute. It may or may not involve a certain amount of free-fall, a time during which the parachute has not been deployed and the body gradually accelerates to terminal...

. From the late 1960s until the mid-1990s, cadets also completed SERE training in the Jacks Valley complex between their fourth- and third-class years. This program was replaced with Combat Survival Training (CST) in 1995 and done away with entirely in 2005. In the summer of 2008, the CST program was reintroduced and now includes survival, evasion, and resistance training portions. During their last two summers, cadets may serve as BCT cadre, travel to active duty Air Force bases and participate in a variety of other research, aviation and leadership programs. They may also be able to take courses offered by other military services, such as the U.S. Army's Airborne School
United States Army Airborne School
The United States Army Airborne School — widely known as Jump School — conducts the basic paratrooper training for the United States armed forces. It is operated by the 1st Battalion , 507th Infantry, United States Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia...

 at Fort Benning
Fort Benning
Fort Benning is a United States Army post located southeast of the city of Columbus in Muscogee and Chattahoochee counties in Georgia and Russell County, Alabama...

, Georgia, or the Air Assault School
United States Army Air Assault School
The Sabalauski Air Assault School is a FORSCOM TDA unit located at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Its primary task is training leaders and soldiers assigned to the 101st Airborne Division , other US Army units and US armed services in several courses annually.- Background :Air Assault School qualifies...

, at Fort Campbell
Fort Campbell
Fort Campbell is a United States Army installation located astraddle the Kentucky-Tennessee border between Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and Clarksville, Tennessee...

, Kentucky. During the academic year, all cadets take formal classes in military theory, operations and leadership.

Academics

The Air Force Academy is an accredited four-year university offering Bachelor's degrees in a variety of subjects. Active-duty Air Force officers make up approximately 70 percent of the faculty, with the balance long-term civilian professors, visiting professors from civilian universities and instructors from other U.S. and allied foreign military services. In recent years, civilians have become a growing portion of senior faculty.

Every Dean of the Faculty (equivalent to a Provost at most universities) has always been an active-duty brigadier general, although technically, a civilian may hold the position. The Dean, the Vice Dean, and each academic department chair hold the rank of "permanent professor", an academic rank and position that has no real civilian university counterpart. Permanent
Professors are nominated by the President of the United States and approved by the Senate, and can serve until age 64.

All graduates receive a Bachelor of Science degree, regardless of major, because of the technical content of the core requirements. Cadets may choose from a variety of majors, including engineering, the basic sciences, social sciences and humanities, as well as in a variety of divisional or inter-disciplinary subjects. The academic program has an extensive core curriculum, in which all cadets take required courses in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, military studies and physical education. Approximately sixty percent of a cadet's course load is mandated by the core curriculum. As a result, most of a cadet's first two years are spent in core classes. During the third and fourth years, cadets have more flexibility to focus in their major areas of study, but the core requirements are still significant.

Traditionally, the academic program at the Air Force Academy (as with military academies in general) has focused heavily on science and engineering, with the idea that many graduates would be expected to manage complex air, space and information technology systems. As a result, the Academy's engineering programs have traditionally been ranked highly. Over time, however, the Academy broadened its humanities offerings. About 55% of cadets typically select majors in non-technical disciplines.

Externally funded research at the Air Force Academy has been a large and growing part of the technical majors. Air Force has ranked highest of all undergraduate-only universities in federally-funded research as reported by the National Science Foundation, surpassing $60 million in 2010. Many cadets are involved in research via their major, coordinated in more than a dozen Academy research centers, including the Institute for Information Technology Applications, the Institute for National Security Studies, the Air Force Humanities Institute, the Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies, the Life Sciences Research Center, the Academy Center for Physics Education Research, among others.

Athletics

All cadets at the Academy take part in the school's extensive athletic program. The program is designed to enhance the physical conditioning of all cadets, to develop the physical skills necessary for officership, to teach leadership in a competitive environment and to build character. The primary elements of the athletic program are intercollegiate athletics, intramural athletics, physical education
Physical education
Physical education or gymnastics is a course taken during primary and secondary education that encourages psychomotor learning in a play or movement exploration setting....

, and the physical fitness tests.

Physical education

Cadets are required to take physical education courses in each of their four years at the Academy. The classes cover a wide range of activities: Swimming and water survival build confidence while teaching important survival skills. Combative sports such as boxing
Boxing
Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...

, wrestling
Collegiate wrestling
Collegiate wrestling, sometimes known in the United States as Folkstyle wrestling, is a style of amateur wrestling practised at the collegiate and university level in the United States. Collegiate wrestling emerged from the folk wrestling styles practised in the early history of the United States...

, judo
Judo
is a modern martial art and combat sport created in Japan in 1882 by Jigoro Kano. Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the object is to either throw or takedown one's opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue one's opponent with a grappling maneuver, or force an...

 and unarmed combat build confidence, teach controlled aggression and develop physical fitness. Cadets also take classes in team sports such as basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

 and soccer
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

, in lifetime sports such as tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

 and golf
Golf
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

 and on the physiology of exercise.

Fitness tests

Each semester, cadets must pass two athletic fitness tests: a 1.5 mi (2.4 km) run to measure aerobic fitness
VO2 max
VO2 max is the maximum capacity of an individual's body to transport and use oxygen during incremental exercise, which reflects the physical fitness of the individual...

, and a 15-minute, 5-event, physical fitness test consisting of pull-ups
Chin-up bar
Chin-up bars are playground equipment that were once ubiquitous on children's playgrounds. They are still important in the adult equivalent of a playground, the Par course. A chin-up bar is simply a smooth horizontal metal bar, often a pipe, held solidly above ground by a wooden or metal frame...

, a standing long jump
Standing long jump
The standing long jump is an athletics event. It was an Olympic event until 1912.In performing the standing long jump, the jumper stands at a line marked on the ground with their feet slightly apart. The athlete takes off and lands using both feet, swinging their arms and bending their knees to...

, sit-up
Sit-up (exercise)
The sit-up is a strength training exercise commonly performed with the aim of strengthening the hip flexors and abdominal muscles. It begins with lying with the back on the floor, typically with the arms across the chest or hands behind the head and the knees bent in an attempt to reduce stress on...

s, push-ups
Press up
For the 2004 single by Freestylers, see Push UpA push-up, or in British English a press-up, is a common calisthenics exercise performed in a prone position by raising and lowering the body using the arms...

 and a 600 yd (548.6 m) sprint. Failure to pass a fitness test usually results in the cadet being assigned to reconditioning until he can pass the test. Repeated failures can lead to disenrollment.

Intramural athletics

All cadets are expected to compete in intramural athletics for their entire time at the Academy, unless they are on-season for intercollegiate athletics. Intramural sports put cadet squadrons against one another in many sports, including basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

, cross-country
Cross country running
Cross country running is a sport in which people run a race on open-air courses over natural terrain. The course, typically long, may include surfaces of grass and earth, pass through woodlands and open country, and include hills, flat ground and sometimes gravel road...

, flag football
Flag football
Flag football is a version of Canadian football or American football that is popular worldwide. The basic rules of the game are similar to those of the mainstream game , but instead of tackling players to the ground, the defensive team must remove a flag or flag belt from the ball carrier to end...

, racquetball
Racquetball
For other sports often called "paddleball", see Paddleball .Racquetball is a racquet sport played with a hollow rubber ball in an indoor or outdoor court...

, flickerball
Flickerball
Flickerball is a group sport played with an American football in similar situations to dodgeball, such as Gym Class/PE classes. It is played in a group of 6 to 40 players who are equally divided into two teams. The teams separate on opposite sides of an area such a gymnasium, parking lot, or field...

, rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

, boxing
Boxing
Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...

, soccer
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

, mountain biking
Mountain biking
Mountain biking is a sport which consists of riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, using specially adapted mountain bikes. Mountain bikes share similarities with other bikes, but incorporate features designed to enhance durability and performance in rough terrain.Mountain biking can...

, softball
Softball
Softball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of 10 to 14 players. It is a direct descendant of baseball although there are some key differences: softballs are larger than baseballs, and the pitches are thrown underhand rather than overhand...

, team handball
Team handball
Handball is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each pass a ball to throw it into the goal of the other team...

, tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

, Ultimate
Ultimate (sport)
Ultimate is a sport played with a 175 gram flying disc. The object of the game is to score points by passing the disc to a player in the opposing end zone, similar to an end zone in American football or rugby...

, wallyball
Wallyball
Wallyball is a fast-paced sport that was created by Bill Dejonghe at The Calabasas Racquetball Club , in 1979 . The idea was an attempt to help bring more business into the club in the summer months The club pro Joe Garcia then took the idea mainstream. However, the sport roots go back to as early...

 and volleyball
Volleyball
Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules.The complete rules are extensive...

. Winning the Wing Championship in a given sport is a particular source of pride for a cadet squadron.

Intercollegiate athletics

The Academy's intercollegiate program has 17 men's and 10 women's NCAA sanctioned teams, nicknamed the ‘‘Falcons.’‘ Men's teams compete in football
College football
College football refers to American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities...

, baseball, basketball, ice hockey, cross-country
Cross country running
Cross country running is a sport in which people run a race on open-air courses over natural terrain. The course, typically long, may include surfaces of grass and earth, pass through woodlands and open country, and include hills, flat ground and sometimes gravel road...

, fencing
Collegiate fencing
Collegiate fencing has existed for a long time. Some of the earliest programs in the US came from the Ivy League schools, but now there are over 100 fencing programs in the US. Both clubs and varsity teams participate in the sport, however only the varsity teams may participate in the NCAA...

, golf, gymnastics, indoor and outdoor track, lacrosse
Lacrosse
Lacrosse is a team sport of Native American origin played using a small rubber ball and a long-handled stick called a crosse or lacrosse stick, mainly played in the United States and Canada. It is a contact sport which requires padding. The head of the lacrosse stick is strung with loose mesh...

, rifle, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, water polo and wrestling
Collegiate wrestling
Collegiate wrestling, sometimes known in the United States as Folkstyle wrestling, is a style of amateur wrestling practised at the collegiate and university level in the United States. Collegiate wrestling emerged from the folk wrestling styles practised in the early history of the United States...

. Women's teams include basketball, cross-country, fencing, gymnastics, indoor and outdoor track, swimming and diving, soccer, tennis and volleyball. In addition, the Academy also sponsors two non-NCAA programs: cheerleading
Cheerleading
Cheerleading is a physical activity, sometimes a competitive sport, based on organized routines, usually ranging from one to three minutes, which contain the components of tumbling, dance, jumps, cheers, and stunting to direct spectators of events to cheer on sports teams at games or to participate...

 and boxing
Boxing
Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...

. The Academy also has several club sports, such as rugby, that compete intercollegiately.

The men's and women's programs compete in NCAA
National Collegiate Athletic Association
The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a semi-voluntary association of 1,281 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States...

's Division I, with the football team competing in Division I FBS. Most teams are in the Mountain West Conference
Mountain West Conference
The Mountain West Conference , popularly known as the Mountain West, is the youngest of the college athletic conferences affiliated with the NCAA’s Division I FBS . The MWC officially began operations in July 1999...

; however, the gymnastics
Gymnastics
Gymnastics is a sport involving performance of exercises requiring physical strength, flexibility, agility, coordination, and balance. Internationally, all of the gymnastic sports are governed by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique with each country having its own national governing body...

 teams and men's soccer
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

 teams compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation is a college athletic conference whose member teams are located in the western United States. The conference participates at the NCAA Division I level.-History:...

; the men's hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

 team competes in Atlantic Hockey
Atlantic Hockey
The Atlantic Hockey Association is a NCAA Men's Division I Ice Hockey conference which operates primarily in the northeastern United States. It participates in the NCAA's Division I as an ice hockey–only conference. Unlike several other college athletic conferences, Atlantic Hockey has no women's...

 and the water polo
Water polo
Water polo is a team water sport. The playing team consists of six field players and one goalkeeper. The winner of the game is the team that scores more goals. Game play involves swimming, treading water , players passing the ball while being defended by opponents, and scoring by throwing into a...

 team competes in the Western Water Polo Association
Western Water Polo Association
The Western Water Polo Association is a single sport intercollegiate college athletic conference sponsoring men's and women's water polo. The WWPA is affiliated with NCAA...

. The men's boxing
Boxing
Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...

 team competes in the National Collegiate Boxing Association
National Collegiate Boxing Association
The National Collegiate Boxing Association was founded in 1976 as a non-profit, autonomous organization whose goal is to provide a safe, positive experience for student athletes pursuing the sport of boxing. The association falls under the auspices of USA Boxing...

. The men's lacrosse team competes in the ECAC Lacrosse League
ECAC Lacrosse League
The ECAC Lacrosse League is an NCAADivision I college athletic conference and part of the Eastern College Athletic Conference. This part of the conference only sponsors men's lacrosse. The league was founded in 2000...

. For a number of years, only the men's teams competed in Division I. Women's teams competed in Division II and were once members of the Continental Divide Conference, then the Colorado Athletic Conference. With new NCAA legislation, beginning in 1996, women's teams also competed in Division I.

Air Force has traditional service academy rivalries with Navy
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in Annapolis, Maryland, United States...

 and Army
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

. The three service academies compete for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy in football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 each year. Air Force Falcons football
Air Force Falcons football
The Air Force Falcons are a college football team from the United States Air Force Academy, located just outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado. The team competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision of the NCAA Division I and the Mountain West Conference.-Style:...

 has had the best showing of the three, winning the trophy 16 of its 34 years. The Academy also has an in-state rivalry with Colorado State University
Colorado State University
Colorado State University is a public research university located in Fort Collins, Colorado. The university is the state's land grant university, and the flagship university of the Colorado State University System.The enrollment is approximately 29,932 students, including resident and...

, which is located in Fort Collins and is a fellow member of the Mountain West Conference
Mountain West Conference
The Mountain West Conference , popularly known as the Mountain West, is the youngest of the college athletic conferences affiliated with the NCAA’s Division I FBS . The MWC officially began operations in July 1999...

.

The boxing team
Air Force Falcons boxing
The Air Force Falcons boxing team represents the United States Air Force Academy in the National Collegiate Boxing Association. Led for 31 years by Coach Ed Weichers, the team has had astounding success. It has won 18 national championships, and from 1980 to 2007, never finished lower than second...

, led for 31 years by Coach Ed Weichers
Ed Weichers
Eddie Weichers has been the head boxing coach at the United States Air Force Academy since 1976, and has led the Academy's boxing team to 18 national collegiate boxing championships....

, has won 18 national championships and has never finished lower than second in the nation. The Academy's men's and women's rugby teams
Zoomie Rugby Football Club
The Zoomie Rugby Football Club is made up of the men's and women's rugby union teams at the United States Air Force Academy. The team's name refers to the term "Zoomie", which is slang for a cadet or graduate of the Air Force Academy.-History:...

 have each won multiple national championships and the women's side recently had two players selected for the United States national team. The football team
Air Force Falcons football
The Air Force Falcons are a college football team from the United States Air Force Academy, located just outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado. The team competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision of the NCAA Division I and the Mountain West Conference.-Style:...

 has played in 17 bowl game
Bowl game
In North America, a bowl game is commonly considered to refer to one of a number of post-season college football games. Prior to 2002, bowl game statistics were not included in players' career totals and the games were mostly considered to be exhibition games involving a payout to participating...

s and the basketball team
Air Force Falcons men's basketball
The Air Force Falcons men's basketball team represents the United States Air Force Academy, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in NCAA Division I basketball competition. They play their home games at the Clune Arena and are members of the Mountain West Conference. Their current head coach is...

 has had strong showings in the last several years, qualifying for the NCAA tournament and, most recently, making the final four of the 2007 NIT Tournament
2007 National Invitation Tournament
The 2007 National Invitation Tournament was a single-elimination tournament of 32 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I teams which did not participate in the 2007 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament...

. The men's ice hockey team
Air Force Falcons men's ice hockey
The Air Force Falcons men's ice hockey team is a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I college ice hockey program that represents the United States Air Force Academy. The Falcons are a member of Atlantic Hockey. They play at the Cadet Ice Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado.-...

 won the last two Atlantic Hockey conference tournaments, made the first ever appearance by a service academy in the NCAA hockey tournament in 2007, and made a repeat appearance in 2008. The Air Force Academy's Mens Hockey team recently lost in the 'Elite Eight' of hockey in double overtime. This marked the farthest they had gone in the post-season in school history and the longest an Atlantic Hockey Association team has made it into the post-season.

Admissions

To be eligible to enter the Academy, a candidate must:
  • Be a citizen of the United States
    United States nationality law
    Article I, section 8, clause 4 of the United States Constitution expressly gives the United States Congress the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization. The Immigration and Naturalization Act sets forth the legal requirements for the acquisition of, and divestiture from, citizenship of...

     (unless nominated by an official of a country invited by the Department of Defense
    United States Department of Defense
    The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

    )
  • Be unmarried with no dependents
  • Be of good moral character
    Moral character
    Moral character or character is an evaluation of a particular individual's durable moral qualities. The concept of character can imply a variety of attributes including the existence or lack of virtues such as integrity, courage, fortitude, honesty, and loyalty, or of good behaviors or habits...

  • Be at least 17, but less than 23 years of age by 1 July of the year of entry
  • Meet high leadership, academic, physical and medical standards


In addition to the normal application process, all candidates must secure a nomination to the Academy, normally from a U.S. Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 or U.S. Representative
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

. Each member of Congress and the Vice President
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 can have five appointees attending the Air Force Academy at any time. The process for obtaining a congressional nomination is not political and candidates do not have to know their senator or representative to secure a nomination. Additional nomination slots are available for children of career military personnel, children of disabled veteran
Veteran
A veteran is a person who has had long service or experience in a particular occupation or field; " A veteran of ..."...

s or veterans who were killed in action
Killed in action
Killed in action is a casualty classification generally used by militaries to describe the deaths of their own forces at the hands of hostile forces. The United States Department of Defense, for example, says that those declared KIA need not have fired their weapons but have been killed due to...

, or children of Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

 recipients. The admissions process is a lengthy one and applicants usually begin the paperwork during the second semester of their junior year of high school
High school
High school is a term used in parts of the English speaking world to describe institutions which provide all or part of secondary education. The term is often incorporated into the name of such institutions....

.

Prop and Wings

The Prop and Wings insignia of the Air Service (1918-26), Air Corps (1926-41), and Army Air Forces (1941-47) became the insignia of upperclass cadets at the Air Force Academy beginning with the first class, 1959. The insignia is given to fourth class (freshmen) cadets at the Recognition Ceremony near the end of their first year rite of passage. The standard insignia uses the design of the Air Corps Prop and Wings, except that it is all silver instead of the gold wings and silver prop of the earlier design. Cadets who have ancestors who served in the Air Service, Air Corps, or Army Air Forces are eligible to wear the gold wings and silver prop design.

Cadet sabre

The Air Force Academy cadet sabre is carried by first class (senior) cadets in command positions in the Cadet Wing. All graduates are normally entitled to own no more than two sabres: one for personal use and one to be given as a gift. The Plaque and Sabre Award is the highest award given by the Cadet Wing to dignitaries and other honorees.

Class ring

The American college tradition of the class ring began with the class of 1835 at the U.S. Military Academy. From there, it spread to the U.S. Naval Academy in the class of 1869. The Air Force Academy continued the tradition, beginning with the first class, 1959, and so is the only service academy to have had class rings for every class since its founding. The Air Force ring is distinctive for being white gold instead of the yellow gold used at the other academies. Each class designs its own class crest; the only requirements being that each crest include all the elements on the Class of 1959's crest: the class number, the class year, the Polaris star, and the eagle. One side of the ring bears the academy crest, while the other side bears the class crest; the center bezel bears the words United States Air Force Academy. Cadets choose their own stones for the center of the ring. The rings are received at the Ring Dance at the beginning of the Graduation Week festivities for the class ahead of the ring recipients. The rings traditionally are placed in glasses of champagne and are caught in the teeth following a toast. During the cadet's first class (senior) year, the ring is worn with the class crest facing the wearer; following graduation, the ring is turned so that the academy's crest faces the wearer. The rings of all the academies were originally designed to be worn on the left hand, so that the wearer reads the name of the academy on the bezel while a cadet or midshipman and others can read it after graduation, the rings are now worn on either hand. The Academy's Association of Graduates (AOG) accepts rings of deceased graduates which are melted down to form an ingot of white gold from which a portion of all future rings are made. Both the academy's Association of Graduates and the Academy Library maintain displays of class rings.

Honor scandals

The first Honor scandal broke in 1965, when a resigning cadet reported knowing of more than 100 cadets who had been involved in a cheating ring. One hundred and nine cadets were ultimately expelled. Cheating scandals plagued the Academy again in 1967, 1972, 1984, 2004 and 2007. Following each of these events, the Academy thoroughly examined the etiology of the mass cheating in addition to alleged excessive pressures that the academic system at the time placed on cadets and made changes in attempts to reduce the opportunities for future incidents.

Allegations of sexual harassment, assault and gender bias

The sexual assault scandal that broke in 2003 forced the Academy to look more closely at how effectively women had been integrated into cadet life. Following the scandal and rising concerns about sexual assault throughout the U.S. military, the Department of Defense established a task force to investigate sexual harassment and assault at each of the United States service academies. The report also revealed 92 incidents of reported sexual assault
Sexual assault
Sexual assault is an assault of a sexual nature on another person, or any sexual act committed without consent. Although sexual assaults most frequently are by a man on a woman, it may involve any combination of two or more men, women and children....

. At the same time, the Academy implemented programs to combat sexual assault, harassment and gender bias. The new programs actively encourage prompt sexual assault reporting. The Academy's decisive actions of zero tolerance were praised by officials and experts.

Religious atmosphere

In 2005, allegations surfaced that some Evangelical Christian
Evangelicalism
Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

 cadets and staff were effectively engaging in religious proselytizing at the Academy. These allegations, along with concerns over how the Air Force handles other religious issues, prompted Academy graduate Michael L. Weinstein to file a lawsuit against the Air Force. An Air Force panel investigated the accusations and issued a report on 22 June 2005. The panel's investigation found a "religious climate that does not involve overt religious discrimination, but a failure to fully accommodate all members’ needs and a lack of awareness over where the line is drawn between permissible and impermissible expression of beliefs." Evidence discovered during the investigation included antisemitic remarks, official sponsorship of a showing of the film The Passion of the Christ
The Passion of the Christ
The Passion of the Christ is a 2004 American drama film directed by Mel Gibson and starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus. It depicts the Passion of Jesus largely according to the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John...

and a locker room banner that said academy athletes played for "Team Jesus." In response to the panel's findings, the Air Force released new guidelines to discourage public prayers at official events or meetings and to facilitate worship by non-Christian religions.

In 2010 the academy set up an outdoor worship area for cadets following Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

, Neo-druidism
Neo-Druidism
Neo-Druidism or Neo-Druidry, commonly referred to as Druidism or Druidry by its adherents, is a form of modern spirituality or religion that generally promotes harmony and worship of nature, and respect for all beings, including the environment...

, or other earth-based religions to practice their faiths.

A 2010 survey found that 41 percent of academy cadets who identified themselves as non-Christian reported they were subjected to unwanted religious proselytizing at least once or twice last year at the school. The survey's results, however, showed that the number of cadets who felt pressured to join in religious activities had declined from previous years. Colorado congressman Mike Coffman
Mike Coffman
Michael "Mike" Coffman is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 2009, and a former Secretary of State of Colorado. He is a member of the Republican Party.-Early life, education, and business career:...

 criticized the academy for resisting calls to release details of the survey's results.

See also

  • Air Force Academy, Colorado
    Air Force Academy, Colorado
    Air Force Academy is a census-designated place in El Paso County, Colorado, United States. The CDP includes a large portion of the grounds of the United States Air Force Academy, including the cadet housing facilities. The population was 6,680 at the 2010 census...

  • Jabara Award
    Jabara Award
    The Jabara Award for Airmanship, named in memory of Colonel James Jabara , is awarded each year to the United States Air Force Academy graduate whose accomplishments demonstrate superior performance in fields directly involved with aerospace vehicles....

  • United States Air Force Academy Cadet Insignia
    United States Air Force Academy Cadet Insignia
    -Cadet Rank Insignia:-Current Cadet Squadrons:-Defunct Cadet Squadron Insignia:-Merit lists:Cadet merit list insignia are worn by those cadets who excel militarily , academically , or athletically...

  • KAFA Radio
  • Membership discrimination in California social clubs#Examples of prejudice

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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