Colorado Experience: U.S. Air Force Academy

Colorado Experience: U.S. Air Force Academy


THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY IS THE PREMIER INSTITUTION IN DEVELOPING LEADERS OF CHARACTER. GOOD PEOPLE AROUND YOU, THEY’LL SUPPORT YOU, AND THEY’RE ALL SEEKING TO MAKE YOU AND THEMSELVES BETTER. THE NORMAL COLLEGE APPLICATION. WHAT SETS IT A PART IS UNAPOLOGETIC MODERNISM. THE ARCHITECTURE, THE UNIFORMS, THE CADETS THEMSELVES. THEY ALL LOOK TOWARDS THE FUTURE. IT’S THIS WORLD-CLASS EDUCATION HARMONIZING THE HUMANITIES AND SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH. OUR EXPANSION IS BEYOND THE GRAVITY ITSELF AND SEEM TO BE REFLECTED IN THIS PLACE. IT BRINGS TOGETHER THE IDEA OF DISCIPLINE AND ORDER AND HONOR AND SERVICE. EMBODYING THE –[ INDISCERNIBLE ] GROUND FORCES SOLVE PROBLEMS DIFFERENTLY THAN AIR FORCE. THE COMPLEXITY OF MODERN WARFARE CALLS FOR A HUGE SET OF SKILLS AND BRAINS TO BRAWN. WE NEED THEM ALL. COLORADO EXPERIENCE IS MADE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH HISTORY COLORADO. INSPIRING GENERATIONS TO FIND WONDER AND MEANING IN OUR PAST AND TO ENGAGE IN CREATING A BETTER COLORADO. HISTORYCOLORADO.ORG. WITH FUNDING PROVIDED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF DENVER, CELEBRATING 150 YEARS. THE DENVER PUBLIC LIBRARY, THE COLORADO OFFICE OF FILM, TELEVISION, AND MEDIA WITH ADDITIONAL FUNDING IN SUPPORT FROM THESE FINE ORGANIZATIONS AND VIEWERS LIKE YOU. THANK YOU. CAPTAIN SULLENBERGER IS SOMEONE MOST CADETS KNOW ABOUT. HE CREDITS HIS ACTIONS TO HIS EXPERIENCES AT THE ACADEMY. YOU WANT TO TRY AND LAND. WE MAY END UP IN THE HOT SEAT. HE DID NOT HAVE MUCH TIME TO FIGURE OUT WHAT HE WAS GOING TO TRY TO DO, AND THAT IS SO TYPICAL OF THE WAY CADETS ARE TRAINED HERE TO THINK FAST, MAKE DECISIONS, NOT BE WISHY- WASHY, AND GO FOR IT. AND IT’S FOR US TO BE ABLE TO LOOK UP TO CAPTAIN SULLENBERGER AND SAY THERE IS SOMEONE DOING REAL STUFF THAT HE LEARNED AT THE ACADEMY, WHAT I’M LEARNING HERE. ONE, THE FACT THAT THE ACADEMY TAUGHT HIM TO ACT UNDER PRESSURE, TWO, THE FACT THAT THE ACADEMY TAUGHT HIM TO FLY A GLIDER WHAT, THE PLANE BECAME AFTER HE LOST HIS ENGINE. WHEN HE WAS IN THE SITUATION, HE WAS CALM AND COLLECTED AND HE NEEDED TO DO WHAT NEEDED TO BE DONE. THE IDEA FOR AN AIR FORCE ACADEMY CAME OUT OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR. WORLD WAR I WAS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE ARMY TO LEARN ABOUT THE POSSIBILITIES OF STRATEGIC AND TACTFUL AIR WARFARE. AT THE END OF THE WAR, A NUMBER OF ARMY AIR OFFICERS BEGAN ARGUING THEY NEEDED SPECIFIC TRAINING IN ORDER TO TEACH THE CENTRAL OFFICERS STRATEGY AND TACTICS, TO TEACH THEM HONOR AND ESPRIT DE CORPS TO CREATE A COR OF AIR FORCE OFFICERS WHO WOULD LEAD THE UNITED STATES INTO THE FUTURE. THE AIR FORCE WAS LARGE ENOUGH AND IMPORTANT ENOUGH AND HAS BEEN IMPORTANT ENOUGH IN THE WAR SO THAT THERE WAS A REAL NATIONAL NEED FOR SEPARATE SCHOOLS, FOR AIR OFFICERS PREPARATIONS. UNTIL NO ONE 47 –1947, WHAT WAS NOW THE AIR FORCE IS NOW PART OF THE ARMY AND EVERYONE WHO WENT TO WEST POINT HAD A POSSIBILITY OF BECOMING AN AIR OFFICER. WHEN THE AIR FORCE WAS SEPARATED OUT FROM THE ARMY IN 1947, THERE WAS A LOT OF MOMENTUM TO CREATE A SEPARATE SERVICE ACADEMY FOR THE OFFICER CADETS WHO WERE GOING TO GO INTO THE AIR FORCE. JUST ABOUT WHEN MOMENTUM WAS GAINING FOR PASSING THE BILL, THE KOREAN CONFLICT STARTED AND NOT ONLY CONCERN AND ATTENTION, BUT MONEY FLOWED INTO THAT CONFLICT THAT PUT EVERYTHING ELSE ON HOLD, INCLUDING AN AIR FORCE ACADEMY. SO, IT WAS NOT UNTIL 1954, AFTER THE CONFLICT WAS OVER, THAT CONGRESS GOT BACK TO CONSIDERING AND THEN PASSING THE ACADEMY BILL. WHEN THE U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY OPENED, IT OPENED IN THE COLDEST YEAR OF THE COLD WAR. IT WAS VERY CLEAR THAT OUR NEW CONCERN WAS GOING TO BE THE SOVIET UNION. THE UNITED STATES HAD ALREADY HAD ONE HOT CONFRONTATION WITH COMMUNIST CHINA AND NORTH KOREA. AMERICAN POLICYMAKERS AND STRATEGISTS WERE SETTLING INTO A POSITION OF ARMED CONFRONTATION WITH THE SOVIET UNION, AND SO CREATING AN AIR FORCE ACADEMY IN A WORLD WHERE EVERYBODY THOUGHT THAT THE NEXT WORLD WAR WOULD BE A WORLD DELIVERED BY BOMBERS AND MISSILES, MAKING SURE WE WOULD TRAIN OUR BEST AND BRIGHTEST TO BE THE LEADERS TO FIGHT THAT WAR SEEMS LIKE NOTHING LESS THAN AN ISSUE OF NATIONAL SURVIVAL. IN 1954, WHEN PRESIDENT EISENHOWER SIGNED THE LEGISLATION CREATING THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY, THERE WAS A NEED TO BEGIN TRAINING COURSES RIGHT AWAY. THEY STARTED FIGURING OUT WHO TO ADMIT AND BY WHAT STANDARDS THEY WERE GOING TO BE CHOSEN. LOWRY AIR FORCE BASE WAS CHOSEN AS THE INTERIM SITE FOR THE CARLOS CARDOSO I IN. IT WAS LONG USED AS AN AIR FORCE TRAINING CENTER FOR PHOTO RECONNAISSANCE, ENGINEERING, ARMAMENTS TRAINING. IT WAS DURING THE WORLD WAR, SO IT SEEMED LIKE A NATURAL PLACE TO BEGIN THE ACADEMY, WHILE THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY IN COLORADO SPRINGS WAS BEING BUILT. IT WAS HOPE THAT THEY WOULD GET THE FIRST CADETS IN POSITION AT LOWERY BY 1955. THEY COULDN’T POSSIBLY HAVE COME TO COLORADO SPRINGS IN 1955 BECAUSE IT WAS GRASSLAND. IT WAS CATTLE PASTURE. I WAS STATIONED IN CLOVIS, NEW MEXICO, AND I GOT ORDERS TO BE SHIPPED TO DENVER, COLORADO, WHICH WAS LIKE HEAVEN. MY WIFE’S HOME AND TO BE ASSIGNED TO HEADQUARTERS, THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY, WE WERE A TENANT ON LOWERY, AND WE WERE A COMMAND BY OURSELVES. LOWERY WAS JUST A FIELD ON ANOTHER COMMAND ALL OF WHICH IS TO SAY THE COMMANDING GENERAL ON LOWERY WAS A TWO-STAR GENERAL. OUR COMMANDER WAS A THREE-STAR GENERAL. WE COULD DO NO WRONG FOR THE FIRST YEAR. ALL WE HAD TO DO WAS SAY WE WANTED IT AND WE GOT IT. FOR THE FIRST THREE YEARS, CADETS WERE TRAINED UP THERE. THE FIRST CLASS WAS A FIRST CLASS THAT WENT TO THE ACADEMY. THE CLASS OF ’59. THEY CALLED THEMSELVES THE 59ERS AND THEY STILL DO. IT’S IMPORTANT FOR THE PEOPLE OF COLORADO SPRINGS TO GET THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY. COLORADO SPRINGS ENTERED A SLUMP AFTER THE END OF WORLD WAR II. IT WAS A SLEEPY, VICTORIAN RESORT TOWN THAT HAD EXPERIENCED A BRIEF BOOM DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR WITH THE CREATION OF FORT CARSON. BY THE LATE 1940s, IT WAS SLIPPING BACK INTO A SLUMBER, A SLUMBER THAT THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPERS FOUGHT TOOTH AND NAIL. SO, BRINGING THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY TO COLORADO SPRINGS WAS A MATTER OF ECONOMIC SURVIVAL. THERE WERE A NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO WERE INVOLVED. MEMBERS OF THE COLORADO SPRINGS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WORKED VERY DILIGENTLY TO LOBBY FOR THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY TO BE CREATED THERE. THAT INCLUDED THE HEAD OF THE CITIZENS COMMITTEE OF COLORADO SPRINGS, A MAN NAMED JOHN LOVE WHO LATER SERVED AS COLORADO’S GOVERNOR FOR 12 YEARS. IT INCLUDED PEOPLE LIKE CHARLES TUT WHO RAN THE BOB MOORE HOTEL AND PRESIDENT DWIGHT EISENHOWER HAD A LITTLE MORE THAN AN INFLUENCE IN THE DECISION. HIS WIFE WAS FROM DENVER AND THEY SPENT A LOT OF VACATION TIME IN THE COLORADO ROCKIES. HE WAS AN –IT WAS AN OPEN SECRET THAT EISENHOWER FAVORED A COLORADO LOCATION. MY FATHER WAS IN THE BARBER CHAIR AND SAW IN THE PAPER THAT THE AIR FORCE WAS GOING TO HAVE THEIR OWN ACADEMY. HE GOT UP OUT OF THE BARBER CHAIR, WENT ACROSS THE STREET TO THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OFFICE. HE WAS VICE PRESIDENT AT THAT TIME, AND HE SAID WE HAVE TO GO FOR THIS. PEOPLE SAID WELL WE’LL NEVER GET IT. HE SAID, YEAH, BUT THINK OF THE PUBLICITY WE’RE GOING TO GET AND PEOPLE COME HERE TO WONDER WHY WE, WHAT WE HAVE THAT WE THINK IS SO GREAT. FOLKS IN ANNAPOLIS AND WEST POINT ARE ON THE EAST COAST. THEY FELT IT WAS IMPORTANT WITH THE NEW ACADEMY TO PUT IT POSSIBLY IN THE MID-PART OF THE COUNTRY. CERTAINLY WHERE THERE WAS ENOUGH LAND SO THAT THIS ACADEMY, WHICH WAS STILL EVOLVING IN THOUGHT, WOULD HAVE ENOUGH ACREAGE NOT ONLY TO TRAIN THEIR YOUNG OFFICERS ON THE GROUND, BUT ALSO IN THE AIR. THE CITEFUL ACTION COMMITTEE LOOKED AT SITES IN TEXAS AND CALIFORNIA, IN MARYLAND, THE MIDWEST, AND PLACE SAYS LIKE THE ST. LOUIS AND IN WISCONSIN. COLORADO’S BUSINESS DEVELOPERS WERE VERY SAVVY IN UNDERSTANDING THAT ONE OF THEIR BIG ADVANTAGES WAS BRINGING — BEING IN THE CENTER OF THE CONTINENT, ESPECIALLY DURING THE COLD WAR, AS AMERICANS BECAME MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF A NUCLEAR EXCHANGE WITH THE SOVIET UNION. COLORADO SPRINGS DEVELOPERS WERE ABLE TO SUCCESSFULLY ARGUE A BASE IN THE CENTER OF THE CONTINENT WAS POSSIBLY THE SAFEST PLACE TO HAVE AN ACADEMY OR TO HAVE MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT. EVENTUALLY, THE SEARCH NARROWED DOWN TO SEVERAL LOCATIONS AND COLORADO SPRINGS STARTED TO LOOK VERY, VERY GOOD IN TERMS OF BEING HIGH ON THE LIST. THAT POSITION, BASED ON CHARACTERISTICS OF THE LOCAL, WAS AIDED BY THE FACT THAT COLORADO SPRINGS REALLY WANTED THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY HERE. AND, IN FACT, HAD ESTABLISHED A BRANCH COMMITTEE OF THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE CALLED THE MILITARY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE, WHICH DEVOTED ITSELF TO TRYING TO SELL COLORADO SPRINGS. IT WAS SUCCESSFUL. THE COMMUNITY ROSE TO SUPPORT THE IDEA WHEN THE SITE SELECTION COMMITTEE CAME AROUND. THEY WERE TREATED ROYALLY AND ALL THE GOOD CHARACTERISTICS OF COLORADO SPRINGS WERE DISPLAYED. AT ONE POINT, ONE OF THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE, CHARLES LINDBERGH, WAS ASKED TO FLY AROUND THE AREA AND SEE IF THE HIGH ALTITUDE IN THE MOUNTAINS WOULD BE A DISCRIMINATING FACTOR IN POSITIONING THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY HERE. MANY PEOPLE UNTIL AIR –IN THE AIR FORCE WERE CONCERNED THE MOUNTAINS THEMSELVES WOULD CREATE TURBULENCE MAKING IT DIFFICULT FOR THE TRAINING AND THE FLYING. THAT THE ALTITUDE ITSELF MIGHT MAKE IT MORE CHALLENGING FOR A NOVICE TO SIT BEHIND THE STICK OF A TRAINING AIRPLANE. THE AIR FORCE SENT THEIR VERY BEST. THEY SENT MAJOR GENERAL CHARLES LINDBERGH, THE FAMED AVIATOR TO COME TO COLORADO SPRINGS TO TEST THE FLYING CONDITION. THERE WAS AN AIR FIELD OUT THERE, PINE VALLEY AIRPORT, THE STORY I RECALL HIM TALKING IS THAT HE WENT UP AND, TO THE AIRPORT OPERATOR AND SAID I WANT TO TAKE THE PLANE UP. THE MANAGER OF THE AIRPORT WHO DIDN’T RECOGNIZE HIM SAW THIS MAN IN HIS 70s AT THE TIME AND DOUBTED HE COULD POSSIBLY PILOT AN AIRPLANE. HE SAID LET ME SEE YOUR LICENSE. LINDBERGH HAD LICENSES FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD. AS HE LAID THEM OUT ONE BY ONE, THE MANAGER WHO HE WAS TALKING TO, AMERICA’S PREMIER AVIATOR. AND CHARLES LINDBERGH GOT TO TAKE A FLIGHT UP AND LOOK AT THE SITE. AND CAME BACK WITH THE CONCLUSION THAT NO, THE HIGH ALTITUDE, NO, THE MOUNTAIN RANGE WOULDN’T BE A SERIOUS DISADVANTAGE TO FLYING TRAINING HERE. CONSTRUCTION WAS NOT EVEN FINISHED WHEN THE FIRST CLASS ARRIVED AT THE ACADEMY IN LATE AUGUST OF 1958. SOMEHOW THE STORY GOT STARTED AMONG LATER GENERATIONS OF CADETS THAT THE CLASS OF ’59 MARCHED FROM DENVER. IT’S NOT TRUE AND I DON’T KNOW HOW IT GOT STARTED. I HAD TO SAY NO, IT’S NOT SO. THIS IS HOW IT REALLY HAPPENED. WE LOADED ON TO BUSES AND DROVE DOWN RIGHT TO THE NORTH GATE. AT THAT POINT, THEY FORMED RANKS AND MARCHED IN FULL PROCESSION THE LAST FIVE MILES TO THE CAMPUS GROUND. IT WAS A CEREMONIAL AND GRAND ENTRANCE TO BEGIN A PRESTIGIOUS CAREER FOR THE ACADEMY. MY COLLEAGUES WILL NOT ALL AGREE WITH ME, BUT I THOUGHT BEING A MEMBER OF THE FIRST CLASS WAS FUN, MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE. IT WAS EXCITING, IT WAS NOVEL, IT WAS TOUGH AS DEVIL, AND THERE WAS AN AMOUNT OF CHAOS ASSOCIATED WITH BEING THE FIRST. GENERAL BRADLEY HOSNER WAS SUCH A MODEL FOR WHAT THE AIR FORCE WAS STRIVING FOR. NOT ONLY WAS HE THE VALEDICTORIAN OF THE FIRST CLASS, BUT HE WAS ALSO OUR FIRST RHODE SCHOLAR. WHAT A START FOR THIS NEW INSTITUTION. HE WAS SUPERINTENDENT HERE IN THE EARLY 1990s, AND AS SUCH WAS, I THINK, REALLY A MORAL- BOOSTING PERSONAGE TO THE CADET WING BECAUSE FINALLY ONE OF THEIR OWN WAS SUPERINTENDENT. IN THE EARLY 1960s, THE ACADEMY SAW ITS FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN CADETS APPLY AND BE ACCEPTED. THE NUMBER OF MINORITY GROUPS HAVE GROWN STEADILY AND CERTAINLY MORE WIDELY OVER THE YEARS AND WE NOW, I THINK, PROBABLY REPRESENT’S PRETTY DESCENT CROSS-SECTION OF MINORITY PROPORTIONS IN THE COUNTRY. AS THE ’60s PROGRESSED, WE GOT MORE AND MORE INVOLVED IN THE SOUTHEAST ASIA CONFLICT AND VIETNAM. OUR VERY FIRST CLASS OF CADETS SOON MANY OF THEM WERE IN VIETNAM. THERE WAS AN APPLICANT NAMED VAL MOORE BOURKE. HE WAS INDUCTED INTO THE CADET WING IN 1955. I GOT OVER TO THE BUILDING WHERE THESE PEOPLE WERE GOING TO BE [ INDISCERNIBLE ] THERE WAS A YOUNG GENTLEMAN STANDING THERE AND HE SAID DO YOU KNOW WHERE THEY’RE GOING TO SIGN IN TO GO TO THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY? I SAID YES, RIGHT DOWN AT THE END OF THIS HALL HERE. HE SAID I HAVE BEEN WAITING PRACTICALLY ALL NIGHT TO BE THE FIRST ONE TO SEEN UP, WHICH HE DID –TO SIGN UP, WHICH HE DID AND WHICH HE WAS. HE HAD A GOOD CAREER HERE AT THE ACADEMY, AND HE WENT TO VIETNAM AS A PILOT. AND, UNFORTUNATELY, HE WAS ANOTHER FIRST, THE FIRST COMBAT CASUALTY OF AN AIR FORCE ACADEMY CADET. WE THINK OF MOORE BOURKE A LOT IN TERMS OF SYMBOLIZING THE KIND OF SACRIFICE AND SERVICE THAT SO MANY OF THE CADETS WENT ON TO MAKE LATER IN THEIR AIR FORCE CAREERS. WITH THE INFLUENCE OF VIETNAM AND THE NEED FOR AIR OFFICERS, A BILL WAS PASSED. LINDEN JOHNSON SIGNED THAT BILL IN 1965 THAT DOUBLED THE SIZE OF THE CADET WING. BY 1968, THE WING HAD GROWN TO ABOUT THE SIZE THAT IT IS TODAY, WHICH IS 4,000 CADETS. THE 1960s AND 1970s WERE SUCH A FERTILE TIME TO THE EXPRESSION OF RIGHTS AS AMERICANS, THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, AMERICAN INDIAN MOVEMENT, THE CHICANO RIGHTS MOVEMENT –THE FEMINIST MOVEMENT CAME TO A BOIL IN THE 1970s. THE MOMENTUM THAT CAME OUT OF THE FEMINIST MOVEMENT REALLY ENCOURAGED WOMEN TO LOOK AT THE MILITARY SERVICE ACADEMIES AND SAY WHY NOT ME. I WANT TO SERVE MY COUNTRY. I WANT TO DO WHAT IT TAKES TO BE THE BEST. WHERE IS THE DOOR THAT IS GOING TO OPEN FOR ME? NONE OF THE SERVICE ACADEMIES –WEST POINT, NAVAL ACADEMY AND ANNAPOLIS, THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY ADMITTED WOMEN. WOMEN HAD BEEN TRYING TO BE ADMITTED TO ALL MALE INSTITUTIONS FOR QUITE SOME TIME. AT THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY, WOMEN HAD ATTEMPTED TO APPLY AS EARLY AS 1970s REALLY ARGUES THERE SHOULDN’T BE ANY KIND OF OPPORTUNITY AVAILABLE TO MEN THAT WAS NOT ALSO AVAILABLE TO WOMEN. IN 1975, PRESIDENT GERALD FORD SIGNED WILLING ALLOWING WOMEN TO BE –SIGNED LEGISLATION ALLOWING WOMEN TO BE ADMITTED TO THE SERVICE ACADEMY. THE ’70s IS A TIME OF GREAT CHANGE. PEOPLE FORGET THEM BUT THEY WERE IN THE BOW WAVE OF MY CAREER. WAS A CADET IN THE FACULTY AND TIME END –TOP END. I WAS A FLIT VICTOR. I WOULD BE TOO –FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR. I WOULD BE TOO ROSIE IF I SAID ALL THE MILITARY ACADEMIES WERE LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS OR THAT ALL OF THE SUPERINTENDENTS OF THE MILITARY ACADEMIES WERE LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS. INDEED, THAT I SAW A LOT OF PROBLEMS POTENTIALLY. WE CAN’T GIVE THEM EXACTLY THE SAME PHYSICAL TRAINING TESTS THAT WE GIVE THE MEN, BUT HOW ARE WE GOING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT A FIT FEMALE IS? WHERE WERE THE WOMEN GOING TO BE HOUSED? THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY HAD THEN BEEN A SUPERINTENDENT WHO WAS AGAINST WOMEN ATTENDING THE MILITARY ACADEMIES. HE SAID YOU KNOW, I THINK THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN, AND WE NEED TO BE PREPARED FOR THIS AND TO MAKE IT HAPPEN IN AN ORDERLY, ACCEPTABLE WAY. RIGHT AWAY, THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY BEGAN MOBILIZING TO FIGURE OUT HOW THEY WERE GOING TO ACCOMMODATE FEMALE CADETS. THEY COMMUTED CAPTAIN BRUCE GALLOWAY TO INTRODUCE THE TRANSITION. HE REALIZED IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND HOW WOMEN WERE GOING TO GO THROUGH THE PROGRAM, HE HAD TO DO EVERYTHING THAT THE MALE CADETS DID. EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS AN OFFICER IN THE AIR FORCE, SHE WENT THROUGH THE ENTIRE PROGRAM OF TRAINING AND ACADEMICS AND SERVICE THAT THE MEN HAD TO GO THROUGH SEE THAT SHE COULD FIND OUT WAYS TO EASE THE TRANSITION FOR WOMEN. SHE REALLY SET THE STANDARD FOR FEMALE CADETS. THERE WAS NO ASSIGNMENT THAT WAS TOO TOUGH FOR HER TO DO. BUT SHE REALLY FOUND OUT THAT HER PARTICIPATION WITH THE MALE CADETS INSPIRED THEM TO PUSH HARDER AND TO TRY TO SUCCEED BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T WANT TO BE SHOWN UP BY A WOMAN. THE FIRST FEMALE CADET ARRIVED ON CAMPUS IN THE FALL OF 1976. THE FIRST GRADUATING CLASS THAT INCLUDED FEMALE CADETS WAS IN 1980. THE WOMEN OF THAT CLASS ARE NOW CALLED THE ’80s LADIES. THEY’RE A BUNCH OF EXTREMELY DETERMINED WOMEN, MANY WHO HAD LONG CAREERS IN THE AIR FORCE. THOSE WOMEN WERE SEEN AS THRILL PIONEERS IN THE IDEA OF MAKING MILITARY SERVICE MORE EQUAL FOR MEN AND FOR WOMEN. THE ACADEMY DISCOVERED ME IN A CAREER DAY AT OUR HIGH SCHOOL IN SPENCER, IOWA. A LIAISON OFFICER TALKED ABOUT THE PROGRAM HERE AND THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN IN 1976. WHAT PEAKED MY INTEREST WAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE AND TO HAVE A WORLD-CLASS EDUCATION. AT THE TIME, IT WAS A BIT OF A SHOCK TO GO FROM BEING, YOU KNOW, 50% OF THE POPULATION TO BEING A NUMERICAL MINORITY. IT WAS A CAP OF 12 MANAGER OF THE –12% OF THE CADET WING THAT WERE WOMEN. THE ACADEMY WAS A MALE- CENTERED ORGANIZATION. I THINK WOMEN HAD TO PUSH VERY HARD TO BREAK DOWN BARRIERS AND GAIN ACCEPTANCE. IT TAKES RESILIENCE. IT TAKES RETAINING ONE’S SENSE OF HUMOR TO RETAIN YOUR OWN CONFIDENCE AND COMPETENCE TO HELP YOU GET THROUGH THE TURBULENCE SOMETIMES YOU RUN INTO. THESE DAYS, WE HAVE ABOUT 23% WOMEN CADETS HERE. INTEGRATION IS ALWAYS GOING ON. THE ACADEMY WENT THROUGH A PERIOD IN THE 2000 SEASON WHERE REFORMS HAD TO TAKE PLACE IN ORDER TO DO MORE TO TREAT WOMEN AS EQUALS. LET’S GO, OUR OFFICERS AND LEADERS, THE ONES REPLACING ME. THEY NEED AGILITY OF MIND AND A COMFORT LEVEL WITH TECHNOLOGY BUT ALSO A GROUNDING AND A WELL- ROUNDEDNESS IN DEALING WITH HUMAN PROBLEMS. WITH COMMUNICATION GOING AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT, WE REALLY DO NEED TO HAVE MENTAL AGILITY AND FLEXIBILITY AND A SENSE OF PURPOSE. SO THOSE ARE THE KINDS OF THINGS WE’RE REFINING HERE. IN MANY WAYS, A SERVICE ACADEMY IS THE EMBODIMENT OF THE VALUES OF THEIR INSTITUTION OF THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THEIR SERVICE BUT ALSO FOR THE NATION. THE AIR FORCE IN GENERAL AND THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY IN PARTICULAR HAVE ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED IN NEW TECHNOLOGIES, WHICH ALLOW THE UNITED STATES TO MANY TAPE A STRATEGIC EDGE IN THE SKIES. EVEN THE FIRST ADVOCATES FOR THE MILITARY ACADEMY BACK BETWEEN THE WORLD WARS WERE ARGUING THAT AIRPLANES WERE REALLY THE FUTURE OF MILITARY COMBAT. THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY HAS ALWAYS EMBRACED THAT TRADITION BY SIGNING A NEW AND LATEST TECHNOLOGY IN TRAINING ITS CADETS TO BE LEADERS. THE ESSENCE OF IT IS THIS EXPOSURE TO CHARACTER AND LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT. THE EMERGENT IN THAT FOR FOUR YEARS, THE EXPOSURE TO THE AIR FORCE MISSION. IF YOU HAD A CHANCE TO LOOK OUTSIDE, YOU SAW OUR GLIDERS, OUR TOW PLANES, OUR PARACHUTISTS, OUR SOARING AIRCRAFTS GOING AROUND, THE EXPOSURE TO THE AIR, SPACE, AND CYBERSPACE MISSIONS OF THE AIR FORCE IN A MORE INTENSE AND ACADEMIC WAY AND A PRACTICAL WAY. THEY TRAIN MEN AND WOMEN CAPABLE OF DEALING WITH SITUATIONS OUTSIDE OF OUR ATMOSPHERE. SPACE IS BECOMING MORE AND MORE AN ALTERNATIVE STAGE FOR POTENTIAL OPERATIONS. CADET WING HAS BEEN MORE PARTICIPATORY IN ACTIVE RESEARCH IN SPACE. YOU CAN LEARN ABOUT WHAT WE DO IN CYBER, JUMPING OUT OF AIRPLANES WHICH, IS, AMAZING. YOU CAN FLY UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES. WE HAVE A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES TO BE INVOLVED IN AIRMANSHIP. SEPTEMBER 11th, 2001, CHANGED THE ACADEMY IN A WAY THEY THINK WILL BE PERMANENT. WITHIN AN HOUR AND A HALF OF THE WORLD TRADE TOWERS GOING DOWN AND THE PLANE CRASHING IN PENNSYLVANIA AND THE PENTAGON BEING DAMAGED BY THE FOURTH PLANE, THE SUPERINTENDENT, GENERAL GALLAGHER, CALLED A MEETING OF HIS HEADQUARTERS CREW. WE IMMEDIATELY SHUT DOWN THE ACADEMY. WE WENT FROM BEING AN OPEN BASE TO A BASE WITH A LOT OF RESTRICTIONS ON WHO COULD EVEN GET ON THE BASE. THINGS REALLY STOPPED HERE. LEROY W. HOMA JR. WAS A CADET AWHILE BACK. I HAVE HEARD STORIES ABOUT HIM FROM PEOPLE WHO KNEW HIM AS A CADET. HE WAS ONE OF THE PEOPLE WHO WAS INTEGRAL IN UNITED FLIGHT 93 ON 9/11 AND HIS NAME IS ALSO GONE DOWN IN HISTORY. WE CREDIT WHAT HE LEARNED AT THE ACADEMY IN TERMS OF CHARACTER, LEADERSHIP, INTEGRITY AND DETERMINATION WITH HIS ACTIONS ON THAT DAY. OUR CONCERN WAS SECURITY, IT’S REALLY BECOME A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ANIMAL THAN IT WAS PRE-SEPTEMBER 11th. IN THESE TIMES, CADETS HAVE A KNOWLEDGE THAT THE UNITED STATES IS AT WAR AND THE FACT THAT THERE ARE REAL CONSEQUENCES TO WHAT THE UNITED STATES IS DOING ARE VERY REAL TO US. THERE IS NOW JUST A HANDLE THAT –JUST A KNOWLEDGE THAT, YOU KNOW, WE DIDN’T THINK WE WERE VULNERABLE AND NOW WE KNOW THAT WE ARE. EVERY YEAR, 1,000 TO 1200 NEW CADETS COME IN AND NEW CLASS OF FRESHMEN WITH THEIR VALUE SETS AND BACKGROUNDS, DIFFERENT SOCIOECONOMIC BACKGROUNDS, EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUNDS. THEY MET OUR STANDARDS FOR OUR SESSIONS BUT MAYBE HAVE NOT EMBODIED OUR VALUE YET. IT’S AN EDUCATIONAL PROCESS INTERNALLY WITH CADETS. THE SEXUAL ASSAULT ALLEGATIONS THAT ROCKED THE ACADEMY IN THE EARLY 2, 000s — 2000, THAT IS DETRIMENTAL TO THE TEAMWORK AND SPIRIT THAT EVERYONE IS SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT HERE AT THE ACADEMY AND WORKING TOGETHER AS A TEAM. WE LOOK TO SEE WHAT WE HAVE DONE AND WHAT WE CAN DO BETTER. WHAT WE HAVE SEEN IS WE HAD 11 DIFFERENT OFFICES OR AGENCIES RESPONSIBLE FOR CLIMATE, CULTURE, EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, OR SEXUAL ASSAULT SUPPORT, WHETHER IT’S SUPPORT FOR VICTIMS OR SUPPORT FOR PREVENTION AND HOW WE DISCUSS THAT. BUT WE WERE NOT ALIGNED. THERE ARE MANY, MANY EFFORTS MADE OVER THE YEARS. WE THOUGHT WE COULD BEST IMPROVE BY ALIGNING THOSE — IMPROVE BY ALIGNING THOSE DIFFERENT OFFICES AND ADDING ONE IN THE ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT TO HAVE A VOICE OF PEOPLE TO TALK ABOUT THE ISSUES IN A CONSISTENT WAY, SO WE’RE TRYING TO OPTIMIZE EACH OTHER IN A BETTER WAY FOR A BETTER AWARENESS. ALL WE CAN DO IS TO MAKE SURE WE TAKE CARE OF VICTIMS AND MAKE THEM FEEL SAFE, MEN AND WOMEN, AND HAVE PREVENTION PROGRAMS TO TRY TO GET OUT AHEAD OF THIS AND DISCUSS IT SO THAT PEOPLE UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER IN A CLIMATE OF RESPECT. A MILITARY ACADEMY IS A DIFFERENT CREATURE BECAUSE THERE ARE FOUNDATION STONES TO THE INSTITUTION THAT NEED TO RUN ACROSS TIME AND COMMANDERS CAN’T TOUCH WITHOUT RISKING THE FUNDAMENTAL CHARACTER OF THE INSTITUTION. I AM PROUDEST OF THE FACT THAT THIS INSTITUTION HAS KEPT THOSE STRONG INSTITUTIONAL FOUNDATIONS ALIVE AND WELL. THE CORE VALUES ARE INTEGRITY FIRST, SERVICE BEFORE SELF, AND EXCELLENCE IN ALL WE DO. CADETS ARE COMMITTED TO HELPING EACH OTHER OUT, TO HELPING THE COMMUNITY AND PUTTING OTHERS BEFORE THEM. THE FUTURE OF THE ACADEMY IS BRIGHT BECAUSE OUR FOCUS IS ALWAYS BEEN ON THE PEOPLE. OUR LEADERSHIP DEFINITELY CARES ABOUT OUR ULTIMATE END GOAL OF DEVELOPING LEADERS OF CHARACTER. THE BEST PART OF BEING AT THE ACADEMY IS THE FACT THAT YEAR-ROUND, SO MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE DRIVEN, WANT TO MAKE THE WORLD AND ACADEMY A BETTER PLACE, THEY WANT TO MAKE THEMSELVES LEADERS. IT’S A HUGE FAMILY HERE, A PLACE WHERE WE CAN PUSH OURSELVES TO BECOME BETTER INDIVIDUALS. WHO WANT TO BE ENGAGED IN COMMUNITY SERVICE, WORKING WITH THE PEOPLE AROUND THEM. SO WE CAN GRADUATE AND BECOME THE BEST OFFICERS WHO CAN BE IN THE AIR FORCE. THE DAILY LIFE OF A CADET AT THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY STARTS PRETTY EARLY. SEVEN IN THE MORNING. WE TYPICALLY ALL START BY HAVING BREAKFAST TOGETHER. WE HAVE CLASS. AND THEN WE’LL MARCH TO LUNCH. ALL 4,000 CADETS EAT LUNCH IN ONE BIG BUILDING, FAMILY STYLE. WE HAVE A FORM OF MILITARY TRAINING. ALTOGETHER, WE HAVE ABOUT SEVEN HOURS OF CLASSES A DAY. AT WHICH POINT WE HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF TIME FOR CLUB EVENTS, OTHER SPORTS. AND BACK UP FOR DINNER AND THEN STUDY TIME AT NIGHT. AND CADETS WILL SPEND THE REST OF THE TIME DOING HOMEWORK, WORKING ON WHATEVER PARTS OF THEIR JOB NEED TO BE COMPLETED. IT’S A BUSY DAY, BUT I THINK WHAT MAKES IT ALL WORTH IT IS THAT WE GET TO BE BUSY ALONGSIDE OF 4,000 OF OUR CLOSEST FRIENDS. THAT BUILD A LOT OF COMRADERY AND IT’S A UNIQUE ENVIRONMENT. I THINK IT’S A REALLY INCREDIBLE HONOR TO BE AT THE ACADEMY RIGHT NOW. GENERAL JOHNSON IS OUR SUPERINTENDENT AND FOR ME BEING THE CADET WING COMMANDER WHILE SHE WAS THE SUPERINTENDENT WAS A REALLY UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR HOW THINGS HAVE REALLY PROGRESSED SINCE IS SHE’S BEEN HERE, AND THEY WILL CONTINUE TO PROGRESS. IN MY EXPERIENCE AS A TINY NUMERICAL MINORITY, SOMETIMES ONE IS RELUCTANT TO ASK FOR ADVICE BECAUSE MAYBE IT SEEMS LIKE YOU’RE DRAWING ATTENTION TO YOURSELF MORE OR LESSER. THAT IS NOT THE CASE. TO BE BOLD ENOUGH TO ASK FOR ADVICE, TO HAVE THAT KIND OF CONFIDENCE AND BE WILLING TO ASK SOMEONE ELSE TO BE A PART OF YOUR SOLUTION IS ACTUALLY EMPOWERING AND THEN YOU CAN BENEFIT FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVE AS WELL. THIS IS A PLACE ABOUT THE FUTURE. IT’S A PLACE ABOUT PROGRESS. WE’RE CULTIVATING SOME OF THE FINEST MILITARY LEADERS THAT THIS COUNTRY HAS TO OFFER. THE AIR FORCE OFFERS AN AMAZING SPECTRUM OF CAPABILITIES IN THE AIR, SPACE, AND CYBERSPACE AND IT ALL COMES TOGETHER TO MAKE US THE GREATEST AIR FORCE IN THE WORLD. SO, WE NEED THAT KIND OF TALENT. I GET TO SERVE ALONGSIDE 4,000 GREAT FUTURE LEADERS. I DON’T THINK THERE IS ANY GREATER OPPORTUNITY THAN THAT. (end)

8 comments

  1. This is a Great Video! This gets me excited about being appointed to USAFA, even if its the Prep school!

  2. US AIR FORCE the best in the world . I truly  enjoyed my time in the Air force and I have a daughter that will be going to basic at Lackland  AFB soon /

  3. Now in 2018 we have the United States Space Force! Where will that academy be? Two places come to mind. Florida and Texas. Wonder which one it be or both.

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