United States Air Force Academy
|Motto||Integrity First, Service before self, Excellence in all we do|
|Established||1 April 1954|
(65 years, 5 months)
|Lt. Gen. |
|Brigadier General Andrew P. Armacost|
|Brigadier General Michele Edmonson |
|550 (70% military : 30% civilian)|
|Campus||Suburban – 18,455 acres (7,468.5 ha)|
The United States Air Force Academy (also known as USAFA, the Air Force Academy, or the Academy), is a
The Academy's stated mission is "to educate, train, and inspire men and women to become leaders of character, motivated to lead the United States Air Force in service to our nation." It is the youngest of the five U.S.
Admission is extremely competitive, with nominations divided equally among Congressional districts. Recent incoming classes have had about 1,200 cadets; historically, just under 1,000 of those will graduate. Tuition along with room and board are all paid for by the Air Force. 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.
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
Support for an air academy got a boost with the
Following the recommendation of the Board,
From 1954 to 1956, the newly-created Colorado Land Acquisition Commission purchased parcels of land that would host the new academy. The first parcel purchased was the also the largest; it was the 4,630-acre Cathedral Rock Ranch, owned by Lawrence B. Lehman of the famous
The early Air Force Academy leadership had the model of West Point and Annapolis in designing an appropriate curriculum, faculty, and campus. The Academy's permanent site had not yet been completed when the first class entered, so the 306
The Class of 1959 established many other important traditions that continue until the present. The first class adopted the
Many Academy graduates of this era served with distinction in the
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
One of the most significant events in the history of the Academy was the admission of women. On 7 October 1975, President
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.