Many United Air Force Academy graduates have become generals, 737 of them to be exact. This facility in Colorado Springs in built on 18,500 acres of Rocky Mountain foothills and is 7,000 feet above sea level. Almost 4,000 cadets attend the Air Force Academy, and about 950 of them graduate each year. These are 3 facts on an informative handout that was given to me by the visitor center staff. This Center plans to remain opened now despite new COVID cases, but I was told that the wise call ahead to check on the situation. It had been opened only 2 days when Ruth and I saw it. It is not open on weekends.
Women were admitted to the Academy in 1976 and the first woman graduated in 1980. This is listed as the most controversial event in the Air Force Academy’s history despite other problems that have impacted it. All cadets can major in 27 different subjects. First year cadets are known as Doolies. Those in their 2nd year are called Fledglings. Third year cadets are known as Wheels, and 4th yearers are called Firsties.
The distressed and covered chapel that has become the Air Force Academy’s icon was designed by Walter Netsch Jr., and the falcon seen on the overhead glider in the visitor center is this Academy’s mascot. The chapel is an all-faith house and will remain so after repairs have been completed and the chapel reopens to the public. This chapel has separate places for Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Buddhist gatherings, a large all-faiths room, and 2 additional meeting rooms.
The film about cadet life that is shown every half hour in the visitor center theater has recently been revised. It’s 21 minutes long and excellent.
The Falcon Route shown on the guest map provides a complete tour of the Air Force Academy. It takes about 2 1/2 hours to complete on 22 miles of paved highway. Some sculptures like the B29 Superfortress above and other planes can be seen on your tour. However, the gas station across the road from the Outdoor Rec Center is not for use by the public, so arrive with a full tank.