Thank you Team USAFA!

Lt. Gen. Mike and Paula Gould. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Raymond McCoy)

Lt. Gen. Mike and Paula Gould. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Raymond McCoy)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Paula and I want you all to know how thrilled we are over the entire team's performance throughout the year, culminating in last week's graduation activities for the Class of 2013! Even in the midst of sequestration and all the associated hardships - civilian furloughs, hiring freezes, operational and maintenance spending cutbacks, limited deployments and restoration and maintenance deferrals - our team kept a laser-like focus on the mission, resulting in sending 1,024 well-prepared second lieutenants into the Air Force May 29.

My stated intent going into graduation planning was not only to execute a classy series of events, but to do it with complete consciousness of costs, and that's exactly what you did. Thank you! Once again, Mrs. Sue Christensen, our talented special events specialist in the Headquarters, USAFA Plans, Programs and Analysis Directorate, led the planning and execution of more than 25 world-class graduation week activities - a fitting tribute to the cadet graduates and their families and friends.

Most impressively was how everyone, from across all mission partners, contributed. I hesitate to begin a list for fear of leaving someone out, but there are so many dedicated team members and organizations responsible for 2013's success. We'll list a few: the faculty and staff from Dean of the Faculty, the Cadet Wing, the Athletic Department, the 306th Flying Training Group, the Prep School and Headquarters USAFA, those who traditionally have the most direct contact with cadets, should be proud of the "product" they delivered to the Air Force last week. Our Security Forces members kept us safe and orderly throughout the week (and year!). Our medical experts, transportation professionals, communications technicians, roads and grounds artists and civil engineers all made the extra effort to ensure a flawless series of events, showcasing the Academy as the national treasure it is.

Also, the construction crews that have become part of our family over the past several years stepped up to the challenge, cleaning up their areas and making USAFA sparkle despite the dust. Mitchell Hall and Arnold Hall rolled out the red carpet for formal dinners and balls supporting our cadets and their guests.

The Falcon Club, under the leadership of the recently departed Kathleen Turmelle, hosted numerous amazing events and catered to the needs of so many visitors and permanent party members. Last, but certainly not least, our USAFA Public Affairs team did an incredible job of telling the Academy's story to the nation, and our very own Association of Graduates was out in front all week, including hosting grads from the Class of 63, 2013's legacy 50-year class.

You make us proud, team! As some are able to take a (short) breather before the in-processing of 2017, please know how much we appreciate your commitment to the Academy's mission! Thanks!