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Senior Airman Katrina Alvarez prepares a vaccine for a basic cadet during in-processing June 27, 2013. Vaccines consist of dead or weakened forms of a virus that is injected into a patient to create a long-lasting immune response. Alvarez, now a staff sergeant, is a medical technician with the 10th Aeromedical Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Liz Copan) 1st 'Thoughts Out Loud' discussions focuses on vaccination
Vaccines may not come up for discussion all that much among Airmen: They're mandatory, so what's to discuss? But with the United States facing its worst measles outbreak in 25 years, more people are talking about getting vaccinated and why vaccines matter.Dr. Katherine Bates, an assistant professor with the Biology Department here, held a
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The dean of the Air Force Academy's Preparatory School, Lt. Col.  Alicia
Matteson (second from left), poses with her Combat Stress Control team
in Basra, Iraq, in 2010.  The Airmen are (from left to right)
then-Staff Sgt. Nekisha Liverpool, then-Tech. Sgt. Kimberley Rivera and
then-Staff Sgt. Anissa Miracle. (U.S. Air Force Academy/ Courtesy photo) 

Turning pain into power: USAFA Prep School dean shares passion on veteran care, combat experiences
When the first female Air Force Academy Preparatory School dean graduated from the Academy in 1995, she never imagined that as an Air Force psychologist, she'd one day be dodging mortars and sweeping for improvised explosive devices while deployed.After serving nearly 20 years, Lt. Col. Alicia Matteson said she knows the effects of war and believes
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The Air Garden at the U.S. Air Force Academy. (U.S. Air Force/Courtesy Photo) USAFA headquarters focuses on being mission-ready over inspection-ready
The Air Force Academy has been steady, over time, in its preparations for the upcoming Inspector General inspection. It's not just in time - it's on purpose."I think people in the Air Force are used to having to prepare for something," said Col. David Kuenzli, Academy inspector general. "It's a bit of a culture shift. Everyone wants to get up for
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Cadet 1st Class Jake Sortor. (Air Force photo) Finding mentorship: An Academy cadet speaks out
Editor's note: Cadet 1st Class Jake Sortor is a former cadet wing commander here. As a cadet, he's played on both the football and the baseball teams, as well as participated in Wings of Green and Wings of Blue, cadet jump programs. Public Affairs staff writer Airman 1st Class Rachel Hammes recently interviewed Sortor on the importance of
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The Consulate-General of Japan in Denver's official cook (right) prepares a meal at the Japanese Tomodachi Dinner here Feb. 24, 2015, hosted by the Academy's commandant of Cadets, Brig. Gen. Stephen Williams and his wife, Holly. 'Everyone is an ambassador': Academy hosts Japanese friendship dinner
The Air Force Academy's commandant of cadets, Brig. Gen. Stephen Williams, and his wife Holly, hosted a Japanese Tomodachi Dinner here Feb. 24 for the Consul General of Japan.Tomodachi translates to "friendship" and the dinners are traditional events in Japanese culture to promote relations among its citizens and international partners. The dinner
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Army veteran and wounded warrior Jacob Legendre poses with Academy-owned horse Stormin Wheat in 2011. Legendre said the Academy's Warrior Wellness program brought him hope and allowed him to focus on reason to keep moving forward. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Andrea Caudill) Horse power: Wounded warriors receive healing, support through Academy’s equine-assisted therapy
Just as service members come from all walks of life, so do the 30 Academy-owned horses which an Army veteran and wounded warrior said comforted him when he took part in the Warrior Wellness program here.Retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Jacob Legendre suffers from chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, deafness in one ear and a traumatic brain
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Tech. Sgt. Billy Gazzaway, assigned to the 21st Communications Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base, and wife Master Sgt. Emily Gazzaway, the Air Force Academy's senior enlisted aide, take a photograph with their son, John Kadin Gazzaway, in February 2006. Kadin died of leukemia May 2, 2006. The Gazzaways said Air Force mental health services helped them recover from their loss and encourage Airmen to take advantage of the support services available to them when they need help. (Courtesy photo) Taking care of Airmen: How Air Force mental health services helped a family recover
Two local NCOs have been on a journey of recovery since losing their son to leukemia nearly nine years ago, a journey they said couldn't have happened without the mental health services available to Airmen and their families.Master Sgt. Emily Gazzaway, the Air Force Academy's senior enlisted aide, and her husband, Tech. Sgt. Billy Gazzaway,
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Veteran Affairs undersecretary and NCLS closing speaker Allison Hickey chats with cadet speaker escorts Feb. 27, 2015, during the Academy’s 22nd annual National Character and Leadership Symposium. Hickey is a 1980 Academy graduate and served 27 years in the Air Force, reaching the rank of brigadier general before retiring in 2007. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan) NCLS 2015 closes out: VA undersecretary says cadets should ‘embrace the uncomfortable’
This year's Academy Character and Leadership Award recipient closed the two-day symposium, featuring 50 discussion panels and speakers, with a frank message on engaging with rather than fleeing from life's uncomfortable moments.Allison Hickey, a 1980 Academy graduate, and the Under Secretary for Benefits in the Department of Veterans Affairs, told
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John Dau chats with cadets after his 2015 National Character and Leadership presentation Feb. 27, 2015 in Arnold Hall. Dau, 41, was one of thousands of Sudanese "Lost Boys," refugees who marched more than a thousand miles to safety after the Republic of South Sudan collapsed. Dau encouraged cadets to never give up in the face of any obstacle. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ray Bowden)
‘Never give up:' Former ‘Lost Boy’ speaks to cadets at NCLS
John Dau wasn't like most speakers at the 2015 National Character and Leadership Symposium here Feb. 27.The tall Sudanese-born Dau, 41, was a "Lost Boy," a title no other NCLS speaker could hold, and the name given to the thousands of young Sudanese men who walked more than 1,000 miles from Ethiopia to Kenya after fleeing the Republic of South
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The first females to compete in the Academy's annual boxing competition,
this year Feb. 19, 2015, at the Wing Open.  Left to right: Master Sgt. Sarah Allen
(women's boxing club assistant coach), C4C Victoria Rodriguez, C4C Aubrey
Lowe, C1C Hope Stremcha, C2C Kassie Prusko, C2C Sarenna Ortiz, C3C Bridgett
Wall, C3C Heather Parcasio and Master Sgt. Debra Sheppard (women's boxing
club head coach). (U.S. Air Force photo/Liz Copan) New boxing club allows female cadets to excel in the ring
Since the fall, female Falcons here have been practicing their fighting skills six days a week to increase their confidence, stamina and dominate competition.For the first time in Academy history, a female boxing club was created here in August to allow women to compete in the male-dominated sport. About 20 cadets attend practice regularly and
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