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Breaking Barriers! Air Force's 70th Birthday: April achievements

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Air Force celebrates its 70th birthday this year and the Air Force Academy has made many contributions to our service’s legacy and history of breaking barriers, and advancing technology and innovation.  Here are some very notable achievements that have occurred in Januaries of the past. 

January Achievements

Jan. 1, 1975 -- The first Cadet Wing sergeant major, Chief Master Sgt. Lawrence Garrett, is succeeded by Chief Master Sgt. Edwin Bell.

Jan. 1, 1959 -- Falcon Football caps an undefeated season with an 0-0 tie against heavily-favored Texas Christian University at the Cotton Bowl.

Jan. 1, 1978 -- Bill Parcells begins his tenure as the Falcons head football coach. He leaves after one season and wins two SuperBowls in his 19-year NFL head-coaching career.

Jan. 1, 1979 -- The Cadet Drum and Bugle Corps marches in the Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena, California.

Jan. 1, 2004 -- To commemorate the Academy's 50th anniversary, the U.S.Air Force Academy Band makes its first appearance in the Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena, California.

Jan. 1, 1956 -- Buck Shaw is hired as the Falcon's first football head coach. He coaches Air Force for two seasons, was the San Francisco 49ers' first head coach, and coaches the Philadelphia Eagles. Then-director of athletics, Col. Robert Whitlow, coaches Air Force during its inaugural 1955 season.

Jan. 2, 1973 -- Compulsory chapel attendance ends as Defense Secretary Melvin Laird directs the service secretaries to change regulations governing chapel attendance. In December 1972, the Supreme Court declines to review the Court of Appeals ruling that mandatory chapel attendance at the service academies is unconstitutional.

Jan 2, 2013 -- The Wings of Blue Air Force Parachute Team wins 46 medals and sets five national collegiate records at the National Collegiate Parachute Competition in Arizona. The skydivers take home 13 gold, 18 silver and 15 bronze medals at the competition, Dec. 2, 2012-Jan. 2, 2013.

Jan. 3, 2008 -- Second Lt. Brandon Dues, a 2007 Academy graduate, receives the 2007 Cadet of the Year award at a Pentagon ceremony. The Air Force award recognizes the most outstanding cadet in an Air Force commissioning program. Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Duncan McNabb, a 1974 Academy graduate, presents the award.

Jan. 5, 1959 -- The Academy Library is officially dedicated.

Jan. 5, 1967 -- The Col. James Jabara Award for Airmanship is established. Each year, the award goes to an Academy graduate whose actions directly associated with an aerospace vehicle sets them apart from their peers.

Jan. 6, 1958 -- The two-acre, 1,150-ton roof of Mitchell Hall is raised more than 24 feet onto 16 columns in six hours using hydraulic jacks.

Jan. 7, 1956 -- The Academy fencing team forms under the direction of coach (Capt.) Richard Bowman.

Jan. 7, 2004 -- The first phase of the Academy Officer Development System is implemented. This is a four-year program educating and training cadets to become leaders for the nation.

Jan. 8, 1968 -- Flight training takes place at the Academy for the first time with the first flight of the Cessna T-41C.

Jan. 9, 1986 -- Falcon Football coach Fisher DeBerry is named the major college football coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association. He leads the team to a 12-1 record and a number five ranking in the United Press post-season national poll, an Academy record-high finish.

Jan. 10, 1968 -- The National Collegiate Athletic Association passes a rule authorizing freshmen to compete in all intercollegiate varsity sporting events with the exception of football and basketball. 

Jan. 12, 1978 -- Entertainer and humanitarian Bob Hope is presented the 1977 Thomas D. White Award. Established in 1962, the award is presented annually to a U.S. citizen whose have contributed significantly to U.S. defense.

Jan. 13, 1954 -- The House Armed Services Committee hears testimony on a bill to establish an Air Force academy.

Jan. 13, 1968 -- Falcon Basketball plays Navy for the first time, beating the Midshipmen 98-88 in Annapolis.

Jan. 13, 1976 -- Jacqueline Olivia Ware becomes the first female cadet candidate to enter the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School.

Jan. 13, 1989 -- The parachuting ground training facility is completed and becomes home to all Academy parachute training.

Jan. 13, 1993 -- Susan Helms, a 1980 Academy graduate, is the first female Academy graduate to fly in space as a member of the Space Shuttle Endeavor crew.

Jan. 15, 2009 -- Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, a 1973 Academy graduate, lands U.S. Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson River in New York. He's awarded the Academy's 2009 Col. James Jabara Award for Airmanship for his actions.

Jan. 16, 2004 -- The Academy's air traffic control tower opens. The tower, located between two runways, replaces the two towers on opposite sides of the runway, which made coordination difficult.

Jan. 17, 1959 -- The first Capehart housing unit is occupied in the 4206 cluster in Douglass Valley.

Jan. 17, 2004 -- Jeff Heidmous, a 1977 Academy graduate, is inducted into the National Water Polo Hall of Fame in St. Louis. Heidmous played water polo at the Academy and served as head coach.

Jan. 18, 2007 -- PBS documentarian Ken Burns discusses his film "The War" in an Arnold Hall presentation. The seven-part, 14-and-a-half hour documentary on World War II, co-produced by Lynn Novick, debuts on PBS in September 2007.

Jan. 25, 1956 -- Brig. Gen. "Billy" Mitchell testifies on Capitol Hill, saying it's "most essential . . . to have an air academy to form a basis for the permanent backbone of your air service and to attend to the . . . organizational part of it, very much in the same way that West Point does for the Army, or the Naval Academy for the Navy."

Jan. 20, 1965 -- A contingent of 600 cadets participates in President Lyndon Johnson's inauguration ceremony.

Jan. 20, 2005 -- Cadet 1st Class Austin Skelly, a 2005 graduate, marches in the Inaugural procession for President George W. Bush's second term.

Jan. 20, 2009 -- Cadet 1st Class Tim Black, a 2009 Academy graduate, marches in the Inaugural procession for President Barack Obama's first term.

Jan. 20, 2015 -- Cadets from the Academy's 40 cadet squadrons and staff march in the Inaugural procession for President Donald Trump's first term.

Jan. 20, 2009 -- Cadet 1st Class Tim Black, a 2009 Academy graduate, marches in the Inaugural procession for President Barack Obama's first term.

Jan. 21, 1954 -- The U.S House of Representatives passes a bill to establish the Academy.

Jan. 21, 1957 -- The Cadet Wing and U.S. Air Force Academy Band march in President Dwight Eisenhower's second inauguration in Washington D.C. The 20th Amendment to the Constitution sets January 20 as the official inaugural date but, because Jan. 20, 1957 falls on a Sunday, Eisenhower moved the public events to the following day.

Jan. 22, 1967 -- The base chapel in the Community Center is dedicated. A 53-foot tower on the west side of the chapel bears the Bell of Neuville, an 835-pound bell which hung from 1813 to 1950 in the tower of the Catholic Church in Neuville, France.

Jan. 22, 1968 -- Capt. Lance Sijan, a 1965 Academy graduate, dies of his wounds while a prisoner of war in Vietnam. In 1976, he becomes the first and so far only graduate to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Jan. 23, 2002 -- Maj. William Thomas, a 1986 Academy graduate, is the first American since World War II to receive the (Dutch) Flying Cross. He's awarded the second highest medal attainable in the Royal Netherlands Air Force for his bravery during a June 7, 1999, F-16 mission near Belgrade, Serbia, as an exchange pilot.

Jan. 24, 1975 -- The Academy announces the construction of an 18-hole addition to the Eisenhower Golf Course. This becomes the Silver Course.

Jan. 24, 2008 -- Capt. Travis Burton, a 2000 Academy graduate, flies a mission for which he receives the 2009 Colonel James Jabara Award for Airmanship. Burton, an A-10 pilot, distinguished himself through his heroic actions in an Operation Enduring Freedom sortie providing close air support for a coalition forces convoy taking heavy fire near Sangular Ghar, Afghanistan. He shares the award with Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, a 1973 Academy graduate.

Jan. 26, 1971 -- The Col. Richard Gimbel Aeronautical Collection is donated to the Academy. The collection features more than 10,000 books, prints, and other items relating to the beginnings of flight, including Sumerian seals dating to 2700 B.C.

Jan. 27, 1975 -- The Burgess Cabin, formerly known as "Capps' Cabin," is named to the National Register of Historic Places by Department of the Interior.

Jan. 28, 1958 -- By mutual consent, the Academy and football coach Buck Shaw terminate his contract. Shaw compiles a 9-8-2 record during his two-year tenure and is succeeded by Ben Martin.

Jan. 29, 1976 -- After more than a decade of accolades, the Academy Sport Parachuting Club decided the team needs a name. The team officially becomes known as "The Wings of Blue."

Jan. 31, 1993 -- Chad Hennings, a 1988 Academy graduate, wins the first of his three SuperBowl Championship rings with the Dallas Cowboys.

Jan. 31, 2002 -- Cadet 1st Class Warren Halle, a 2002 Academy graduate, is one of 33 runners to participate in the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympics Torch Relay as the torch passes through the Academy.

Jan. 31, 2002 -- Second LT. Nicholas Jabara, a 2001 Academy graduate, is killed in a T-37 crash in Texas. The grandson of Col. James Jabara, America's first jet ace and namesake for the Academy's Col. James Jabara Award for Airmanship, Jabara is recognized each year when the award is presented.

February Achievements

Feb. 1, 1990 -- The Academy's Cadet Chorale performs for President George Bush and Congress.

Feb. 3, 1995 -- Eileen Collins, former Academy math assistant professor and T-41 instructor pilot, is the first female astronaut to pilot a space shuttle as a member of the Discovery crew on mission STS-63.

Feb. 4, 2008 -- Randy Spetman, a 1976 Academy graduate, is hired by Florida State University as its athletics director. He was previously the athletics director for the Academy and Utah State.

Feb. 5, 1980 -- The Academy board approves a test Stop-Out program for third classmen to control attrition. Participants resign and are in an unpaid status for one year. The program is discontinued in January 1993.

Feb. 5, 2006 -- Bryce Fisher, a 1999 Academy graduate, plays in the NFL's SuperBowl XL for the Seattle Seahawks, who lose to Pittsburgh, 21-10. He's the second Academy graduate to play in a SuperBowl, following Chad Hennings, a 1988 Academy graduate. 

Feb. 6, 1957 -- Men's basketball defeats Colorado College 104-53, reaching the 100-point mark for the first time in Academy history.

Feb. 6, 1978 -- More than 1,000 cadets go on sick-call, suffering from A/USSR/77 influenza. Classes are canceled for three days.

Feb. 6, 1991 -- Flying an A-10 Thunderbolt II, Capt. Robert Swain, a 1979 Academy graduate, shoots down an Iraqi Bo-105C helicopter during combat operations over Iraq. This is the first A-10 kill. The aircraft Swain flew when recording his kill can be seen near Academy airfield.

Feb. 6, 2005 -- The Academy's Cadet Chorale teams with the Naval Academy Glee Club, West Point Choir and the Coast Guard Academy, to perform the national anthem at Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville, Florida. This is the first time the four academies perform together since President Richard Nixon's 1973 inauguration ceremony.

Feb. 6, 2012 -- President Barack Obama nominates Janet Wolfenbarger, a 1980 Academy graduate, for promotion to general, making her the Air Force's first female four-star general. She received her third star in December 2009 and became the Air Force's highest-ranking woman in January 2010.

Feb. 7, 1966 -- The first contract in a $40 million expansion program at the Academy is awarded to construct a new dormitory, which becomes Sijan Hall in 1976, to accommodate the increase in the Cadet Wing's population.

Feb. 7, 1997 -- Facilities for the Band of the Rockies is completed at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The U.S. Air Force Academy Band had been administratively moved to Air Force Space Command at Peterson July 1, 1993, and renamed the Band of the Rockies.

Feb. 7, 2003 -- H.T. Johnson, a 1959 Academy graduate, is directed by President George W. Bush to become the Navy's acting secretary.

Feb. 7, 1976 -- A large mural portraying the history of the Academy site is dedicated in the Arnold Hall Ballroom. The dedication ceremony is a highlight of the Academy's celebration of America's Bicentennial and Colorado's Centennial.

Feb. 8, 2012 -- Dave Pilipovich is announced as the men's basketball head coach and named permanent head coach March 3, 2012.

Feb. 9, 2006 -- The Air Force releases a revised version of its religious guidelines, its latest step in a process starting after a review at the Academy indicated a need for additional guidance.

Feb. 11, 2004 -- Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden speaks at the Academy as guest speaker at the National Character and Leadership Symposium.

Feb. 11, 1959 -- The Academy Board approves the creation of a philosophy course to be taught during the cadet's junior year.

Feb. 11, 2012 -- The Air Force basketball program takes part a banner-unveiling ceremony during halftime at a game against Boise State. The banners honor two of the program's all-time greats, Bob Beckel, a 1959 Academy graduate, and Cliff Parsons, a 1969 Academy graduate. Both wore jersey number 34.

Feb. 12, 1973 -- The release of prisoners of war from southeast Asia begins in Hanoi, Vietnam, and includes several Academy graduates. Operation Homecoming continues until March 29, 1973, when all 591 American prisoners are released and returned to the U.S.

Feb. 13, 1989 -- KAFA, the cadet radio station on 97.7 FM in Colorado Springs, returns to the air after a long absence. KAFA is the voice of cadets to Colorado Springs and the world, playing modern rock targeted to the cadet age group and offering special Academy programming, including Falcon sports, live coverage of cadet in-processing and graduation, Basic Cadet Training updates and more. The station supports many cadet activities with the KAFA Road Show, providing live DJ entertainment for events including the Ring Dance, Valentines ball and football tailgate parties.

Feb. 13, 1980 -- Capt. Steven Simon, a 1977 Academy graduate and member of the Lake Placid Olympic Winter Games Torch Relay Team, competes in the  Olympics' Opening Ceremonies. He represents Wyoming, where he was stationed, as one of 52 runners who to carried the Olympic torch on the 1,000-mile relay and took part in all ceremonies during the games.

Feb. 15, 1961 -- Seventy-three people die in the crash of a Boeing 707 in Brussels, Belgium, including the entire U.S. Figure Skating Team. Cadet 4th Class William Hickox, a 1964 Academy graduate, and his sister Laurie are among those killed. They were traveling to the World Figure Skating Championships in Prague, Czech Republic, to compete in the pairs competition.

Feb. 16, 2002 -- Legendary blues artist B.B. King performs at Arnold Hall.

Feb. 16, 2006 -- Academy vice superintendent Irv Halter, a 1977 Academy graduate, "pins" on his second star, making him the only major general to serve as vice superintendent in Academy history.

Feb. 17, 2004 -- Janet Therianos, a 1980 Academy graduate, is nominated by the president for promotion to brigadier general, making her the first female Academy graduate selected for promotion to flag officer rank.

Feb. 17, 2004 -- Construction begins on the cadet area protective perimeter fence. It's the first phase of an Academy plan to install approximately 8,000 feet of fencing in response to the 9/11 attacks and the heightened security requirements that followed.

Feb. 18, 1954 -- The Armed Services Committee begins hearings on a bill to establish an Air Force Academy.

Feb. 20, 2005 -- The Academy's Cadet Chorale sings the national anthem at the National Basketball Association All-Star Game in Denver.

Feb. 20, 2005 -- Fred Gregory, a 1964 Academy graduate, serves as the acting-NASA Administrator. He serves as NASA's deputy director, Aug. 12, 2002 until Nov. 4, 2005. Gregory is NASA's first African-American deputy administrator.

Feb. 21, 1981 -- Brig. Gen. Robert D. Beckel, a 1959 graduate, is the first Academy grad to serve as commandant of cadets.

Feb. 22, 1957 -- Gen. Hubert Harmon, the Academy's first superintendent, dies.

Feb. 22, 1958 -- The first death of a member of the Cadet Wing occurs when Richard Davis, a 1960 Academy graduate, is killed in a private aircraft accident near Denver.

Feb. 22, 2010 -- Country singer LeAnn Rimes performs at Arnold Hall.

Feb. 22, 2013 -- Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe is the first recipient of the Academy's Character and Leadership Award. The award is given to a U.S. citizen whose life, professional career and community service, exemplify the finest example of exemplary character and leadership in public service.

Feb. 23, 1943 -- An Army Air Force C-49J airliner crashes on Blodgett Peak, west of the Academy.

Feb. 24, 2007 -- Cadet 2nd Class Erik Mirandette, a 2008 Academy graduate, gives a speech at the National Character and Leadership Conference concerning the April 7, 2005 bombing that killed his brother in Cairo.

Feb. 24, 2009 -- Stubbs, a beloved 46-year-old horse at the Academy Equestrian Center since 1980, dies. A perfect employee, Stubbs worked six days a week, never took a vacation or filed a complaint of any sort.

Feb. 25, 1988 -- A then-record crowd of 6,355 spectators at the Academy's Clune Arena watches the men's basketball team lose to Brigham Young University, 76-62.

Feb. 25, 1999 -- The Exemplar Program begins. The Class of 2000 chooses Gen. James Doolittle as its exemplar and dedicates the Doolittle exhibit. The program continues to provide each Academy class with a role model.

Feb. 26, 2013 -- Thomas Yechout, an Academy professor of aeronautics, receives a patent for his design of angled wing tips for aircraft or "rakelets," designed to increase fuel efficiency.

Feb. 27, 2007 -- Professor Yalin Lu receives the National Natural Science Award from China's president, Hu Jintao, in Beijing.

Feb. 28, 1979 -- Falcons football head coach Bill Parcells makes a surprise announcement: he's resigning to accept a job as an assistant coach for the New York Giants. Parcells wins two SuperBowls with the Giants.

Feb. 28, 2014 -- The Academy concludes its 2014 National Character and Leadership Symposium. The annual symposium is one of the U.S.'s premier symposiums in the field of character and leadership development, and brings together distinguished scholars, military leaders, corporate executives, world-class athletes and others, to explore a character-related theme. This year's theme is "Overcoming Conflict: Individual Stories, Global Impact."

March Achievements

March 1, 1962 -- The Thomas D. White Award is established by the Academy. The award, presented annually to a U.S. citizen who contributes significantly to national defense, is named in honor of former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Thomas Dresser White.

March 1, 1996 -- Col. Randy Spetman, a 1976 Academy graduate, is the first Academy graduate to serve as director of athletics.

March 1, 2004 -- Air Force men's basketball defeats San Diego State 61-49 in Clune Arena to win its first Mountain West Conference title -- its first conference championship in any league.

March 1, 2012 -- The Academy's National Resources Office wins the 2011 National Military Conservation Partner Award, given by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The award, created in 2004, acknowledges a military installation for its outstanding accomplishments in promoting conservation on military lands.

March 2, 1964 -- The Academy begins closed circuit TV classes in mathematics for Academy servicemen and their dependents.

March 2, 1965 -- First Lt. Hayden Lockhart, a 1961 Academy graduate, is piloting an F-100 when he's shot-down and captured, becoming the first Academy graduate to become a prisoner of war.

March 2, 1967 -- The Academy Office of Information issues a press release stating the Cadet Honor Committee has completed hearings into honor violations reported Feb. 24, 1967. The release said 46 cadets had been resigned and left the Academy. After being criticized for secrecy after a 1965 honor incident, the Academy was praised for its candor regarding this incident.

March 2, 1979 -- Ken Hatfield is the fourth head football coach in Air Force history. He hires Fisher DeBerry as his quarterback coach and later offensive coordinator, and the pair institute the "option offense," giving the team great success.

March 3, 1964 -- President Lyndon Johnson signs Public Law 88-276, authorizing the Air Force Academy and the U.S. Military Academy to expand to the Naval Academy's strength. The Air Force Cadet Wing would increase from 2,529 to 4,417.

March 3, 2012 -- Dave Pilipovich is named permanent head coach of the men's basketball team.

March 4, 1949 -- Secretary of Defense James Forrestal establishes the Service Academy Board to study U.S. service academies and make recommendations.

March 4, 1976 -- Capt. Lance P. Sijan, a 1965 Academy graduate, is the first and so far only graduate to be awarded the Medal of Honor. President Gerald Ford presented the award to Sijan's parents at a White House ceremony.

March 4, 2004 -- Second Lt. Christopher Ayoub, a 2003 Academy graduate, receives the 2003 Cadet of the Year award at a Pentagon ceremony. The Air Force award recognizes the most outstanding cadet in an Air Force commissioning program. Ayoub is the first Academy graduate to win the award, established in 2000.

March 7, 1960 -- The men's basketball team makes the Academy's first appearance in the NCAA basketball tournament, losing 69-63 to DePaul. Only 25 teams make the tournament during that time.

March 7, 1967 -- The Academy hospital receives the Outstanding Unit Citation.

March 7, 1986 -- The U.S. Air Force Academy Band opens for entertainer and impressionist Rich Little in Arnold Hall.

March 7, 1993 -- U.S. Air Force Academy Band performs with guest conductor Gen. Maj. Nikolaj Mikhailovich Mikhailov, chief of Military Bands of the Russian Federation.

March 8, 1954 -- The Senate passes a bill establishing an Academy.

March 8, 2004 -- Nick Welch, a 2002 Academy graduate, wins the Mountain West Conference Co-Player of the Year Award. Air Force head coach Joe Scott is named Coach of the Year.

March 8, 2007 -- The FalconSAT-3 is launched aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, one of five deployed from the first-ever secondary payload adapter ring used with NASA's current generation evolved expendable launch vehicles.

March 8, 2008 -- The Astronautics Department celebrates its 50th anniversary as the world's first undergraduate astronautical engineering program.

March 8, 2010 -- Lt. Gen. Albert Patton Clark, the sixth Academy superintendent and president of the Friends of the Air Force Academy Library, dies.

March 9, 1954 -- Nathaniel Owings submits a formal request to Secretary of the Air Force Harold Talbott requesting Skidmore Owings and Merrill be considered as architects and engineers for the Academy. They eventually won the contract.

March 9, 1960 -- The second Academy Assembly begins. Gen. Lauris Norstad, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, is the keynote speaker.

March 10, 1992 -- Doolittle Hall, the Association of Graduates building, opens for partial use.

March 10, 1994 -- Capt. Harold Waters, a 1985 Academy graduate, flies the mission for which he received the 1995 Col. James Jabara Award for Airmanship. Waters recovered his RC-135 with 32 crew members on board after catastrophic a electrical failure occurred over the North Atlantic.

March 10, 2010 -- First Lt. Roni Yadlin, a 2009 Academy graduate, plays on the University of Oxford soccer team as the Blues beat Bedfordshire to win the British collegiate national championship. Yadlin, who played at Air Force, was at Oxford on a Holaday Scholarship, awarded annually to the top-ranking Academy graduate who competes for, but doesn't win, a Rhodes Scholarship.

March 12, 1962 -- The men's basketball team makes the Academy's second appearance in the NCAA basketball tournament, losing 68-66 to Texas Tech. Only 25 teams make the tournament during that time.

March 13, 2000 -- Second Lt. Shawna (Ng-A-Qui) Kimbrell, a 1998 Academy graduate, is the first African-American woman to become an Air Force F-16 fighter pilot.

March 14, 2004 -- The men's basketball team earns its first NCAA bid since 1962.

March 15, 1996 -- The Friends of the Air Force Academy Library sponsors its second annual exhibit: "The Benjamin C. Steele Prisoner of War Art Exhibit."

March 15, 1997 -- A major library exhibit opens to commemorate receipt of the collections of former prisoners of war held in Stalag Luft III. The Academy library has the world's largest collection of American POW manuscripts from Stalag Luft III.

March 15, 2007 -- Cadet 2nd Class Eric Ehn, a 2008 Academy graduate, becomes the first service academy hockey player to be named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, given to the best player in the country. It's the hockey equivalent of college football's Heisman Trophy. Two weeks later, he's recognized as one of the top three intercollegiate hockey players in the nation by his inclusion on the Hobey Baker Hat Trick list.

March 16, 2006 -- The men's basketball team makes the Academy's fourth appearance in the NCAA basketball tournament, losing 78-69 to Illinois.

March 17, 1995 -- The Friends of the Air Force Academy Library sponsors its first annual exhibit, "The Eagle Squadrons of World War II."

March 17, 2007 -- Falcon Hockey beats Army 6-1 to win the Atlantic Hockey Association championship and qualify for the 16-team NCAA hockey tournament. The team is the first service academy hockey team to win a conference title and to play in an NCAA tournament.

March 18, 2004 -- Men's Basketball makes the Academy's third appearance in an NCAA basketball tournament, losing 63-52 to North Carolina.

March 18, 2008 -- Sixty-percent of Academy agencies receive outstanding or excellent ratings for their performance in the unit compliance inspection.

March 19, 1966 -- Cadet 1st Class Pete Johnston, a 1966 Academy graduate,is killed in a parachuting accident at the Academy.

March 19, 1978 -- The Class of '81 hosts the Colorado Special Olympics for handicapped children.

March 20, 1968 -- The Falcon Foundation donates the music for "Bring Me Men" to the Academy. The phrase is from the poem "The Coming American," written in by Sam Walter Foss in 1894.

March 20, 2012 -- The artificial turf glider landing strip at the Academy airfield is unveiled. Believed to be the largest single installation of synthetic turf in the world, it is large enough to cover 23 football fields.

March 22, 1961 -- The third Academy Assembly begins, featuring Dr. Arthur Schlesinger, special assistant to the president, as the keynote speaker.

March 23, 1954 -- Gov. Dan Thornton signs Colorado General Assembly House Bill Number 5, which established a commission to work with federal agencies " . . . relative to the selection of a permanent location within the state for a U.S. Air Force Academy and to procure and convey real property selected or designated."

March 24, 2007 -- Falcon Hockey becomes the first service academy hockey team to play in the NCAA tournament, falling to No. 2 ranked Minnesota 4-3 at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The team won its fifth Atlantic Hockey Association conference championship in six years, but loses in the first round of the NCAA tournament, 2-0, to No. 1-ranked Boston College, the eventual national champions.

March 25, 1964 -- Cadet 1st Class Jay Kelley, a 1964 Academy graduate, and Cadet 3rd Class Pete Johnston, Class of '66, take home the Academy's first collegiate gold medals in parachuting accuracy.

March 25, 2011 -- After winning its fourth Atlantic Hockey Association conference championship in five years, Falcon Hockey plays in the NCAA tournament, losing 2-1 in overtime to top-seeded Yale.

March 26, 2012 -- The Senate confirms Janet Wolfenbarger, a 1980 Academy graduate, for promotion to general. Upon her June 2012 promotion, she becomes the Air Force's first female four-star general.

March 27, 1999 -- Maj. James Cardoso, Class of '88, flies a mission for which he receives the 2000 Col. James Jabara Award for Airmanship. Cardozo flew a Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk on a combat search and rescue mission over Serbia.

March 27, 2007 -- Men's Basketball plays in the semi-finals of the National Invitational Tournament at Madison Square Garden, New York, losing 68-67 to Clemson.

March 27, 2009 -- Falcon Hockey wins its first-ever NCAA tournament game with a 2-0 win over No. 3 ranked Michigan. The next day, the team falls in double-overtime to number 10-ranked Vermont. The "Elite Eight" finish is the best in Academy history.

March 27, 2011 -- Capt. Christopher D. McConnell, Class of '05, flies a mission for which he received the 2013 Col. James Jabara Award for Airmanship. His actions occurred during a more than 21-hour mission supporting the Libyan rebels, marking the first time a B-1 flies on a combat mission from the continental U.S. to strike enemy targets.

March 28, 2007 -- Cadet 2nd Class Eric Ehn, Class of '08, is recognized as one of the top three intercollegiate hockey players in the nation by his inclusion on the Hobey Baker Hat Trick list.

March 28, 2008 -- Falcon Hockey, winner of its second consecutive Atlantic Hockey Association championship and second straight trip to the NCAA hockey tournament, falls 3-2 to No. 2 ranked Miami.

March 29, 1954 -- The House and Senate convene a conference committee to resolve differences in legislation to establish the Academy. Final approval is given on the same day.

March 29, 1959 -- Donations are taken at all Air Force Base chapels worldwide. Proceeds from this Easter Sunday collection are used to fund the liturgical fittings and the organs in the Academy Chapel.

March 31, 2012 -- Cadet 2nd Class Craig Nowadly, Class of '13, receives the Frank G. Brooks Award for his research paper presentation at the regional Tri Beta National Biological Honor Society. Nowadly won the award for his research at the Academy's Life Sciences Research Center.
April Achievements

April Achievements

April 1, 1954 -- President Eisenhower signs Public Law 325, establishing the U.S. Air Force Academy.

April 1, 1958 -- The Military History and Geography Department is renamed the Geography Department.

April 1, 1958 -- The Astronautics Department is activated.

April 1, 1959 -- The first annual Academy Assembly opens and is attended by 60 undergraduates representing 30 colleges. Its theme is "International Stability and Progress." Paul Nitze, a military power and strategic arms expert who later served as deputy secretary of Defense, is the keynote speaker.

April 1, 1964 -- The sixth annual Academy Assembly begins. Secretary of the Air Force Eugene Zuckert and NASA Administrator James Webb are the primary speakers.

April 1, 1979 -- Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Miller becomes the Academy's fourth Cadet Wing sergeant major.

April 1, 1993 -- The Senate Armed Services Committee proposes deactivating the three service academy bands. Three months later, the U.S. Air Force Academy Band is assigned to Air Force Space Command and renamed "The Band of the Rockies."

April 1, 2004 -- The cadet area is designated a National Historic Landmark by the Interior Department on the Academy's 50th anniversary.

April 1, 2004 - The Postal Service issues a commemorative 37-cent stamp featuring the Cadet Chapel.

April 1, 2004 -- Lt. Gen. Hubert R. Harmon is named "The Father of the U.S. Air Force Academy."

April 1, 2004 -- The Friends of the Air Force Academy Library sponsor a gala in Doolittle Hall celebrating the release of their documentary film "Expect Great Things,"covering the Academy's first 50 years. More than 200 guests attend. Former Academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Brad Hosmer, a 1959 Academy graduate, introduced the documentary.

April 3, 1892 -- Lt. Gen. Hubert R. Harmon, the Academy's first superintendent, is born in Chester, Pennsylvania.

April 3, 1959 -- The Aerodynamics Department announces calibration has begun for its transonic wind tunnel, designed to provide pressure up to of 3,000 pounds each square-inch, allowing the tunnel to better-simulate flight conditions more than most wind tunnels of comparable size.

April 3, 1963 -- The fifth annual Academy Assembly begins with the theme, "Secretary of State." Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Gen. Ira C. Eaker attend.

April 4, 1949 -- The Service Academy Board recommends the establishment of the Academy.

April 4, 1983 -- Karol Bobko, a 1959 Academy graduate, is the first former-cadet to fly in space as pilot of the Space Shuttle Challenger's first flight.

April 4, 2002 -- The Academy begins its three-day Former Superintendents Conference, attended by four of its seven former superintendents. The event provides the superintendent advice and opinions on key Academy issues, and allows former superintendents to participate in Founders Day events.

April 7, 2017 -- The Air Force Academy hails its with its annual Founders’ Day celebration, a traditional celebration of the legacy and future of the Air Force Academy and its founders. Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson and the William Thompson, the president and CEO of the Academy’s Association of Graduates, presented four Academy alumni with the 2016 Distinguished Graduate Award in Mitchell Hall. The recipients are: retired Generals George Butler and Charles Holland, retired Col. Gary Payton; and David Yost.

April 11, 1977 -- The Academy's Wings of Blue parachute team beats Army's Golden Knights in team accuracy for the first time at the U.S. National meet.

April 12, 1981 -- The Space Shuttle Columbia lifts-off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., the first flight in a 30-year Space Transportation System program consisting of 135 missions and ending with it's final landing 

April 13, 1984 -- Academy officials notify local media of an honor investigation after determining a Physics 411 exam has been compromised. This resulted in an extensive review of the honor code. Then-Academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott, suspends the code and grants amnesty for a short period of time. One result of this event was the Cadet Wing voting to add the Honor Oath.

April 14, 1962 -- Four cadets perform their first skydives, setting in motion a process resulting in the establishment of the Academy's Wings of Blue parachute team.

April 14, 1994 -- Second Lt. Laura Piper, Class of '92, becomes the first female Academy grad to die in a combat zone. She was a passenger in a UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter on a humanitarian mission in the "No Fly" zone over northern Iraq. Posthumously promoted to the rank of first lieutenant, Piper was also the first female graduate to receive the Purple Heart.

April 15, 1965 -- The Academy hosts the first International Conference of Programming and Control.

April 15, 1966 -- Vice President Hubert Humphrey begins a two-day visit to the Academy. He also visited the Academy in January 1970.

April 15, 2009 -- Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, Class of '73, is presented the 2009 Col. James Jabara Award for Airmanship for safely landing U.S. Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson River

April 16, 1956 -- Architects present a full-size mock-up of a cadet room to Air Force officials.

April 16, 2009 -- The biography of Lt. Gen. Hubert Harmon, "Harmon: Airman, Officer, Father of the Air Force Academy" by Phillip Meilinger, is released. The tome is sponsored by The Friends of the Air Force Academy Library.

April 17, 2009 -- The Gen. Hubert R. Harmon Memorial, a gift from the Class of '59 with support from the Air Training Officers and the Harmon family, is dedicated during the Class of '59's 50-year reunion, April 17, 2009. Due to blizzard conditions, the dedication takes place in Arnold Hall but most attending brave the elements to visit the site.

April 18, 1942 -- Lt. Col. James Doolittle, the namesake of the Academy Association of Graduates building and exemplar for the Class of 2000, leads 16 B-25 aircraft from the USS Hornet in the first raid on Tokyo. Although all aircraft are lost, 14 crews survived. Doolittle was awarded the Medal of Honor and the other flyers received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

April 18, 1984 -- The Association of Graduates selects Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) as its third Honorary Member. Goldwater, namesake of the Academy's Visitor Center, was a major general in the Air Force Reserve and served five terms in the Senate. Honorary membership may be awarded to persons who have rendered outstanding service to the Air Force or the Academy. Membership is limited to 25 living persons.

April 19, 2012 -- The Academy Cyber Competition Team wins the 2012 NSA Cyber Defense exercise. The cadet team not only defeated the U.S. Military Academy, the Naval Academy the Coast Guard Academy, but scored higher than teams from the Air Force Institute of Technology and from the Royal Military College of Canada.

April 20, 2000 -- The Commandant of Cadets sponsors a "Casual Day." This was the first time cadets were allowed to wear civilian clothing to class. The casual day was to reward the Cadet Wing's outstanding performance during the semester and for its generosity in support of Wing Open Charities.

April 21, 2003 -- Rhodes scholar Bart Holaday, a 1965 Academy graduate, and his wife Lynn establish a scholarship to send cadets to Oxford University. The Holaday Scholarship, named in honor of his Holoday's mother, is awarded annually to the top-ranking Academy graduate who competes for, but does not win, a Rhodes scholarship.

April 22, 1968 -- With construction complete, the final acceptance and transfer of the Field House is made.

April 22, 1993 -- The Academy's recycling center opens for business near the South Gate.

April 22, 2009 -- Astronaut and former Sen. John Glenn is presented the 2008 Thomas D. White Award.

April 22, 2012 -- The Academy Cyber Competition Team takes second place in the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.

April 23, 1966 -- Capt. Robert Blake, a 1959 Academy graduate, is the first graduate to shoot down an enemy aircraft in aerial combat. He destroys a MiG-17 north of Hanoi while piloting an F-4C aircraft.

April 23, 1979 -- Former President Gerald R. Ford begins a four-day visit to the Academy, and teaches political science classes and addresses the entire Cadet Wing in the Field House as part of the Academy's 25-year commemorative activities. His topic? "The Role of the Military Officer in our Government System."

(Editor’s note: This list of achievements was created by Steven Simon, a 1977 Academy graduate.)