The Contrails: Honor Oath

Image of various Contrails from through out the years.

Image of various Contrails from through out the years.

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. --

Beginning this week on www.usafa.af.mil and in the Academy weekly, we’ll highlight information from the latest edition of “Contrails,” the guidebook given to each year’s class of cadets since 1959. This week, we’ll include an excerpt on the Honor Oath, from page 19 of this year’s edition.  

 The Honor Oath

We will not Lie, Steal, or Cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and to live honorably, so help me God (optional).’

The first sentence of this oath is the USAFA Honor Code. One of the requirements for membership in the cadet wing is taking the oath and agreeing to live under the Honor Code. Perhaps the first time a new cadet is required to do anything individually is when each newly accepted fourth class cadet solemnly affirms to abide by the Oath one at a time. This reflects the personal nature of the code to each cadet and his or her personal commitment to uphold honor with himself or herself, the rest of the cadet wing, and anyone with whom they interact.

In a tradition begun with the acceptance of the Class of 1998, the entire wing also takes the oath while facing the incoming class at the acceptance parade. This is not only a re-affirmation of the Wing’s commitment to the Honor Code, but represents our common commitment to enforce the code among ourselves.

In taking the Oath, cadets pledge to place personal integrity, the interests of the wing, and the Air Force ahead of whatever personal advantages might accrue from lying, stealing, cheating, or tolerating violations of the code. The Honor Code is the proudest tradition of our Academy and has remained unchanged since it was first accepted by the Class of 1959 as the minimum standard. It is one of our most distinguishing characteristics, and whether or not that tradition remains viable is up to each individual to live honorably and with a sense of integrity in doing the right thing.

The Honor Code and system is administered by the Cadet Honor Committee. With representatives at the squadron, group, and wing levels, each member is elected to serve in his/her position by classmates. Cadets who are suspected of violating the Honor Code are investigated and then have their cases heard by a board of their peers. Violators of the code receive severe punishments, often including disenrollment.

Living under an Honor Code places no further restrictions on cadet life than that which will be expected of an officer. Living honorably is vital to effective officership and to maintaining the trust and respect between service members. Most graduates agree living under the Honor Code as a cadet is one of the best methods of preparation for all their life’s interactions.

For further information about honor, refer to the Air Force Cadet Wing Honor Code Reference Handbook