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The A-10 Thunderbolt II
The A-10 Thunderbolt II, flown by Capt. Robert Swain, Class of '79, is seen on display at the Academy on Thunderbird Overlook. On Feb. 6, 1991, Swain shot down an Iraqi Bo-105C helicopter during combat operations over Iraq, recording the first-ever air-to-air kill by an A-10. (U.S. Air Force Photo)
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Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the U.S. Air Force Academy

Posted 4/20/2014   Updated 4/18/2014 Email story   Print story

    


by U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs
Academy Development and Alumni Program


4/20/2014 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo.  -- The U.S. Air Force Academy recently celebrated a monumental milestone - its 60th anniversary.

To commemorate this accomplishment, Steve Simon, Academy graduate and donor liaison, has been busy researching Academy history and identifying dates and events that tell our story.

This is "history with a twist"-- instead of listing these events in chronological order, we've been presenting these milestones by date since the turn of the year. We'll continue to highlight significant Academy events, landmarks and accomplishments throughout the year in the Academy Spirit, online at www.usafa.af.mil and via our Academy Facebook site, www.facebook.com/USAFA.Official.

Meredith Harlow, the Academy Artifacts director, has regularly provided photos to illustrate our list and research for this project continues.

Some Academy areas are underrepresented, so we invite those with ideas or dates to call 333-8827.

Happy 60th Anniversary to the Academy. We hope you continue to enjoy this feature. 

ACADEMY 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 a 0-0 tie against heavily-favored Texas Christian University in the Cotton Bowl.

Jan. 1, 1978 -- Bill Parcells begins his tenure as Academy head football coach. He left after one season, and went on to win two Super Bowls in 19 years as an NFL head coach.

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

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 in Pasadena, Calif.

Jan. 1, 1956 -- Buck Shaw is hired as the Academy's first football head coach. He coached at Air Force for two seasons and also coached in the NFL. Shaw was the San Francisco 49ers first head coach, and also coached the Philadelphia Eagles. The director of athletics, Col. Robert Whitlow, coached Air Force uring its inaugural 1955 season.

Jan. 2, 1973 -- Compulsory chapel ends, as Defense Secretary Melvin Laird directs service secretaries to change their regulations on chapel attendance. In December 1972, the Supreme Court declined to review the Court of Appeals ruling that mandatory chapel attendance at the three 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. Wings of Blue skydivers took home 13 gold, 18 silver and 15 bronze medals at the competition, held Dec. 2, 2012 - Jan. 2.

Jan. 3, 2008 -- Second Lieutenant Brandon Dues, Class of '07, 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 of the Air Force Gen. Duncan McNabb, Class of '74, presented 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 Jabara Award goes to an Academy graduate, living or deceased, whose actions directly associated with an aerospace vehicle set them apart from their contemporaries. 

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

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

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

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

Jan. 9, 1986 -- Air Force football coach Fisher DeBerry is named the major college football coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association. He led 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. The Academy makes these changes to its programs.

Jan. 12, 1978 -- Entertainer and humanitarian Bob Hope is presented the 1977 Thomas D. White Award. The award, established in 1962, is presented annually to a U.S. citizen who has contributed significantly to the national defense of the nation.

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

Jan. 13, 1968 -- The Air Force basketball team 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 Academy Prep School.

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

Jan. 13, 1993 --
Susan Helms, Class of '80, becomes the first female Academy grad to fly in space as a member of the Endeavor crew.

Jan. 15, 2009 -- Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, Class of '73, lands U.S. Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson River in New York. For his actions, he's awarded the Academy's 2009 Colonel James Jabara Award for Airmanship.

Jan. 16, 2004 -- The new air traffic control tower opens at the Academy airfield. The tower, centrally located between two runways, replaced the two towers located on opposite sides of the runway, which had 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, Class of '77, is inducted into the National Water Polo Hall of Fame in St. Louis. Heidmous played water polo at the Academy and is currently the 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, who also appeared, would debut on PBS in September 2007.

Jan. 25, 1956 -- Brig. Gen. "Billy" Mitchell testifies on Capitol Hill, saying it was "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 participate in President Lyndon Johnson's inauguration ceremony.

Jan. 20, 2005 -- Cadet 1st Class Austin Skelly, Class of '05, marches in the Inaugural procession for President George W. Bush's second term.

Jan. 20, 2009 -- Cadet 1st Class Tim Black, Class of '09 grad, marches in the Inaugural procession for President Barack Obama's first term.

Jan. 21, 1954 --
The 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 set Jan. 20 as the official inaugural date but, because Jan. 20, 1957 fell 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, bearing 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 P. Sijan, Class of '65, dies of his wounds while in captivity in Vietnam. In 1976, he would become the first (and so far only) graduate to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Jan. 23, 2002 -- Maj. William Thomas, Class of '86, becomes the first American since World War II to receive the (Dutch) Flying Cross. He was 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 would become the Silver Course.

Jan. 24, 2008 -- Capt. Travis A. Burton, Class of '00, flies the mission for which he received 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 shared the 2009 Jabara Award with Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, Class of '73.

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 terminated his contract. Shaw compiled a 9-8-2 record during his two-year tenure and was succeeded by Ben Martin.

Jan. 29, 1976 -- After more than a decade of accolades and recognition, 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, Class of '88 wins the first of his three Super Bowl Championship rings with the Dallas Cowboys.

Jan. 31, 2002 -- Cadet 1st Class Warren Halle, Class of '02, 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 Lieutenant Nicholas Jabara, Class of '01, 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 Colonel James Jabara Award for Airmanship, Jabara is recognized each year when the award is presented.

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, becomes 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, Class of '76, is hired by Florida State University as its athletics director. Previously, he had been the athletics director for the Academy and Utah State.

Feb. 5, 1980 -- The Academy board approves a test Stop-Out program for third classmen indented to help control attrition. Participants resigned and were in a non-pay status for one year. The program was discontinued in January 1993.

Feb. 5, 2006 -- Bryce Fisher, Class of '99, plays in the NFL's Super Bowl XL for the Seattle Seahawks, who lost to Pittsburgh, 21-10. He's the second Academy grad to play in a Super Bowl, following Chad Hennings, Class of '88.

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 are seen 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, Class of '79, 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 has been on display at the Academy, near the airfield, since 2002.

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, Fla. This is the first time the four academies have performed together since President Richard Nixon's 1973 inauguration ceremony.

Feb. 6, 2012 -- President Barack Obama nominates Janet Wolfenbarger, Class of '80, 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 the $40 million expansion program is awarded to construct a new dormitory, which would become Sijan Hall in 1976, to accommodate the increase in the size of the Cadet Wing.

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

Feb. 7, 2003 -- H.T. Johnson, Class of 1959, is directed by President George W. Bush to assume the duties of acting secretary of the Navy.

Feb. 7, 1976 -- A large mural portraying the history of the Academy site is dedicated in the Arnold Hall Ballroom. The dedication ceremony was 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 started 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 a 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 honors two of the program's all-time greats, Bob Beckel, Class of '59, and Cliff Parsons, Class of '69. Both players 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 were released and returned to the United States.

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 the Colorado Springs area and the world, playing new modern rock, targeted to the cadet age group, and offering special Academy programming including Falcon sports, live coverage of cadet inprocessing 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 like Ring Dance, Valentines ball and football tailgates. 

Feb. 13, 1980 -- Capt. Steven Simon, Class of '77, a member of the Lake Placid Olympic Winter Games Torch Relay Team, competes in the Lake Placid Olympics Opening Ceremonies. He represented Wyoming (where he was stationed) as one of only 52 runners selected to carry the torch on the 1,000-mile relay and take part in all ceremonies during the games.

Feb. 15, 1961 -- The crash of a Boeing 707 in Brussels takes the lives of 73 persons, including the entire U.S. Figure Skating Team. Cadet Fourth Class William Hickox, Class of '64, and his sister Laurie, were among those killed. They were flying 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's vice superintendent Irv Halter, Class of '77, pins on his second star, making him the only major general to serve as vice superintendent in Academy history.

Feb. 17, 2004 -- Janet Therianos, Class of '80, is nominated 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 Senate Armed Services Committee begins hearings on a bill to establish a U.S. 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, Class of '64, begins serving as the acting NASA Administrator. He served as NASA's deputy director Aug. 12, 2002 until Nov. 4, 2005. Gregory was NASA's first African-American deputy administrator.

Feb. 21, 1981 -- Brig. Gen. Robert D. Beckel, Class of '59, becomes the first Academy grad to serve as commandant of cadets.

Feb. 22, 1957 -- Gen. Hubert R. Harmon, the Academy's first superintendent, passes away.

Feb. 22, 1958 -- The first death of a member of the Cadet Wing occurs when Richard Davis, Class of '60, 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 becomes 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 examples of exemplary character and leadership in public service.

Feb. 23, 1943 -- An Army Air Force C49J airliner crashes on Blodgett Peak, west of the Academy site.

Feb. 24, 2007 -- Cadet 2nd Class Erik Mirandette, Class of '08, gives a speech at the National Character and Leadership Conference on the April 7, 2005 bombing that killed his brother in Cairo.

Feb. 24, 2009 -- Stubbs, the beloved 46-year-old horse who had been at the Academy Equestrian Center since 1980, passes away. A perfect employee, he 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. Jimmy Doolittle as its exemplar and dedicates the Doolittle exhibit. The program continues to provide each Academy class with a role model.

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

Feb. 27, 2007 -- Academy professor Dr. Yalin Lu receives the National Natural Science Award from President Hu Jintao in Beijing, China.

Feb. 28, 1979 -- Head football coach Bill Parcells makes a surprise announcement that he's resigning to accept a job as an assistant coach for the New York Giants. Parcells would go on to win two SuperBowls as a head coach at the professional level, both with the Giants.

Feb. 28, 2014 -- The Academy concludes its 2014 National Character and Leadership Symposium. This annual symposium is one of the nation'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: "Overcoming Conflict: Individual Stories, Global Impact."

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

March 1, 1996 -- Col. Randy Spetman, Class of '76, becomes 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, and its first conference championship in any league.

March 1, 2012 -- The Academy's National Resources Office is selected as the winner of the 2011 National Military Conservation Partner Award by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The award was created in 2004 and acknowledges a military installation for outstanding accomplishment in promoting conservation on military lands.

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

March 2, 1965 -- First Lieutenant Hayden Lockhart, Class of '61, flying an F-100, is shot down and captured, becoming the first Academy graduate prisoner of war.

March 2, 1967 -- The Academy Office of Information issues a press release stating the Cadet Honor Committee had completed hearings into honor violations originally reported on Feb. 24.
The release said 46 cadets had 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 becomes the fourth head football coach in Air Force history. He hired Fisher DeBerry as his quarterback coach and later offensive coordinator, and the pair instituted the option offense which gave 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 soon grows 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 -- James Forrestal, the Secretary of Defense, establishes the Service Academy Board to study U.S. service academies and make recommendations.

March 4, 1976 -- Capt. Lance P. Sijan, Class of '65, becomes the first and so far only graduate to be awarded the Medal of Honor. President Gerald Ford presented the award to Captain Sijan's parents at a White House ceremony.

March 4, 2004 -- 2nd Lt. Christopher Ayoub, Class of '03, receives the 2003 Cadet of the Year award at a Pentagon ceremony. The Air Force-level award recognizes the most outstanding cadet in an Air Force commissioning program. He's the first Academy graduate to win the award, established in 2000.

March 5, 1976 -- The Comptroller General publishes its 98-page report "Student Attrition at the Five Federal Service Academies."

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 made 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 -- The U.S. Air Force Academy Band performs with guest conductor General Major Nikolaj Mikhailovich Mikhailov, chief of Military Bands of the Russian Federation.

March 8, 1954 -- The Senate passes a bill to establish an Air Force Academy.

March 8, 2004 -- Nick Welch, Class of '07, wins the Mountain West Conference coplayer of the year award. Also, Air Force head coach Joe Scott was named Coach of the Year.

March 8, 2007 -- The FalconSAT-3 is launched aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., one of five deployed from the first-ever Secondary Payload Adapter Ring used with the 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, passes away.

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-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, Class of '85, flies the mission for which he received the 1995 Colonel James Jabara Award for Airmanship. Waters recovered his RC-135 with 32 crewmembers aboard after catastrophic electrical failure occurred over the North Atlantic.

March 10, 2010 -- First Lieutenant Roni Yadlin, Class of '09, plays on the University of Oxford soccer team as the Blues beat Bedfordshire to win the British collegiate national championship. Yadlin, who also played at Air Force, was at Oxford on a Holaday Scholarship, awarded annually to the top-ranking Academy graduate who competes for, but does not, 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 made the tournament during that time. 

March 13, 2000 -- Second Lieutenant Shawna (Ng-A-Qui) Kimbrell, Class of '98, the first female African-American fighter pilot in the Air Force, becomes qualified in the F-16.

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 the 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, Class of '08, 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 would be 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 -- The Academy hockey team beats Army 6-1 to win the Atlantic Hockey Association championship and qualify for the 16-team NCAA hockey tournament. The team was the first service academy hockey team to win a conference title and to play in the NCAA tournament.

March 18, 2004 -- The men's basketball team makes the Academy's third appearance in the NCAA basketball tournament, losing 63-52 to North Carolina.

March 18, 2008 -- At the unit compliance inspection outbrief, 60 percent of Academy agencies received "outstanding" or "excellent" ratings.

March 19, 1966 -- Cadet 1st Class Pete Johnston, Class of '66, 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 1894 by Sam Walter Foss.

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 -- Air Force 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.

March 24, 2012 -- Air Force Hockey wins 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, Class of '64, 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, Air Force Hockey plays in the NCAA tournament, losing 2-1 in overtime to top-seeded Yale.

March 26, 2012 -- The Senate confirms Janet Wolfenbarger, Class of '80, for promotion to general. Upon her promotion in June 2012, 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 Colonel James Jabara Award for Airmanship. Cardozo flew a Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk on a combat search and rescue mission over Serbia.

March 27, 2007 -- Air Force 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 -- Air Force 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 No. 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 Colonel James Jabara Award for Airmanship. His heroic 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 -- Air Force 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 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 H. 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 M. Zuckert and NASA administrator James E. Webb are the event's 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, including former Academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Brad Hosmer, Class of '59, who introduces the documentary.

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

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 per square-inch which
allows it to better simulate flight conditions than most wind tunnels of comparable size.

April 3, 1963 -- The fifth annual Academy Assembly begins. Its theme is "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, Class of '59, becomes the first Academy graduate to fly in space as pilot of the Space Shuttle Challenger's maiden 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 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 July 21, 2011. Thirty-six Academy grads flew aboard NASA missions on Space Shuttles Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour.

April 13, 1984 -- Academy officials notify local media of an honor investigation after determining a Physics 411 exam had been compromised. This resulted in an extensive review of the honor code. The superintendent, Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott, suspended the code and granted 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 Lieutenant Laura Piper, Class of '92, becomes the first female Academy graduate 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 would also visit the Academy in January 1970.

April 15, 2009 -- Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, Class of '73, is presented the 2009 Colonel 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 mockup 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 50-year reunion, April 17, 2009. Due to blizzard-like conditions, the dedication takes place in Arnold Hall, but most attending still brave the elements to visit the site.

April 18, 1942 -- Lt. Col. James Doolittle, namesake of the Academy Association of Graduates building and exemplar for the Class of '00, leads 16 B-25s from the USS Hornet in the first raid on Tokyo. Although all aircraft were 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 Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater 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 U.S. Naval Academy the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, but also 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, Class of '65, and his wife Lynn establish a scholarship to send cadets to Oxford University. The Holaday Scholarship, named in honor of his 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 is opened just outside the south gate.

April 22, 2009 -- Astronaut and former Senator John Glenn is presented the 2008 Thomas D. White Award. The award, established in 1962, is presented annually to a U.S. citizen who has contributed significantly to the national defense of the United States.

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

April 23, 1966 -- Capt. Robert Blake, Class of '59, becomes the first graduate to shoot down an enemy aircraft in aerial combat. He destroyed a MiG-17 while flying an F-4C north of Hanoi.

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

April 24, 1959 -- The Academy receives academic accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, becoming the only school ever accredited before graduating even one class.

April 24, 1996 -- Groundbreaking for the second Child Development Center, located in Pine Valley, takes place. The facility has 16 classrooms, a full kitchen, five administrative offices, a staff lounge and separate playgrounds for each age group, and can accommodate 250 children between the ages of 6 weeks to 5 years-old. The facility opened to the public in December 1997. On July 17, 2009, the USAFA Child Development Center was renamed the Donna Head Child Development Center.

April 18, 1942 -- Lt. Col. James Doolittle, namesake of the Academy Association of Graduates building and exemplar for the Class of '00, leads 16 B-25s from the USS Hornet in the first raid on Tokyo. Although all aircraft were 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 Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater 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 U.S. Naval Academy the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, but also 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, Class of '65, and his wife Lynn establish a scholarship to send cadets to Oxford University. The Holaday Scholarship, named in honor of his 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 is opened just outside the south gate.

April 22, 2009 -- Astronaut and former Senator John Glenn is presented the 2008 Thomas D. White Award. The award, established in 1962, is presented annually to a U.S. citizen who has contributed significantly to the national defense of the United States.

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

April 23, 1966 -- Capt. Robert Blake, Class of '59, becomes the first graduate to shoot down an enemy aircraft in aerial combat. He destroyed a MiG-17 while flying an F-4C north of Hanoi.

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

April 24, 1959 -- The Academy receives academic accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, becoming the only school ever accredited before graduating even one class.

April 24, 1996 -- Groundbreaking for the second Child Development Center, located in Pine Valley, takes place. The facility has 16 classrooms, a full kitchen, five administrative offices, a staff lounge and separate playgrounds for each age group, and can accommodate 250 children between the ages of 6 weeks to 5 years-old. The facility opened to the public in December 1997. On July 17, 2009, the USAFA Child Development Center was renamed the Donna Head Child Development Center.

(To submit a historical fact or achievement, call Steven Simon, the Academy's graduate and donor liaison. Simon is a Class of '77 graduate.
For more information, call 333-8827)




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