U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. --
In June 2012, 1,190 young men and women took the first steps of the journey to join the Long Blue Line. May 24 marked a pivot point in their journey as the Air Force proudly accepted 979 new second lieutenants into its ranks.
To all the families, friends and mentors of our graduates, thank you! Your support and encouragement throughout the last four years has played a significant role in their success. We appreciate all you have done, and will continue to do, to contribute to their success as they go forward in service to our nation.
To the graduates, you have joined the Air Force at an exciting time and I am confident you are ready. As the first class to enter after I became the dean in 2013, I feel a special bond with your class. We have shared conversations at Jacks Valley and in Mitchell Hall, encounters on the terrazzo and in Clune Arena, and I’ve watched you lead the Cadet Wing to the best academic record in decades. I am tremendously proud of all your accomplishments at the Academy, but even more excited to see what you achieve in the coming years. From your technical training to graduate school and beyond, I encourage you to continue a life-long pursuit of learning. Further intellectual development is critical to your success as an officer and leader in our Air Force.
The world continues to change and bring new challenges. It’s an exciting time for our Air Force, as innovation and modernization efforts take us to new horizons. I believe the future holds remarkable technological and sociological advancements, and I am confident that you will be the catalysts for creative solutions to the complex problems we face today.
Though you now embark on individual Air Force careers, you will remain connected, not only because of your shared Academy experiences, but because you serve together as brothers and sisters in arms. Although you will be serving in 41 different Air Force specialty codes and in locations across the globe, you are all on the same team. Stay true to your motto, “Respect all, fear none,” and your service and leadership will ensure we remain the world’s greatest Air Force.
Class of 2017, you have every reason to be proud of what you have accomplished during the last four years. At the same time, recognize graduation is not the end of the journey, but rather a milestone on your road to success. Your achievements at the Air Force Academy are evidence of talent and determination, which points to even greater attainments in the years ahead. Again, congratulations and I look forward to serving with you.