Graduation is major step in Class of 2014's 'flight through life'

Dean of the Faculty, Brig. Gen. Andrew Armacost (U.S. Air Force photo)

Dean of the Faculty, Brig. Gen. Andrew Armacost (U.S. Air Force photo)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY PUBLIC AFFAIRS -- Congratulations to the U.S. Air Force Academy's 56th graduating class!

In June 2010, 1,294 young women and men stepped off the buses in front of Vandenberg Hall. At the end of Basic Cadet Training, 1,262 entered the Cadet Wing as members of the Class of 2014. On May 28, four challenging years later, the Air Force eagerly accepted 995 new second lieutenants into its ranks.

Our newest lieutenants will begin serving in 40 different career fields and 453 will attend pilot training. Another 116 will enroll in graduate school for their first assignment. We are proud of what these young men and women have accomplished over the past four years, and we are eager to see the amazing things they will do in the future.

Congratulations to the families, friends and mentors of our graduates and to all of Team USAFA. The Academy's four-year path is demanding - and the support and counsel of so many enable our cadets to successfully complete this program. We are grateful to those who look out for the safety and well-being of our cadets, who nurture their professional and character development, and who motivate them toward excellence in all they do.

From the Mitchell Hall staff to the Airmen guarding the cadet area gates, May 28 was a day of great accomplishment and celebration for all who helped the Class of 2014 get to where they are today. Share in the graduates' accomplishments and know that you helped launch them on their flight through life.

The Class of 2014 is entering the Air Force at a momentous time, and there is no doubt our newest graduates are ready. They are field-tested and have proven themselves ready to face whatever challenges the future holds. Our newest second lieutenants are joining their fellow Airmen on the heels of a record force drawdown and amidst unrest in Ukraine and the withdrawal from Afghanistan. The world these young officers are entering is much different than when I entered in the late 1980s. There is no doubt that these remarkable men and women will lead our Air Force with honor and integrity.

To the Class of 2014, take with you into the Air Force the lessons you have learned at USAFA along with the bonds and friendships you have made. These will be priceless during your journey as an officer in the best military ever seen. Serve with confidence and pride, knowing that you have conquered all the challenges we set before you, and defend the Constitution and the American people with compassion and honor.

Congratulations, Class of 2014!