At the 'tip of the spear': USAFA's leadership, training environment prepares leaders for the nation

Brig. Gen. Greg Lengyel

Brig. Gen. Greg Lengyel

This month, we commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Air Force's Academy. As we look forward to another 60 years of producing lieutenants for our Air Force and leaders for our nation, we do so founded in our culture of commitment -- commitment to the nation, to our Air Force and its core values, to our Academy and our fellow Airmen.

The foundation of commitment to service to our nation means being committed not just because rules dictate so, but because it's the right thing to do.

Going forward and based on the foundation of tradition from the previous 60 years, we are now implementing new initiatives to put more responsibility on the shoulders of the cadet chain of command and emphasize a strong sense of duty, commitment and accountability. We are giving cadet leadership more authority and as the commandant, I have seen the cadets step-up and run the Cadet Wing with confident, yet humble ownership.

Confidence and humility are also a hallmark of our Cadet Wing staff. Our professional officers, enlisted personnel and civilian Airmen are proud to ensure the Air Force's only Academy continues to advance its proud legacy of graduates who are humble, competent, and confident and who earn the trust of those who work for them and those they work for.
Although we've existed as an Academy for only a fraction of the time in comparison to our sister services, we continue to produce officers who are at the "tip of the spear" in myriad combat and other key national defense operations.

Preparation for leading our nation now and into the future begins by ensuring our cadets are immersed in the traditions and professional values essential to the institutional character of the Air Force. They experience an intensive professional military environment while achieving a four-year college education. This leadership training environment crystallizes their intentional commitment to the core value of "service before self" and enables them to become fit, ethically-based, service-minded officers prepared to lead and mentor Airmen.

In addition, our nationally recognized airmanship, cyber and space teams and programs are second to none. They expose cadets to the modern way of warfare and prepare and motivate cadets for operational careers. These operational activities provide cadets their first exposure to how the Air Force applies and projects Airpower. Together, these experiences develop an operational mindset and systemic appreciation for the wide spectrum of Air Force missions and uniquely postures cadets for the profession of arms.

Our mission is to educate, train, and inspire men and women to become officers of character motivated to lead the Air Force in service to our nation. Our track record is 60 years of success on this front and, at this inflection point for our nation, our Air Force and our Academy, we look forward to continuing this strong tradition with a laser focus on those cadet activities that have the highest priority to prepare lieutenants to lead Airmen. Happy 60th, USAFA!

Academy Commandants of Cadets:

· Brig. Gen. Robert Stillman, September 1954 - August 1958

· Maj. Gen. Henry Sullivan Jr., August 1958 - June 1961

· Brig. Gen. William Seawell, June 1961 - February 1963

· Brig. Gen. Robert Strong Jr., March 1963 - June 1965

· Brig. Gen. Louis Seith, June 1965 - November 1967

· Brig. Gen. Robin Olds, December 1967 - January 1971

· Brig. Gen. Walter Galligan, January 1971 - February 1973

· Brig. Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg Jr., February 1973 - July 1975

· Brig. Gen. Stanley Beck, July 1975 - March 1978

· Brig. Gen. Thomas Richards, March 1978 - February 1981

· Brig. Gen. Robert Beckel, February 1981 - June 1982

· Brig. Gen. Anthony Burshnick, June 1982 - July 1984

· Brig. Gen. Marcus Anderson, July 1984 - June 1986

· Brig. Gen. Sam Westbrook III, June 1986 - July 1989

· Maj. Gen. Joseph Redden, July 1989 - June 1992

· Brig. Gen. Richard Bethurem, June 1992 - June 1993

· Maj. Gen. Patrick Gamble, June 1993 - November 1994

· Brig. Gen. John Hopper Jr., November 1994 - July 1996

· Brig. Gen. Stephen Lorenz, August 1996 - June 1999

· Brig. Gen. Mark Welsh III, June 1999 - August 2001

· Brig. Gen. S. Taco Gilbert III, August 2001 - April 2003

· Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida, April 2003 - December 2005

· Brig. Gen. Susan Desjardins, December 2005 - October 2008

· Brig. Gen. Samual Cox, October 2008 - July 2010

· Brig. Gen. Richard Clark, July 2010 - June 2012

· Brig. Gen. Gregory Lengyel, June 2012- present