Class of 2010 crest embodies graduates' unity, pride

  • Published
  • By the Class of 2010
  • Ring Committee
The Class of 2010 has proven itself worthy of the motto, "Strength Within." Our class crest symbolizes this internal strength, and as we wear our rings, we will continue to embody the strength that we gain from the experience, good and bad, that the Academy has given us.

Pain is a part of the process; no one said getting stronger would be easy. From the first day of Basic Cadet Training -- some of us leaving behind everything we knew, others of us making another step in our military careers -- to today, when we will graduate; to many years into the future as we will help shape our great nation; we have built, are building and will build strength within.

As we take another step forward in our journey, we must realize that our strength within comes from sources of strength outside of ourselves. We must take every opportunity to learn and develop from each course of our experience. Just as we will wear our rings everywhere, we will consciously study and discover new strengths in every situation, wherever we are. Like our class exemplar, 2nd Lt. Frank Luke Jr., we must have sufficient internal strength to withstand the harsh trials that surely will come our way.

When we think we have given our all, it is imperative to draw on our inward strength to keep going, to keep fighting and to keep our hearts aligned with the truth that what we do matters and that we are responsible to lead and shape ourselves, others and our country. Our class crest on our rings, as we wear it close to our hearts, is an outward symbol of our strength within.

The class crest is one of the most treasured representations of class unity and class pride. Until graduation, we, the Class of 2010, will wear the ring with the crest facing inward, closest to our hearts. After graduation, the ring is turned so that the Academy Crest is closest to the heart of an officer ready and willing to protect and defend the Constitution with the training we have received. This is a unique tradition in which all graduates of the Academy are forever united. Through the blood and the sweat, the triumphs and the failures, we have become brothers and sisters for life.
Class of 2010 Ring

The Academy Crest is placed on the left side of the ring. The bezel surrounds a stone or inset plus the words, "United States Air Force Academy." These are encircled by a chain of 59 links to represent the first graduating class and the bond each class shares with its predecessors. These elements have remained constant throughout the years and serve as yet another bond all classes share together.

The Class of 2010 crest decorates the right side of the ring. It is composed of both compulsory and optional elements that together represent our Academy experience. The significance of the elements on the crest are listed below.

- Graduation Year. Our graduation year is boldly placed at the top of our crest, clearly identifying the crest as 2010's.

- Eagle. The eagle, the proud symbol of our nation, is posed aggressively on our crest, clenching the saber. Just as the eagle is ready to strike, so must we be prepared to respond to our nation's call at a moment's notice.

- Flag. The 10 visible stars and 10 visible stripes of the flag remind our class of the people who have gone before us and those will go after us in defense of our great nation -- and most importantly, our freedom.

- B-52. The B-52 is the plane that flew over our Acceptance Parade at the end of BCT. That parade symbolized our completion of Beast and acceptance into the Cadet Wing. This plane holds a special meaning to the members of 2010 and also represents our class, the 52nd class to graduate.

- Saber. The eagle's grasping of the saber links our crest to the crest of our legacy class, 1970, and our desire to follow their example of selflessly defending our nation.

- Class Motto. 'Vires Intra" is Latin for our class motto, "Strength Within." Our motto captures the incredible bravery shown by our class exemplar, Lieutenant Luke, whose bold actions in the face of capture and death helped shape the victory of the Allied forces during World War I.

- Polaris. Always visible in the northern sky, Polaris serves as a reminder to our class that our Air Force operations reach far beyond Earth -- into outer space. It is an always-present reminder of those who have ventured into the unknown for the benefit of humanity and a guide for us to follow as we endeavor to meet the challenges of our world and beyond.

- Chapel. The most recognizable building at the Air Force Academy, the Chapel, reminds us of our personal values and is also symbolic of the Academy's beauty.

- Class Year - LII. Roman numerals represent the 52nd class to graduate from the Air Force Academy.