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Academy cadets celebrate Acceptance Day

Acceptance Day 2020

The U.S. Air Force Academy welcomes the class of 2024 into the cadet wing with ceremonial cannon fire and pageantry, Aug. 10, 2020. The annual Acceptance Day event celebrates the completion of Basic Cadet Training and the beginning of the new academic year. (U.S. Air Force Academy photo/Trevor Cokley)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Air Force Academy welcomed the Class of 2024 into the cadet wing with a ceremony and parade at Stillman Parade Field here Aug. 10.

Despite strict parameters to mitigate the coronavirus, including spatial distancing, mandatory wear of facemasks and a very limited audience, Acceptance Day held all the tradition one would expect at an event usually attended by thousands of friends and relatives.  

“I congratulate the Class of 2024 on navigating a new training environment even while adapting to the basic tenants of military service,” said Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, the Academy’s superintendent. “I'm proud of these cadets for demonstrating the type of resilience and determination we look for in our future officers.”

Acceptance Day marks the end of Basic Cadet Training, six weeks of mental, physical and military training. During the ceremony, cadets marched in parade formation and received their fourth-class shoulder boards, signifying their acceptance into the cadet wing. Successfully completing BCT is one of the first steps cadets take toward earning a commission as an Air or Space force officer.

“I also credit the cadet cadre and the professionals in the cadet wing for executing a challenging BCT curriculum, while adhering to social distancing and mask-wearing policies that help protect the health of the entire Academy installation and community,” Silveria said.

Basic Cadet Training began June 25 and the first stop for the trainees was a COVID-19 testing station. Among other precautions, the trainees were tested for the coronavirus, quarantined and monitored for two weeks.

Retired Col. Ed Whalen, a 1974 Academy graduate, spoke to the cadets at the ceremony. He belongs to the Class of 2024’s “Legacy Class.” Each graduating class is assigned a Legacy Class that graduated 50 years before their own graduation will occur.

See the stats on the class of 2024 here:  www.usafa.af.mil/News/News-Display/Article/2272302/academy-releases-stats-on-the-class-of-2024/