Flying HighOn the Road Again, Day 6: Colorado Springs, CO
After the Air Force became a separate branch of the U.S. military in 1947, support began building for a separate training academy. President Eisenhower signed the authorizing bill for the Air Force Academy in 1954, and subsequently more than 500 sites were proposed for the academy's permanent location. Of the three finalists, Colorado Springs was the favorite of the selection committee but they worried that the nearby mountains would affect flight training. To help seal the deal for the Colorado location, famed aviator Charles Lindbergh flew over the proposed site and declared it fit for flying. With that endorsement and other supporting evidence, the Air Force announced the selection of Colorado Springs.
|Air Force Academy Cadet Area|
|A small corner of the Terrazzo|
Air Force cadets are housed in two dormitories on campus, two to three cadets to a 13- by 18-ft room. Within the room, there is a designated place for every permitted item. When they enter the Academy, cadets are not allowed to bring personal possessions with them except for a few essential items such as eyeglasses and prescription medications. Most teens (and adults) would be shocked to learn that cell phones and other personal electronics are considered nonessential items at the Academy. Each cadet is issued a personal computer for use upon arrival, preloaded with necessary software. As they progress through the Academy, cadets are permitted additional items, such as a radio (second semester freshmen), coffee pot (sophomore), or other electrical appliances (junior). Only seniors are allowed to have a television in their rooms.
To enforce these requirements, regular room inspections are conducted to assess each cadet's compliance with very specific standards for maintaining their living quarters. For example, "Trashcans shall have a plastic liner. Trash shall not exceed the rim of the trashcan." "Soiled laundry shall be concealed and neatly stored in closed containers or bags and shall not become excessive to exceed one container or bag." "Window ledges are clean, free of debris, and no items are stored or placed on them." How many of us could pass such a rigorous inspection of our homes?
The typical cadet class is scooped from the cream at the top of high school classes across the United States. Here are some statistics on Air Force cadets.
- 11% - Valedictorian or salutatorian
- 18% - Served as president/VP of high school class or student body
- 29% - Involved in Scouting
- 52% - Top 10% of their high school class
- 64% - National Honor Society
- 80% - Lettered in some high school sport
And it's true, they were good. But Pikes Peak Acura offered us homemade cookies and free beverages, completed the service in half the time they estimated, and washed, dried and vacuumed our car. What about that, Reno?
Following lunch at California Pizza Kitchen, we tried to make the summit drive to Pikes Peak, but we missed the 3:00 deadline for starting the drive by half an hour. So we'll start there tomorrow.
Air Force Academy Stats:
- 4,000 - current cadet enrollment
- 1,200 - houses on campus
- 38 - miles of road on the campus
- 11 - miles of water mains
- 16 - miles of sewer
- 15,000,000 - cubic yards of dirt moved in construction
- 800,000 - cubic yards of concrete poured
- 2,500,000 - square feet of glass used in construction
More Photos from Today
|Ceiling in Protestant Chapel|
|Front entrance of Chapel|
|Aircraft wing reference easy to see in this shot of Chapel|
|Stained glass in Jewish Chapel|
|Pew ends in Protestant Chapel resemble World War I airplane propeller.|