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For years, even before the Air Force became its own separate branch, many service members insisted that the military needed a special school that would be focused solely on training the future Airmen of the United States. It wasn’t until 1947, when the Air Force began being recognized as its own branch of the military, that the Air Force Academy was even considered. Construction of the United States Air Force Academy was first approved by Congress, then signed into effect by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on April 1, 1954. The first Air Force Academy cadet wing consisted of 1,145 students, all men, who moved to the Air Force Academy’s site slightly north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, from its temporary home at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado, in 1958. The following year, the Air Force Academy was accredited. It wasn’t until 1976 that women also attended the Air Force Academy. At the time, the admission of women into the Academy was very controversial, but these women proved themselves, as 97% of the Academy’s first female students graduated.
Admissions Requirements at the Air Force Academy
The Air Force Academy requires that in order to be considered for admission, all students must be United States citizens and be unmarried with no dependents (including children that they do not pay child support for). Applicants must be at least 17 years old but not yet 23 years old. There are recommended courses of high school study, including four years of English, four years of college-prep math, two years of foreign language, one year of computer classes, four years of science, and three years of social studies. These classes are not required for admission, but because the Air Force Academy is a very prestigious school, they are certainly recommended.
Life at the Air Force Academy
The Air Force Academy is situated on 18,000 acres just north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and right alongside the Rocky Mountains. The altitude is slightly more than 7,200 feet. Thousands of tourists visit the Air Force Academy each year to see its impressive library collection that includes over 700,000 books, and the Academy’s chapel that spans 150 feet into the air.
Air Force Academy cadets go through a rigorous first year, including five weeks of Basic Cadet Training (BCT). However, after their first year, cadets slowly get more and more freedoms. Although the Air Force Academy is a strict military school, cadets still get to have some of the fun that other college students enjoy. Both formal and informal activities are held at Arnold Hall, the Air Force Academy’s student union complex. Outdoor activities such as fishing and picnics are available as part of the Academy’s outdoor recreation, and military balls are held every year as an opportunity for cadets to get dressed up and enjoy the formal affair, as well as a learning experience on how to behave in a formal atmosphere as an Officer of the Air Force. Academy cadets are also encouraged to participate in athletic activities.
Athletics at the Air Force Academy
The Air Force Academy offers a multitude of sports for its cadets. Baseball, basketball, football, and the other basics are not the only athletic opportunities available for Air Force Academy cadets. The Air Force Falcons have teams for everything from water polo to ice hockey to gymnastics.
Life After Graduation
All cadets at the Air Force Academy graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and a commission as an Air Force Second Lieutenant. In true military style, the graduation at the Air Force Academy is quite a show, with the Thunderbirds flying overhead in honor and celebration. Air Force Academy graduates are proven to have a higher chance of getting selected for the most chosen and sought-after fields as an Officer in the United States Air Force.