The traditional Thunderbird flyby of the US Air Force Academy graduation was canceled, reportedly due to budget concerns. A group of private aerial demonstration teams has volunteered to fill in the awkward silence that would otherwise mark the hat-toss.
Academy officials said Thursday that more than a dozen pilots have volunteered to fly historical U.S. military aircraft over graduation week events, including the commencement ceremony May 29.
Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley will be the graduation speaker at the 29 May graduation of the USAFA Class of 2013. President Obama is scheduled to speak at the US Naval Academy graduation on 24 May 2013. (Neither event will have the traditional fly-over or airshow.) It does not appear the West Point speaker has been announced, though the Secretary of Defense is frequently one of the speakers.
Though it was in theaters some months ago, Wreck-It Ralph recently came out on DVD, causing some Academy grads to notice (and the official USAFA Facebook page to highlight) that a “backstory scene” looks awfully familiar:
The USAFA Cadet Chapel:
A scene from Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph:
It seems the beauty of the nearly 60-year-old USAFA Cadet Chapel continues to be recognized — even in “modern” art.
The “backstory” scene can be seen here; the ending, with the “happy” wedding scene at the end, here.
In a statement Monday, Academy officials said that the 1,000-plus midshipmen graduating this year will get the chance to “look to the president for his leadership and wisdom as they get ready for their first assignments.” The event is scheduled for May 23.
The President and other senior leaders traditionally rotate among the service academy graduations each year.
Johnson is a 1981 distinguished graduate from the Academy where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in operations research. She was the first female cadet wing commander and the first female Rhodes Scholar from the Academy.
Academy personnel found Walsh, contacted emergency services and attempted to revive him using life-saving measures without success.
“The Academy is deeply saddened by the tragic loss we suffered Saturday,” said Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, the Academy superintendent. “As we grieve the passing of James, we ask that everyone keep his family and friends in their thoughts and prayers.”
Cadet Walsh was a former enlisted Airmen. His death is under investigation.
BrigGen Dana Born, Dean of the US Air Force Academy, has announced her intention to retire in the summer of 2013.
Ordinarily, such a move wouldn’t be newsworthy. However, Gen Born has been under constant attack by Michael Weinstein — aided by his veritable PR arm, Pam Zubeck of the Colorado Springs Independent — for several years. Zubeck, who has long had sources on the USAFA faculty eager to undermine their own institution, “scooped” even the official US military announcement of Born’s retirement, and she did so without attempting to hide her bias:
A variety of websites are now reporting on the injuries US Air Force Academy cadets received during attempts by Four Degrees (freshmen) to drag their Cadet First Sergeants through the first snow of the season. The decades-old tradition is one of many that generally stay out of the public eye, though YouTube videos and the like have revealed them for years.
While there is apparent shock that “nearly 30 cadets” were injured in some form (including — gasp — bruises) during the devolution to a “brawl,” that injury count probably doesn’t crack the records set during Continue reading →
The President traditionally speaks on a rotation at each of the service academies. President Obama has previously spoken at the Coast Guard Academy, Annapolis, and West Point, making USAFA his final stop.
The office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs decided in January to charge AFMA with conducting the Academy’s 2011 survey, said Col. Bill Hampton, executive secretary for the Academy’s Board of Visitors.
Brenda Gainey, the survey lead, apparently used the current Air Force surveys as a baseline and then modified them for the USAFA environment. Translation: Continue reading →