Amid the controversy over Presidential addresses at university graduations, the White House announced with far less fanfare the commencement schedule of the Vice President. Biden will deliver the graduation address at civilian colleges, as well as the US Air Force Academy on May 27th.
Though Notre Dame has captured the media attention, the White House previously announced President Obama will also speak at the US Naval Academy on May 22nd. Traditionally, the President rotates among the military academies for a graduation address each year.
The Air Force announced the selection of 308 candidates for Officer Training School. This is 36% of the 865 applications; nearly 50% of the selectees were enlisted Airmen.
OTS continues to be a popular means for becoming an officer–the first step to becoming a military pilot.
The Stanford Progressive, a “left-leaning” student paper which boasts a circulation of “members of the Stanford community,…student residences and…community centers,” recently interviewed Michael Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. The interview, laced with profanity and transcription errors, is available here.
To the question, “what are the Officer’s Christian Fellowship and Campus Crusade?”, Weinstein opined:
They are blights on America and a disgusting example of extremist prejudice and bigotry in this country.
In the interview Weinstein clearly discriminates between “evangelical” Christians and “dominionist” Christians. He says they both have “religious philosophies” that he “[hates],” and they both Read more
As noted at AF.mil, the US military academies (AF, Navy, Army, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine) were ranked in the “top 100” Best Value Colleges by the Princeton Review/USA Today. The recognized strong academic programs and zero-cost education (in relative terms to other schools) contributed to the high rankings. The survey did not appear to address the “cost” of a military commitment, though in a weak economy what was once a “commitment” may seem to be “job security.”
The rankings and their methodology may be seen at the Princeton site, which requires a free log on to see detailed data.
The AF Chief of Staff and Command Chief recently emphasized an opportunity for enlisted Airmen to attend the AF Academy. The Academy sets aside a certain number of slots each year specifically for prior-enlisted cadets.
The basic application criteria for Airmen is they must be less than 23 years of age by July 1 for entry to the Academy or less than 22 years of age by July 1 for entry to the Preparatory School; be unmarried; be a U.S. citizen or be able to obtain citizenship prior to entry; and have no dependents.
While frequently criticized for developing “whole” officers (including spiritual and moral aspects, as well as leadership and academic), the military academies have consistently demonstrated strength as educational institutions. US News and World Report recently published their Best Colleges 2009. The Air Force Academy was ranked #2 in the nation for aero/astronautical engineering, and was the #1 school in the western region, as also noted at AF.mil. All three military academies (Military, Naval, and Air Force) were in the top 10 nationally for engineering programs.
The ChristianPost notes that the Princeton Review has come out with its list of “best colleges” (actually released on July 28). As they note, one ranking was “most religious students.” Brigham Young may immediately come to mind (indeed, its #1).
However, of the 368 colleges ranked by 120,000 college students, #14 on the list of “most religious students” was…the US Air Force Academy.
USAFA completed its sociopolitical trifecta by coming in at #17 for “most politically active” and #5 for “most conservative.” (The Naval Academy ranked #12 for most conservative, while West Point was #5 for politically active.)
The individual college pages can be seen here, though it may require a profile log-on to see school data.
As noted earlier, the ACLU has complained again about the Naval Academy noon meal process that “[offers] Midshipmen an opportunity for prayer or devotional thought.” Former Navy Chaplain Klingenschmitt, of court martial fame, addresses the issue by asking
…does the First Amendment protect the freedom of religious expression…or does it protect the easily offended ears of the bystander…?