FALCON FAMILY NEWS
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Edited byAir Force Academy Parents’ Club Liaison
2304 Cadet Drive, Suite 351
USAF Academy CO 80840-5002
(719) 333-3828 Toll free: 877-268-3383 Fax: (719) 333-4094
After the relative quiet of June (not really quiet, just a little less noisy than usual), we are back into it. Let’s get right to the news items:
THE CLASS OF 2009
On June 30, just under 1,400 bright young men and women entered USAFA as members of the Academy’s 51 st class, the Class of 2009. I was in charge of the Doolittle Hall operation, where they began their journey, and I can say they looked sharp and ready to go. (Many of the parents who were there seemed decidedly less ready for the transition.) Early the next morning, I joined hundreds of parents and interested observers on the Chapel Wall for the Swearing-in Ceremony. It was amazing how different the basic cadets looked compared to the day before, and it was remarkable how well they marched and did drill movements, given that most of them had less than 24 hours of military experience. They are off to a good start. Here are some “basic” facts about the Class:
Class Size-1390: Male-1146; Female-244
Internationals-7 ( Columbia, Honduras, Oman x2, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand)
Average SATs: Verbal-630; Math-650
Average ACTs: English-27; Math-29
I’m just glad I’m not competing for an appointment today. Not sure I would have made it.
BASIC CADET TRAINING DATES, REVISITED
I’ve included these dates in previous newsletters but, since we have many new readers, I’ll repost them.
July 16 (Saturday): Field Day for Basic Cadets
July 17 (Sunday): Trip to Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo for Basic Cadets
July 22 (Friday): March to Jacks Valley for Basic Cadets
August 4 (Thursday): Warrior Run, Return from Jacks Valley
August 6 (Saturday): Cadet Wing Returns (cadets must return by 7:00 p.m.)
August 7 (Sunday): Doolie Day Out
August 9 (Tuesday): Acceptance Parade
August 10 (Wednesday): First Day of Fall Semester
CHANGES AT THE TOP
As you may have heard, Lieutenant General John Rosa has announced his intent to retire in the coming months. After two years as the Academy’s Superintendent, he has accepted an offer – pending approval of his retirement by our senior leaders in the Pentagon – to become the President of his alma mater, The Citadel. There is no word yet on his successor. In the meantime (and totally unrelated to General Rosa’s announcement), the Academy welcomes a Vice Superintendent, Major General (select) Irving L. Halter, Jr. (USAFA Class of 1977!). General Rosa described General Halter’s role in a recent statement to the Academy staff: “As Vice Superintendent, General Halter will support me and our team as we continue to implement the Agenda for Change. His presence here is intended to sustain the positive momentum we have achieved while maintaining continuity of command, especially during those times when official duties require me to travel. I expect General Halter to be fully involved in our day-to-day operations as we continue our quest to make our Academy the preeminent institution for developing and graduating leaders of character.”
CHANGES SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE
This will be my final edition of the Falcon Family News. We are beginning the transition to the new Parent Liaison. I’ll still be in the same place, just with slightly different duties. I’ve been dual-hatted for the past 18 months as Parent Liaison and Graduate Liaison, as our office was one person understaffed. I will now focus on the graduate portion of our outreach. I make this change with much sadness, as I have greatly enjoyed serving the parents. The consolations are that: 1) I know the program will be in great hands; and 2) I’ll still be in the office and involved in the program. Maybe I’ll coax my kids into becoming cadets so I can see that side of the parents program. Seriously, it’s been most enjoyable and I appreciate all the kindness and respect you’ve shown me.
PARENTS’ CLUB PRESIDENTS CONFERENCE
Invitations will go out very soon, but I want to make sure that all Presidents, particularly the new ones, know about the Conference. Each year, we host a meeting for club leadership just before Parents’ Weekend. This year, we’ll have a reception at the Superintendent’s home on Wednesday, August 31 st, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The next day, we’ll meet in Doolittle Hall. The senior staff will spend time briefing you and answering your questions. We’ll also hear from other USAFA agencies, and will have time for presidential networking and discussions.
One thing I’d like us to discuss is club fund-raisers. I raised the possibility of compiling various clubs’ items and providing it at in-processing, but didn’t end up doing that. I ran out of time, but also encountered a little resistance from presidents who thought that I should not be in that business. The Conference will be the perfect venue for a discussion of the merits of this idea.
Here’s the text of an 8 July 2005 press release on TB: “Twenty-six cadets (less than two percent of the incoming class of 2009) have tested positive for exposure to TB, Academy officials announced today. Approximately 1,400 basic cadets were screened during their in-processing into basic training July 2, as a proactive effort to identify those who may have had prior exposure to Tuberculosis and provide preventive treatment. No new active cases have been identified to date. Cadets who tested positive for TB exposure were given further blood tests and chest X-Rays to confirm there are no active cases of TB. They will also receive treatment, upon the completion basic training Aug. 6, with preventive antibiotics for nine months to ensure any dormant bacteria are eliminated. The TB test, also called the tuberculin test, can tell if a person has been infected with TB. People infected with TB have a few TB germs in their body, but the germs are not growing and are not making them sick. Individuals may become infectious when the body is unable to contain the infection, resulting in active disease. Academy officials stress that a positive result for TB exposure, which is not contagious, does not mean active TB. Tuberculosis is the most common infection in the world and in the U.S. it is estimated that more than five percent of the population carry the inactive disease.”
INVESTIGATION INTO CADET DEATH
An 11 July 2005 press release addressed the cadet death earlier this year: “The Air Force has completed its investigation into the death of Air Force Academy Cadet 4 th Class (freshman) Edward Schmeltz earlier this year. Cadet Schmeltz collapsed Jan. 31, 2005, following a 600-yard run as part of a physical fitness test, and could not be resuscitated. He received immediate medical treatment on the scene from Academy employees who initiated CPR and used an automatic external defibrillator. An ambulance team continued resuscitation efforts during transport to the Academy hospital where he received further treatment from hospital emergency staff. Despite their efforts, he died at the medical facility. The cause of death was natural; a fatal cardiac arrhythmia due to pre-existing structural abnormalities of the arteries of the heart, which resulted in sudden cardiovascular collapse following strenuous exercise. The Ground Accident Investigation Board report suggests that deficiencies in the USAFA Athletics Automatic External Defibrillator training program were a contributing factor to Cadet Schmeltz’s death. The device was inadvertently misconfigured in an unintended mode of operation, which resulted in confusion for the Academy personnel who lacked the knowledge and training of that operation mode. USAFA officials have instituted several changes since the incident occurred, including purchasing new, easier to operate AEDs, reconfiguring those still in existence until replacement by the new systems, and retraining personnel on operation of the AEDs. In addition, appropriate Air Force agencies and the Food and Drug Administration were advised of the investigation board’s findings.”
Again, this is a bittersweet time for me. I regret leaving the program, but know Barbara will do a better job than I did. Please give her the consideration you gave me. Thank you.