FALCON FAMILY NEWS
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Edited by Steven A. Simon, Lt Col, USAF (Retired); USAFA ‘77
Air 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) 333-2252
Except for the fog and cold temperatures at Monday’s Organizational Awards Parade, Graduation Week went very smoothly. Congrats to the parents of the new lieutenants, those parents whose offspring just moved up a level, and those about to undertake the exciting journey as cadet parents. Things seem quiet on the Terrazzo and throughout the Academy, but there’s a lot going on behind the scenes in anticipation of future events. Here are some news tidbits:
TICKETS FOR UNDERGRAD PARENTS
The program to provide graduation tickets and vehicle passes to the parents of underclass cadets was a success. We sent out more than 60 tickets, allowing parents to observe graduation week activities without actually having a graduate. From what I heard, these parents found the “dry run” to be a very valuable experience. We’ll try to institutionalize the undergrad parent ticket program.
SUPERINTENDENT’S LETTER TO PARENTS/ADDRESSES
The Superintendent has issued his semi-annual letter to parents. We mailed one to every cadet parent for whom we have an address (mailing went to Classes of 2006, 2007, and 2008). Within days of the mass mailing, we began receiving letters returned as undeliverable. If history is any indication, we will receive more than 100 such letters. If you did not get a letter, or if it was forwarded to you, I strongly suggest you have your cadet update your address. Cadets can now make those changes from the convenience of their computers, through the CAMIS Home Page, Cadet Users tab. (You may not know what that means, but cadets will.)
Most of you already know this, but the Privacy Act is a subject worthy of periodic mention, particularly as a new class enters. Here is an official USAFA statement: “Our ability to communicate to you regarding your son or daughter’s status is controlled by the Privacy Act of 1974. Under this act, it is generally illegal for the Air Force to disclose the personal information of any military member without that individual’s consent. This includes academic, athletic, disciplinary or medical information. As you should be aware, each cadet has been given the opportunity to waive their Privacy Act privilege so that we may share information with you. Of course, even when cadets have waived their privilege in the past, they still have the option of withdrawing the waiver—we have seen that this is often the case when cadets get in some sort of trouble. Cadets are active duty members of the United States Air Force and the Academy must honor their decision regarding release of personal information. I recommend that you discuss this matter with your son or daughter in order to provide any counsel you desire.”
OUTGOING PRESIDENTS/INCOMING PRESIDENTS
This is the time of year when most clubs experience leadership changes. I’d like to acknowledge the great work done by those vacating office, and offer congratulations and thank yous to the new presidents. In addition, I’d like to request that all incoming presidents ensure they have completed and returned the “New Parents’ Club President” form so I can keep my databases current.
The next big activity at the Academy is in-processing for the Class of 2009 (can you believe it?). It looks as if more than 1,400 young men and women will answer the call. While most parents send their appointees on their own (see following item for more on that), o thers accompany their fledgling cadets to the Academy. In-processing will take place on Thursday, June 30 th, again beginning at the Association of Graduates building, Doolittle Hall. There will be an information fair downstairs with booths about official Academy agencies, cadet support activities, and organizations such as the bank and credit union. We’ll have a parents’ table as well. I’m the overall manager of the Doolittle Hall phase of in-processing, but hope to have time to visit with parents. In addition to the info fair, the Academy senior staff will conduct a briefing for parents at 1:00 pm in the Field House (Clune Arena). The intent of the briefing is to give parents a chance to hear the senior leadership and ask them questions. We’ll have info about that at the parents table, as well as details of Parents’ Weekend, information on Parents’ Clubs, and rosters with the new basic cadets’ post office boxes and squadron assignments. A swearing-in ceremony for the new basic cadets will occur in the Cadet Area (just east of the Chapel) the morning of July 1 st.
BED & BREAKFAST
Appointees arriving unaccompanied may want to take advantage of the Association of Graduates’ great Bed & Breakfast program. The program provides the opportunity for newly arriving appointees to stay at the home of Academy graduates, faculty, staff, and friends. Hosts will pick up their assigned appointees on Wednesday, June 29 th, at the Colorado Springs Airport or Doolittle Hall and provide a place to stay, dinner, breakfast, and transportation to in-processing on June 30 th. Last year, nearly 360 appointees participated in the program. Appointees who have already enrolled in the official Academy Sponsorship Program are not automatically enrolled in the AOG’s Bed & Breakfast program. Please note that appointees interested in participating in the program should visit the AOG website (link: http://www.usafa.org/pages/BedAndBreakfast/Appointee.htm) and follow the directions.
As you know, construction is a big part of life here at the Academy. While most bases and college campuses were built over a period of many years, the entire Academy was constructed essentially at the same time. That time was nearly 50 years ago, so the buildings, despite their pristine external appearance, are in need of repair. The administration building, Harmon Hall (my once and future office building), is shut down for massive renovation. It is now literally a mere shell of its former self—you can see right through it. It will probably be another year until we get back in there. Now, another major construction project has begun: The dining hall, Mitchell Hall, is operating at about half-size for the next few months while the inside of the building gets its makeover. Not sure what the impacts will be on the cadets, but it will certainly cause some inconvenience.
I hope you are enjoying the summer and that you have at least some time with your busy cadets. Thanks for taking the time to read this and for being so supportive of the cadets and the Academy. Until next month . . .