October 2005

Back to Newsletter Index



Edited by Barbara Gutierrez

Parents’ Liaison


2304 Cadet Drive, Suite 351

USAF Academy CO 80840-5002

(719) 333-3828 Toll free: 877-268-3383 Fax: (719) 333-4094



I’m very happy to be back in my old job, and would like to thank Steve Simon for his enormous contributions during the past 2 years. He continues to tell me how much he enjoyed working with the parents’ clubs and has offered his assistance for the future!



The Air Force announced on 7 October 2005 that Brig Gen (select) Susan Y. Desjardins, Class of 1980, will be the Academy’s new Commandant and 34th Training Wing Commander. She is currently Commander of the 437th Airlift Wing at Charleston AFB, SC. Maj Gen (select) Johnny Weida, Class of 1978, has been selected for reassignment as Director, Capabilities Integration and Transformation at Headquarters, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. The date for the change of command ceremony has not yet been determined.



The leaves are beginning to turn and Thanksgiving break is right around the corner. Just a reminder, the cadets will be released right after the Commandant’s Challenge, which will be at 3:30 pm on 22 November. Airline departures should not be scheduled before 6:30 pm from Colorado Springs and 8:30 pm from Denver. The cadets must sign in at USAFA no later than 7:00 pm on Sunday, 27 November. Bus tickets are still on sale and can be purchased by phone (719-333-4602), Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.



T he official call for volunteers has gone out. As soon as the cadets are deemed qualified, they will be notified, which should be around mid-October. Travel arrangements should not be made until after confirmation.

HINT: Why not let your cadets make their own airline reservations?


COMMISSIONING CEREMONIES (from the Commandant’s Guidance)

Commissioning ceremonies mark a significant milestone in an officer’s career. In past years, USAFA commissioning ceremonies were held for the graduating class at or after midnight on the day of the graduation ceremony. In August 2005, Gen Rosa approved the Class of 2006’s cadet leadership solution which outlines a new commissioning plan for 2006 and subsequent classes. Beginning with the Class of 2006, the official commissioning ceremony will take place during the graduation ceremony. Any cadet who would like a private commissioning ceremony will conduct it after graduation. There are a few reasons for this change.


First, the commissioning ceremony is the legal transition point from cadet to officer status. By commissioning second lieutenants prior to graduation, we had lieutenants marching into the stadium in cadet uniforms. Such a combination of status and uniform is not appropriate.


The second reason for the change is to avoid undue hardship on our families and guests that were often up all night observing and/or participating in “ midnight” ceremonies and then expected to sit through a four-hour graduation ceremony. This is simply not how we want to treat our families and guests.


Finally, other significant oaths in a cadet’s career are taken as a class (Oath of Allegiance, Honor Oath). This reflects the organizational commitment made by each individual and the Commissioning Oath should be handled in a similar manner.


This new commissioning plan, similar to that currently used at Annapolis, takes into account all these factors and is outlined below:



This change strikes an even balance between the welfare of our families, personalized commissioning ceremonies, and the legalities of uniform wear and status of duty. More importantly, these new guidelines bring us all back together as a team for this culminating event in each cadet’s four-year journey toward officership.



Imagine the task at hand when more than 4,400 hungry U.S Air Force Academy cadets march into the Mitchell Hall dining facility for the mandatory breakfast and noon meals. More than 220 dedicated employees work diligently to prepare and serve meals in one of the largest mass dining facilities in the world. Upon the announcement from the staff tower of "wing take seats," wait staff have a mere five minutes to have all hot food items served on each table. Within only 20 minutes, cadets will consume the meal and return to their strenuous academic schedule. They accomplish this staggering feat 5 days a week, every week.


In April of 2005, this responsibility transferred to the 10 th Air Base Wing and aligned under the 10 th Services Division. The Services Division is responsible for quality of life functions at the Academy, including virtually all food service operations. Upon initial transfer, it became apparent that Mitchell Hall required substantial facility and equipment upgrades. To address these needs, the Academy funded nearly $3 million in required maintenance and repair upgrades and spent another $1.3 million to upgrade kitchen equipment. To date, about half of the facility upgrades have been completed and the remainder, including new equipment, will phase in over the next year. This significant capital investment will provide cadets with an improved dining experience.


The Academy leadership understands that Mitchell Hall is integral to the professional and personal development of cadets and key to the overall Academy experience. Mitchell Hall operations are currently undergoing an extensive review from internal and external agencies to improve processes, quality and service.


With our focus on improvement, adequate funding and the continued dedication of the staff, we continue to pursue our goal of Mitchell Hall becoming the premier dining facility among the service academies.



Class of 2006:
Entered BCT.............. 985 men, 224 women, 1209 total
Completed BCT......... 904 men, 199 women, 1103 total
Present strength.......... 729 men, 166 women, 895 total

Class of 2007:

Entered BCT.............. 1081 men, 221 women, 1302 total

Completed BCT......... 1010 men, 204 women, 1214 total

Present strength.......... 839 men, 180 women,  1019 total


Class of 2008:

Entered BCT.............. 1077 men, 250 women, 1327 total
Completed BCT......... 1042 men, 235 women, 1277 total
Present strength.......... 951 men, 216 women,  1167 total


Class of 2009:
Entered BCT.............. 1146 men, 244 women, 1390 total
Completed BCT......... 1084 men, 223 women, 1307 total

Present strength.......... 1075 men, 221 women, 1296 total



Latest rumor was that the next graduating cadets would not be wearing their parade dress. NOT TRUE!


It will soon be Halloween and the cadets are gearing up for it. Many squadrons create “scary” areas within the dorms where the local children can visit and get properly frightened! The children love it and so do the cadets! So, Happy Halloween – and don’t eat too much candy!


Barbara Gutierrez