United States Air Force



(719) 333-2990






To educate, train, and inspire men and women to become officers of character motivated to lead the United States Air Force in service to our nation.  The United States Air Force Academy is the nation’s premier institution for developing leaders of character.



Integrity First, Service Before Self, Excellence in all we do





Youngest of the four service academies


President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill authorizing establishment of the Academy on April 1, 1954.


The first class entered in July 1955 at temporary facilities at Lowry Air Force Base, Denver.  Construction of the present site also began that year.


The Cadet Wing moved into its permanent home in August 1958.


First class of 207 graduated in June 1959.


President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a bill in 1964 authorizing each of the three Academies to expand their enrollment from 2,529 to 4,417. 


First class with women entered in June 1976 and graduated in May 1980.


More than 41,800 cadets have graduated in 51 classes.


Approximately 27 percent of those commissioned in the Air Force are still on active duty.


387 graduates have been commissioned by other services; 127 by the Marine Corps, 125 by the Navy, and 135 by the Army.


299 international cadets entered and 266 have graduated from the Academy.


17 cadets have graduated posthumously.


One graduate, Capt. Lance P. Sijan, received the Medal of Honor.


495 graduates have become general officers, to include the current Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Scwartz and former Chiefs of Staff Fogelman and Ryan.


172 graduates have been killed in combat.


36 graduates are repatriated prisoners of war.


Two graduates are combat aces.


35 cadets have been selected as Rhodes Scholars.


7 cadets have been selected as Alberta Bart Holaday Scholarship at Exeter College, Oxford England


10 cadets have accepted Marshall Scholarships.


13 cadets have received the Harry S. Truman Scholarship.


92 cadets have been accepted as Guggenheim Fellows


75 cadets have been selected as National Science Foundation Fellows.


36 cadets have accepted Fulbright-Hays Scholarships.


116 cadets have accepted scholarships to attend Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.


37 cadets have been selected as Hertz Fellows.


708 cadets have entered medical school.


164 cadets have accepted MIT and Rice University Scholarships.


60 cadets have accepted University of Washington Aeronautics and Astronautics Scholarships.


32 cadets have been selected for Gerahart Scholarships for study in France.


31 cadets have accepted Earl & Marion Nutter Scholarships.


75 cadets have received University of Maryland Scholarships.


42 cadets have received Franklin C. Wolfe Scholarships.


52 cadets have been selected for NCAA Scholarships.


34 cadets have attended the East West Center at the University of Hawaii.





Cadets must be between 17 and 22 on July 1 of the year of admission.


Each must be a U.S. citizen, unmarried and have no dependent children.


Applicants must have good grades (generally ranked in at least the top 20 percent of their high school class), be active in athletic and non-athletic extracurricular activities, and be in good physical condition.





The Academy experience is designed to allow cadets to grow militarily, intellectually, physically, morally and ethically.  This begins the first day of basic cadet training and ends as second lieutenants toss their hats into the air at graduation.


1.  Military Development - The goal is to develop the knowledge, skills, values and behavior patterns needed to be an effective Air Force officer.

a. Military Art and Science - Designed to develop in each cadet an understanding of the military profession and the composition, heritage and employment of U.S. military power.  Instruction is phased in over the last three years at the Academy and advances from the basics of professionalism and military theory, to air power doctrine and Air Force employment concepts; culminating with an examination of joint and multinational operational concepts.  Complementary military history and political science courses are taught by the faculty.

b.  Leadership - First learned as a concept and then put into practice, initially at the "follower" level.  Upper-class cadets develop their leadership abilities by running the Cadet Wing, leading classroom discussions, and helping to teach Combat Survival Training and various airmanship courses.  Officers are assigned to each program to advise and help.

c.  Aviation Sciences and Airmanship - All cadets participate in some form of airmanship activity (soaring, jumping, powered flight) during their four years at the academy.  During the first summer, basic cadets are introduced to flying through orientation flights (sailplanes, UV-18, T-41) and tandem jumps.  Four degrees take a required aviation fundamentals course during the academic year that includes classroom instruction, T-37 simulator rides, basic navigation and a one-day field trip to an operational flying base.  Three degrees participate in the Soaring program, which is designed to solo each cadet (depending on aptitude and time/sortie constraints).  Three degrees can also choose to participate in the Jump program, which is designed to award jump wings at the completion of 5 jumps.  Two degrees can participate in a wide range of advanced courses in soaring, parachuting and navigation.  Advanced courses in these areas prepare cadets to be instructors, permitting them to gain valuable operational and leadership experience. During their last two years, all cadets are able to participate in the powered flight program.  All cadets may belong to the Cadet Aviation Club and fly light aircraft as a member of the Aero Club during all four years.  Flying activities are complemented by academic studies in astronomy, aeronautics, astronautics and physics.

d.  Professional Development Program - Professional Development begins upon arrival to the Academy during the six weeks of basic cadet training and progresses steadily over four years.  Each year builds on previous training and experience.  Cadets have a self-study professional development curriculum and may participate in one or two professional seminars each week.  They must pass a professional knowledge review near the end of each year.  Emphasis is on the duties, commitment and responsibilities of a professional officer.


2.  Academic Development - Designed to provide cadets with a broad, high-quality education appropriate to a military career.

1.     The Academy is recognized as one of the finest colleges in the nation.  Over 2,500 graduates have received post-graduation scholarships, including Rhodes Scholarships.

2.     The faculty is unique, consisting of approximately 565 military officers and civilian faculty who not only teach, but also serve as role models for cadets.  About 53 percent possess a doctoral degree.

3.     Cadet course load is a good deal heavier than most other colleges.  The core curriculum consists of 90 semester hours, with an even balance between basic sciences and engineering sciences on one hand and social sciences and humanities on the other.

4.     Cadets may choose one of 32 academic majors.  About half major in science or engineering.


3.  Physical Development - Objective is to develop good physical condition and the traits of teamwork, courage, aggressiveness, self-confidence, and an intense desire to win, all of which are essential to a military officer.

    Each cadet takes 6 semester hours of physical education during four years at the Academy.

    In addition, cadets must participate in intercollegiate or intramural sports throughout the academic year.

    Cadets have two intramural seasons.  Each squadron fields a team in 16 sports.  Men and women compete as teammates in all but a few contact sports, such as boxing and football.

    Academy fields intercollegiate teams in 17 men's and 10 women's sports.


4.  Character Development - Designed to develop cadets’ professional military character through an emphasis on Air Force core values, the Cadet Honor Code, ethics instruction, human relations education and moral/spiritual development.

a.  The Academy has an integrated, institution-wide character development program focusing on our core values of “Integrity First, Service Before Self, Excellence in All We Do.”

b.  The foundation is the Cadet Honor Code, which states, “We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does...”

c.  All cadets take a formal course in ethics and receive honor, ethics, human relations, and other character development instruction and experiences as part of their education and training program throughout their four years at the Academy.

d.  The human relations education program promotes an understanding of how gender, racial, ethnic, and cultural differences affect the transition, attrition, performance, and quality of life for cadets in the Cadet Wing.

e.  Cadets are afforded ample schedule opportunities to participate in faith development programs of their own choosing and are encouraged to take part in religious, spiritual, and faith activities and programs provided at the Academy.


Headquarters, United States Air Force Academy is supported by the 10th Air Base Wing.


Located at the base of the Rampart Range on 18,500 acres; elevation is 7,163 feet above sea level at the Terrazzo level.


Average cost to put one cadet through the four-year program is $282,562; the education portion is valued at about $123,000.


Approximately one million visitors come to the Academy annually.


Cadets are housed in two dormitories, Vandenberg Hall (1,325 rooms) and Sijan Hall (936 rooms).


Fairchild Hall contains classrooms, labs and faculty/staff offices (250 classrooms, 45 science labs, 13 lecture halls).


Mitchell Hall dining area covers 1.7 acres; staff serves the entire cadet wing at the same time, in and out in only 25 minutes.


The Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel is the 1996 recipient of the prestigious American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Twenty-five Year Award.  


Arnold Hall houses a 2,900-seat Broadway auditorium, ballroom, conference rooms, restaurant and historical displays.


Athletic fields cover 143 acres and include 18 football fields, 13 soccer fields, 10 flickerball fields; all encompassing, 2,000 people can participate in sporting events at the same time.


Cadet Field House includes the Clune Arena, used for basketball, boxing and public speaking events, seats 6,000.  The Field House also has an indoor track, field area, and a hockey rink which seats 2,602.


Cadet gym is five stories tall and contains three basketball arenas, two pools (one Olympic size), 19 racquetball courts, weight rooms, four tennis courts, and offices.





The Academy experience is designed to:


-Produce professional officers who have the knowledge, character, and motivation essential to leadership.


-Offer an environment of trust and respect, where all people can achieve high productivity, are committed to organizational goals, and can reach their full potential.


-Instill self-discipline and ethical accountability for one’s actions.


-In short, make character central to the development of tomorrow’s Air Force leaders.


(Current as of 28 May 2009)