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Awards

Institutional Awards

Institutional Awards recognize individuals or groups who set themselves apart through outstanding contributions in military operations or philanthropy. These graduates and members of the USAFA family show amazing dedication to their craft and to the Academy as an institution.

Each award recognizes a unique aspect of service, integrity and excellence:

  • Distinguished Service Award

    The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) established the Air Force Academy Distinguished Service Award (DSA) in February 1999. Each year, the USAFA DSA is presented by the Superintendent to a military person, civilian, or group, whose contributions have had a distinct impact on the morale or well-being of the Air Force Academy. Any individual or group who has contributed significantly and directly to the morale or well-being of the Academy through the generous donation of time, resources, or influence is eligible.

    Selection Criteria

    Award selection is based on an individual’s or group’s accomplishments, which can be described as having had a long-term, positive effect on the morale or well-being of the Academy. Former military and civilian employees are eligible upon termination of employment from the Air Force Academy. However, the USAFA DSA is intended to recognize those individuals who contribute not as part of their official duty but through their personal generosity and dedication to the institution. Personnel currently assigned to the Academy can be considered for the award so long as their contributions were performed outside of their official duties.

    Year Recipient
    1999 Colorado Springs Citizens Committee
    Lieutenant General (Retired) A. P. Clark
    2000 Mr. Harold U. Littrell
    2001 Brigadier General (Retired) Philip J. Erdle
    2002 The Olmsted Foundation
    2003 Colonel (Retired) Joseph and Doctor Dorothy Moller
    2004 No Award Presented
    2005 Major General (Retired) William Lyon
    2006 Academy Top 3
    2007 Brigadier General (Retired) Malham M. Wakin
    2008 General (Retired) James P. McCarthy
    2009 Mr. A. Bart Holaday ’65
    2010 Lieutenant General (Retired) Benjamin N. Bellis ’85
    2011 Colonel (Retired) Jock C. H. Schwank ’60
    2012 Mr. Edward E. “Ted” Legasey ’67
    2013 Dr. Jimmy Covey ’68
    2014 Mr. John M. Fox ’63
    2015 The Air Force Academy Foundation
    2016 No award Presented
    2017 Mr. Carl A. Janssen, Jr. ’68
    2018 Class of 1970 Gift Committee (aka, the ’70 Heritage Committee)

    • Brigadier General (Retired) Curtis Emery II ’70
    • Colonel (Retired) Gary Dahlen ’70
    • Colonel (Retired) Richard Rauschkolb ’70
    • Colonel (Retired) Michael Torreano ’70
    2019 General (Retired) John Lorber ’64
    2020 Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Garry W. Dudley ’68
  • Colonel James Jabara Airmanship Award

    The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) in conjunction with the Jabara Family and the USAFA AOG established the Colonel James Jabara Airmanship Award in January 1967. Each year the award is presented by the Superintendent and AOG to an active duty USAFA graduate whose airmanship contributions are of such significance as to set them apart from their contemporaries. Each major command (MAJCOM), field operating agency (FOA)–to include National Guard and the Reserve, and direct reporting unit (DRU) may submit one nomination for the award. Retired or separated graduates may be considered and should be nominated by corporate, civilian, government, or other organizations, as appropriate.

    Selection Criteria

    Award selection is based on airmanship contributions that are of such significance as to set the performer apart from their contemporaries. The definition of airmanship includes feats of aircrew members, as well as exceptional contributions with respect to design, production, or testing of an aerospace vehicle or its subsystems. Nominations will fall into one of the following categories:

    • An individual heroic act.
    • Sustained superior performance over a period of time. In this category, nominations may cover a broad spectrum ranging from crewmembers of an aerospace vehicle mission to an engineer or manager associated with the development of an aerospace vehicle.

    Past Jabara Award Winners:

    *Received Posthumously
    **Died Subsequently
    Year Recipient Description
    1968 Capt Donald D. Stevens, ‘60 Southeast Asia
    1969 Maj Terry R. Jorris, ‘61 Space Sextant (Aerospace Research)
    * Lt Karl W. Richter, ‘64 Southeast Asia
    1970 Capt (Ret) Wayne A. Warner, ’63 Southeast Asia
    1971 Capt Neil B. Crist, ‘66 Southeast Asia
    1972 Maj Richard S. Ritchie, ‘64 Southeast Asia
    1973 Capt Dale E. Stovall, ‘67 SEA/Helicopter Rescue
    1974 *Maj Robert A. Lodge, ‘64 Southeast Asia
    1975 **Capt Donald R. Backlund, ‘71
    Capt Ronald T. Rand, ‘71
    Mayaguez Rescue (Pilot)
    Mayaguez Rescue (Photographer)
    1976 **LtCol Michael V. Love, ‘60 Test Pilot
    1977 Maj Roger E. Carleton, ‘67 A-10 T & E
    1978 LtCol (Dr) Wayne F. Kendall, ‘60 F-15/F-16 Canopy Loss
    1979 Maj Mart H. Bushnell, ‘64 F-15 & AIM-7F Sparrow Missile Improvements
    1980 Col Thomas A. LaPlante, ‘61 Excellence in System Management
    1981 Capt William T. Gillin, ‘73 Dutch Liner Rescue
    1982 LtCol Robert L. Brenci, ‘63 Iran Hostage Rescue Attempt
    1983 Col Karol J. Bobko, ‘59
    Maj Neal D. Coyle, ‘72
    Maiden Voyage of Challenger
    B-52 In-flight Emergency
    1984 Capt Michael P. Davis, ‘78 Grenada Rescue
    1985 Col James N. Allburn, ‘63 X-29 Program
    1986 Maj Larry E. Faber, ‘73 Save TR-1 w/ Engine Failure
    1987 Capt James A. Trinka, ‘78 Save F-16 w/ Engine Failure
    1988 Maj Marc D. Felman, ‘76
    Capt Thomas M. Ferguson, ‘81
    KC-10 Mission over Atlantic
    KC-10 Mission over Atlantic
    1989 LtCol Robert H. Schnick, ‘72 F-16 Test Pilot for LANTIRN
    1990 Capt Francis R. Gabreski, ‘81 Tactics Validation / Panama
    1991 Capt William F. Andrews, ‘80 Desert Storm / F-16  Heroic Act
    1992 Maj Corby L. Martin, ‘80 Desert Shield / Desert Storm
    1993 Maj Ali C. Frolich, ‘80 Desert Shield / Desert Storm
    1994 LtCol James A. Sills, ‘74 Iceland Rescue
    1995 Capt Harold E. Waters, ‘85 RC-135 In-flight Emergency
    1996 LtCol Robert P. Donnelly, Jr, ‘77 Flatyeri, Iceland Rescue
    1997 LtCol David J. Scott, ‘78 F-16 Tactics Development / Leadership
    1998 Capt Daniel E. Flynn, ‘91 Special Operations Excellence
    2000 Maj James L. Cardoso, ‘88 Operation Allied Force, Rescue
    2001 Maj Julian M. Chesnutt, ‘89 Operation Allied Force, Fighter Ops
    2002 Maj Henry C. Thompson, ‘87 Operation Allied Force/Northern Watch
    2003 Capt Leighton T. Anderson, Jr., ‘92
    Capt Edward J. Lengel, ‘92
    Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)
    Operation Anaconda
    2004 Maj Jason L. Hanover, ‘92 AFSOC; MC-130H; OEF and OIF
    2005 Lt Col Keith D. Schultz, ‘79 B-52 flight, weapon system development
    2006 Maj John E. Vargas Jr., ‘96 USAFE, F-16, OIF, OEF
    2008 Capt Jonathan W. Graham, ’99 AETC, Operation Iraqi Freedom MH-53
    2009 Capt Travis A. Burton, ’00
    Mr. Chesley B. Sullenberger, ’73
    USAFE, A-10 Pilot OEF
    US Airways Pilot, Hudson River Landing
    2010 Capt Prichard R. Keely, 04 ACC, F-15E Weapon Systems Officer
    2011 Capt Michal P. Polidor, ’04 Global Strike Command, F-15E Pilot
    2012 Capt Joseph A. Hext, ’02 USAFE, Op Enduring Freedom, A-10 Pilot
    2013 Capt Christopher D. McConnell, ’05 Op Odyssey Dawn (Libya), B-1
    2014 Capt Charles C. Napier, ’06 HH-60G Rescue in Afghanistan
    2015 Capt Kyle L. Babbitt, ’08 ACC, A-10 C pilot, OEF
    2016 Maj Matthew J. Kuta, ‘05 Afghanistan, F-15E Pilot
    2017 Capt Brian R. Guyette, ‘08 Syria, B-1 Instructor Pilot
    2018 Maj Marc P. Catalano ’06 Irag, Operation Inherent Resolve & Resolute Support, AC-130U Pilot
    2019 Col Tyler N. Hague ’98
    Maj Caitlin T. Reilly ‘ 07
    Astronaut
    Operations: Inherent Resolve, Freedom’s Sentinel, & Resolute Support
    2020 Capt Alexander E. Boules, ’15 A-10, Afghanistan
  • Distinguished Graduate Award

    The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) and the USAFA Association of Graduates (AOG) have established the Distinguished Graduate Award. Each year the award is presented by the Superintendent (HQ USAFA/CC) and the Chairman of the AOG to a USAFA graduate(s), whose lifetime of achievement is of such significance as to set them apart from their contemporaries. More than one individual may be selected during a particular year. The purpose of the award is to:

    • Recognize outstanding performance by graduates who have demonstrated a lifetime of exceptional service to the Nation.
    • Favorably promote the Air Force Academy and its graduates. Promote and increase awareness of graduate heritage among alumni, cadets, parents, and friends of the Air force Academy.
    Selection Criteria

    Award selection is based on a lifetime of achievement that is of such significance as to set the individual apart from their contemporaries. The Award will not be given to individuals who occupy, or are candidates for, elective office, or who are still on active duty. Individuals must be alive and agree to accept the Award at the Air Force Academy whenever possible. Posthumous nominations will only be considered in rare instances.

    Year Recipient
    2001 (Ret.) Ronald Fogleman ’63
    Mr. Harry J. Pearce, ’64
    2002 Paul G. Kaminski ’64
    Gen. (Ret.) Robert C. Oaks ’59
    2003 Gen. (Ret.) Bradley C. Hosmer ’59
    Mr. Richard T. Schlosberg ’65
    2004 (Ret.) Frederick Gregory ’64
    Gen. (Ret.) Ronald W. Yates ’60
    2005 (Ret.) H.T. Johnson ’59
    Gen. (Ret.) Michael E. Ryan ’65
    2006 Gen. (Ret.) Robert D. Beckel ’59
    Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Edward J. Mechenbier ’64
    2007 Gen. (Ret.) Ervin Rokke ’62
    Gregg Popovich ’70
    2008 Gen. (Ret.) Donald Shepperd ’62
    Mr. John Martinson ’70
    2009 (Ret.) John Michael Loh ’60
    Honorable Heather A. Wilson ’82
    2010 Max F. James ’64
    Gen. (Ret.) Ralph E.Eberhart ’68
    2011 Gen. (Ret.) Ruben A. Cubero ’61
    Mr. Richard D. McConn ’66
    2012 Gen. (Ret.) Marcus A. Anderson ’61
    Mr. Edward E. “Ted” Legasey ’67
    2013 A. Bart Holaday ’65
    Gen. (Ret) William R. “Bill” Looney III ’72
    2014 Thomas J. Eller ’61
    Gen. (Ret.) Kevin P. Chilton ’76
    2015 (Ret.) Gregory “Speedy” Martin ’70
    Paul Madera ’78
    2016 (Ret.) George Lee Butler ’61
    Gen. (Ret.) Charles R. Holland ’68
    Mr. R. David Yost ’69
    Col. (Ret.) Gary E. Payton ’71
    2017 John Fox ’63
    T. Allan McArtor ’64
    Gen. (Ret.) Steve Lorenz ’73
    2018 Gen. (Ret.) Edward R. Jayne II ’66
    Col. (Ret.) Dr. H. Michael Lambert ’70
    Gen. (Ret.) Mark A. Welsh III ’76
    Brig. Gen. (Ret.) John C. Inglis ’76
    2019 (Ret.) Leslie Denend ’63
    Mr. Fletcher “Flash” Wiley ’65
    Gen. (Ret.) Norton “Norty” Schwartz ’73
    Gen. (Ret.) Edward Rice Jr. ’78
    Mr. John “Jack” Kucera ’78
    2020 Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jay Kelley ’64
    Mr. Hugh Williamson ’64
    Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Ronald “Ron” Sega ’74
    Col. (Ret.) Gail Benjamin Colvin ’80
  • Sullenberger Award for Courage

    The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) and the USAFA Association of Graduates (AOG) have established the Sullenberger Distinguished Achievement Award through a Memorandum of Agreement. The Superintendent (HQ USAFA/CC) and the Chairman of the AOG to a USAFA graduate(s), whose singular act of achievement is of such significance as to set them apart from their contemporaries. More than one individual may be selected during a particular year.

    Selection Criteria

    Award selection is based on a singular achievement or a series of events within a short duration of time, which is of such significance as to set the individual apart from contemporaries. Individuals must be alive and agree to accept the Award at the Air Force Academy when possible.  Posthumous nominations will only be considered in rare instances. The criteria for the award is the following:

    • Exemplary performance during a singular act, or series of events within a short duration of time, where the individual demonstrated an achievement well exceeding the expectations for that period of time.
    • Incident exemplifies the Academy core values of – service before self, excellence in all we do, and integrity.
    • Act of bravery can occur during a military, civilian, business sector, or community related event
    • The incident reflects positively on the Academy and is correlated to the training provided by the Academy.
    • Open to all AFA graduates from any class year.
    Past Sullenberger Award Winners

    This award was established in 2020 and will be awarded for the first time in 2021

  • Wakin Character and Leadership Development Award

    The USAFA Malham M. Wakin Character and Leadership Development Award offers the institution an official means of recognizing a current or former USAFA permanent party member who has fostered character and leadership development consistent with the Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD) conceptual framework by living honorably, lifting others to their best possible self and elevating performance to a noble and common purpose during the current calendar year, 1 January-31 December.

    The award honors Brigadier General Malham M. Wakin, USAF, Retired, who served as Vice-Dean and as head of the Philosophy and Fine Arts Department at USAFA from 1959 – 1995.

    Year Recipient
    1998 Lt Gen Bradley C. Hosmer ’59
    1999 Brig Gen Ruben A. Cubero ’61
    2000 USAFA Prep School
    2001 C1C Catherine Adams
    2002 Dr. Martin Carlisle, DFCS
    2003 Lt Col Mark McGeehan ’78
    C1C Patrick McGeehan ’03
    C1C Brian Smolensky ’03
    2004 USAFA Response Team
    2005 Professor Howard Eggers
    2006 Mr. Phillip Gronseth ’75
    2007 Coach Fisher DeBerry
    2008 Lt Col Vicki Rast ’88
    2009 Maj James Thompson
    2010 Lt Col Brian Huntley ’88
    2011 Col (Ret) Steven A. Shambach
    2012 Lt Col Ryan K. Osteroos ’94
    2013 Capt Seth G. Ostlund
    2014 Maj Christina D. Vile
    2015 Dr. Robert “Jef” Jackson
    2016 Col Jennifer Block ’92
    2017 Col (Ret) Tom Berry ’71
    2018 Lt Col Camilo Guerrero ’96
    2019 Maj Keturah Onukwuli
    2020 Ms. Gina “Nikki” Mench ’02

Cadet Awards

Cadet awards recognize cadets for their military, academic, and athletic performance. They are offered for their motivational and inspirational value to all cadets who may one day be called upon to defend our great nation. Organizational awards are designed to recognize cadet units for outstanding achievement in academics, military training, athletics, and extracurricular activities. The awards consist of a trophy, engraved plaque and a guidon streamer for the winning units.

Each year, through the generosity of our sponsors, the Academy presents the following awards:

  • Academic Awards

    Academic awards reward outstanding achievement in each of the four academic divisions.

    Award Winner Class Sq In Memory of Donor
    Outstanding Cadet in Remotely Piloted Aircraft Austin C. Williams 2021 27 in memory of Captain Mark Patrick McCarthy (Class of 1985) General James P. McCarthy, USAF, Retired and Mrs. Alice McCarthy
    Outstanding Cadet in Basic Sciences Campbell M. Andersen 2021 18 in memory of Lieutenant General Claire L. Chennault
    Outstanding Cadet in Engineering Emily K. Berexa 2021 14 Mr Allan Hunt (Class of 1969)
    Outstanding Cadet in Humanities Jackson R. Ayers 2021 18 in memory of Lieutenant General Barton K. Yount Association of Graduates of the United States Air Force Academy
    Outstanding Cadet in Social Sciences Aryemis C. Brown 2021 11 in memory of General Joseph R. Holzapple
    Outstanding Cadet in Academic Performance Robert B. Gansrow 2021 38 in memory of Brigadier General Robert F. McDermott, USAF, Retired The American Legion
    Outstanding Cadet in Aeronautical Engineering Matthew R. Chmiel 2021 15 in memory of Captain Zoltan J. Tober, Jr. (Class of 1965)
    Outstanding Cadet in Astronautical Engineering Jeffrey P. Fadlovich 2021 11 in memory of Dr. John von Neumann Brig Gen (Ret) Robert B. Giffen (Class of 1965)
    Outstanding Cadet in Behavioral Sciences and Leadership Samantha A. Sommers 2021 36 in memory of Captain Richard D. Chorlins (Class of 1967) National Ladies’ Auxiliary Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.
    Outstanding Cadet in Biology Thomas M Heisler 2021 31 in memory of members of the 384th Bomb Group who served from 1942 to 1945 384th Bomb Group, Inc.
    Outstanding Cadet in Chemistry Campbell M. Andersen 2021 18 in memory of Captain Edward E. Barrow National Society Daughters of the American Colonists
    Outstanding Cadet in Civil Engineering Kenneth R. McKnight 2021 17 in honor of Major General Eugene A. Lupia, USAF, Retired (Class of 1967) and in memory of First Lieutenant George W. Kamenicky (Class of 1969) New York City Post of the Society of American Military Engineers
    Outstanding Cadet in Communications Spencer W. Rohlwing 2021 16 in honor of General Richard L. Lawson, USAF, Retired Association of Graduates of the United States Air Force Academy
    Outstanding Cadet in Cyber Science Andrew R. Lemke 2021 8 The Honorable Michael W. Wynne, former Secretary of the Air Force
    Outstanding Cadet in Computer Science Saideep G. Reddy 2021 29 in memory of Captain Dean W. Gonzalez (Class of 1980) USAFA DFCS Faculty Alumni
    Outstanding Cadet in Eastern Language Minor Christopher M. Meno 2021 37 in memory of General James H. Doolittle National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century
    Outstanding Cadet in Economics Jason D. Schulz 2021 28 in memory of Major Arthur L. Moxon (Class of 1968)
    Outstanding Cadet in English Alexander W. Cooper 2021 23 in honor of Brigadier General Peter R. Moody, USAF, Retired Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
    Outstanding Cadet in Foreign Area Studies Zachary A. Flash 2021 9 in honor of Brigadier General Ruben A. Cubero, USAF, Retired (Class of 1961) The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution
    Outstanding Cadet in Geospatial Science Kaitlyn M. Benton 2021 4 in memory Of Brigadier General Robert F. McDermott, USAF, Retired United Services Automobile Association, Mountain States Region
    Outstanding Cadet in History Mark A. Schell 2021 11 in memory of Lieutenant General Frank M. Andrews Zebulon Pike Chapter, National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution
    Outstanding Cadet in Humanities (Major) Julia L. Rochester 2021 36
    Outstanding Cadet in Intercollegiate Speech Competition Henry J. Gilchrist 2021 4 in memory of First Lieutenant Roger F. Stringer (Class of 1961) Family of Classmates of First Lieutenant Roger F. Stringer
    Outstanding Cadet in Legal Studies Aryemis C. Brown 2021 11 in memory of Brigadier General Marcos E. Kinevan, USAF, Retired
    Outstanding Cadet in Management Mark A. Watson 2021 27 in memory of Colonel Frank T. Birk (Class of 1968)
    Outstanding Cadet in Mathematics Thomas F. Galligani 2021 37 in memory of Dr. Robert H. Goddard Brigadier General (Ret) and Mrs. John Andrew
    Outstanding Cadet in Meteorology Jacob A. Margraf 2021 21
    Outstanding Cadet in Military History Connor B. Lofthus 2021 16 in memory of Major Richard Ira Bong the family of the late Colonel Robert S. Lawson
    Outstanding Cadet in Military and Strategic Studies Harley P. Morgan 2021 17 in memory of Major General Lucas V. Beau and Brigadier General William (Billy) Mitchell Civil Air Patrol
    Outstanding Cadet in National Security Studies Dusten W. Ault 2021 29 in memory of Joseph J. Kruzel, Jr. (Class of 1967) and Colonel S. Nelson Drew National Society United States Daughters of 1812
    Outstanding Cadet in Computer Engineering Award Jared W. Erickson 2021 22 Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, Rocky Mountain Chapter
    Outstanding Cadet in Electrical Engineering Award Kathleen E. Medill 2021 7 in memory of Captain Park G. Bunker (Class of 1963) Congressional Medal of Honor Society
    Outstanding Cadet in Mechanical Engineering Award Kaleb D. Overby 2021 11 National Society Daughters of the American Revolution
    Outstanding Cadet in Systems Engineering Award Rheagan A. Horne 2021 30 Air Force Association, Colorado
    Outstanding Cadet in Philosophy Noah B. Jensen 2021 22 in memory of Major Fred A. Brockway Colonel James Cook and Mrs. Dörte Cook
    Outstanding Cadet in Physics Jacob C. DeLange 2021 18 in memory of Major General George O. Squier The Order of the Founders and Patriots of America
    Outstanding Cadet in Political Science Lindsey C. Licciardi 2021 3 in memory of Captain Richard T. Carvolth III National Society of Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America
    Outstanding Cadet in Space Operations Julia N. Baldasare 2021 32 in memory of Lieutenant Colonel Robert C. Rounding Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United States, National Commandery
    The Brigadier General John M. Andrew Award for the Outstanding Cadet in Operations Research Miranda N. Ahlers 2021 21 Military and Security Applications Society of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
    Outstanding Cadet in Western Language Minor Alexander W. Cooper 2021 23 in memory of Major G. Raoul Lufbery Military Order of the World Wars, National Headquarters
  • Military Awards

    Military awards recognize the highest standards of leadership, character development, and military scholarship.

    Award Winner Class Sq In Memory of Donor
    Outstanding Group Award Cadet Group 2 Association of Graduates of the United States Air Force Academy
    Outstanding Squadron Award Cadet Squadron 34 Air Force Association
    Drill and Ceremonies Competition Squadron Award Cadet Squadron 28 in memory of United States Ambassador Laurence A. Steinhardt and Squadron Leader Allan A. Sherlock, Royal Canadian Air Force Ms. Laurene Ann Sherlock and Mr. Victor A. Sherlock
    Military Proficiency Squadron Award Cadet Squadron 39 in memory of Colonel John H. Fowler, Jr. Air Force Space Command
    Core Values Squadron Award Cadet Squadron 19 Airlift Tanker Association
    Academic Achievement Squadron Award Cadet Squadron 13 Air Education and Training Command
    Leadership and Scholarship Squadron Award
    Cadet Squadron 18
    Air Force Academy Foundation
    USAFA Safety Outstanding Squadron Award
    Cadet Squadron 26
    Outstanding Cadet Summer Wing Commander Award Roselen J. Rotello 2021 28 Aviators’ Post No. 743, American Legion
    Outstanding Cadet Fall Wing Commander Award Aryemis C. Brown 2021 11 in memory of Captain Herbert A. Adamson (Class of 1959) Aviators’ Post No. 743, American Legion
    Outstanding Cadet Spring Wing Commander Award Emily K. Berexa 2021 14 in memory of General of the Air Force Henry H. (Hap) Arnold Aviators’ Post No. 743, American Legion
    Outstanding Cadet Group Commander Award Christian L. Gambale 2021 10 in memory of Major General Oscar Westover The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Auxiliary
    Outstanding Cadet Squadron Commander Award Jackson R. Ayers 2021 18 in memory of General Hoyt S. Vandenberg McCormick and Company
    Outstanding Cadet Flight Commander Award Alexandria M. Beckett 2021 33 Military Affairs Council of the Colorado Springs Chamber and Economic Development Corporation
    Outstanding Cadet Who Best Exemplifies the Highest Ideals of Loyalty, Integrity and Courage Award Annie J. Rutter 2021 22
    Honor Chairperson Award Jed P. Cutter 2021 15 in memory of Second Lieutenant John C. K. Milligan (Class of 1959) and First Lieutenant Beverly S. Parrish, Jr. The Family of Second Lieutenant John C.K. Milligan
    Outstanding Cadet in Character Award Sarah E. Whitley 2021 19 in honor of Coach Fisher DeBerry Association of Graduates of the United States Air Force Academy
    Outstanding Cadet in Citizenship Award Lillian V. Hess 2021 18 Rotary Club of the Garden of the Gods
    Outstanding Cadet in Military Performance Award Aryemis C. Brown 2021 11 in memory of General Walter C. Sweeney, Jr. (Class of 1959) Reverend Walter C. Sweeney, III
    Outstanding Cadet in the Order of Graduation Award Campbell M. Andersen 2021 18 in memory of Lieutenant Generals Millard F.Harmon and Hubert R. Harmon The Order of Daedalians
    Mexican Secretariat of Defense Presentation for Outstanding Cadet in the Order of Graduation Campbell M. Andersen 2021 18
    Argetine Air Force Medal Campbell M. Andersen 2021 18
    Chilean Air Force Award Campbell M. Andersen 2021 18
  • Airmanship Awards

    These top awards recognize the first class cadets who excel in various aspects of airmanship including soaring, parachuting, powered flight, and navigation. Selection is based upon the advice of the 306th Flying Training Group Commander and staff and considers leadership and skill performance during jumps or flights as well as total number of jumps or flights.

    Award Winner Class Sq In Memory of Donor
    The Col. Jay B. Harrelson Award for Commitment and Service celebrating the Outstanding Cadet in Airmanship Award Andrew D. Crites 2021 15 Ms. Leslie Bassett
    Outstanding Cadet in Parachuting Award Marcus A. Ross 2021 25 in memory of Peter A. Johnston (Class of 1966) The Class of 1966
    Outstanding Cadet in Soaring Award Dylan J. Alexander 2021 7 in memory of former Air Force Chief of Staff, General John P. McConnell
    Outstanding Flying Team Cadet William J. Decker 2021 14
  • Leadership Awards

    The tapping ceremony typically occurs each year during graduation week.  Honorees in these categories are recognized with a permanently affixed nameplate in the Arnold Hall ballroom.

    Award Winner Class Sq In Memory of Donor
    Outstanding Cadet, United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School Graduate Award Brea N. Griddine 2021 13 USAFA Preparatory School Commanders
    Outstanding Former Regular Enlisted Cadet Graduating with Highest Class Honors Award Charles T. Galloway Jr. 2021 3 in memory of Master Sergeant James D. Horner National Society Dames of the Court of Honor
    Outstanding Former Falcon Scholar Award Jordan J. Brown 2021 17 in memory of Major General Robert J. Smith The Falcon Foundation
    100 Year Honor Roll (Top Graduate) Campbell M. Andersen 2021 18 in memory of Lieutenant Generals Millard F. Harmon and Hubert R. Harmon The Order of Daedalians
    Civil Air Patrol Award Campbell M. Andersen 2021 18 Civil Air Patrol
  • Athletic Awards

    Athletic awards are awarded to cadets who demonstrate superior athletic achievement and leadership abilities.

    Award Winner Class Sq In Memory of Donor
    Intercollegiate Athletics Squadron Award Cadet Squadron 04
    Intramural Athletics Squadron Award Cadet Squadron 19 United Services Automobile Association, Mountain States Region
    Athletic Excellence Squadron Award Cadet Squadron 19 Association of Graduates of the United States Air Force Academy
    Most Valuable Athlete Award (Men) Parker N. Ferguson 2021 4 in memory of Colonel John J. Clune, United States Air Force Academy Athletic Director, 1975-1991 United States Air Force Academy Admissions Liaison Officers
    Most Valuable Athlete Award (Women) Mahala N. Norris 2021 15 in memory of Colonel John J. Clune, United States Air Force Academy Athletic Director, 1975-1991 United States Air Force Academy Colorado Parents’ Club
    Outstanding Cadet, Athletic Achievement Award Nolan D. Laufenberg 2021 9 in memory of Major Jack Schwall, USAF, Retired Lieutenant Colonel Franklin D. Roth, USAF, Retired and Mrs. Rolene Roth; Major Benjamin D. Roth and Mrs. Sarah Roth
    Outstanding Cadet, Athletic Excellence Award Maria C. Mettler 2021 3 in memory of First Lieutenant Dale A. Walters (Class of 1982)
    Outstanding Cadet, Athletic Leadership Award Kylie J. Stronko 2021 11 in memory of First Lieutenant Michael J. Mark (Class of 1975) family and friends of First Lieutenant Michael J. Mark (Class of 23%5)
    Outstanding Cadet, Scholar-Athlete Award Jessica B. Kirkpatrick 2021 31 in memory of General Edwin W. Rawlings
    Most Valuable Baseball Player Award Paul D. Skenes 2024 9 in memory of Captain Valmore W. Bourque (Class of 1960) Ms. Donda Foran Thomasson
    Most Valuable Basketball Player Award (Men) Christopher D. Joyce 2021 40 Lt Col (Ret) Steven A. Simon and Lt Col (Ret) Paula S. Simon
    Most Valuable Basketball Player Award (Women) Riley A. Snyder 2022 7 Women Air Force Service Pilots of World War II
    Most Valuable Cadet in Boxing Excellence Award Zachary U. Phillips 2021 30 Rampart Chapter, Association of Graduates
    Most Valuable Cadet in Marksmanship Award (Rifle) Peter M. Fiori 2022 32 in honor of the United States Air Force Academy Purple Heart Recipients
    Most Valuable Cheerleader Award Thomas C. Chandler 2021 22
    Most Valuable Cross Country Runner Award (Men) Scott A. Johnson 2021 4 United Services Automobile Association, Mountain States Region
    Most Valuable Cross Country Runner Award (Women) Mahala N. Norris 2021 15 American Legion Auxiliary National Headquarters
    Most Valuable Diver Award Cole T. Armagost 2021 39
    Most Valuable Fencer Award (Men) Matthew M. Han 2023 36 in memory of Captain Harlow L. Halbower (Class of 1959) and First Lieutenant John P. Skoro, Jr. (Class of 1963)
    Most Valuable Fencer Award (Women) Erin M. Shea 2022 35 in memory of Mr. Edwin L. Purdy
    Most Valuable Football Defensive Player Award Elisha A. Palm 2021 3
    Most Valuable Football Lineman or Special Teams Player Award George P. Silvanic 2021 5 Association of Graduates of the United States Air Force Academy
    Most Valuable Football Offensive Player Award Parker N. Ferguson 2021 4 in memory of Captain Martin S. Bezyack Colonel (ret) David C. Geuting and Master Sergeant Janice R. Geuting
    Most Valuable Football Player Award Nolan D. Laufenberg 2021 9 AFA Quarterback Club of Denver
    Most Valuable Golfer Award (Men) Kyle J. Spencer 2021 25 Brigadier General (Ret) John Andrew
    Most Valuable Gymnast Award (Men) Franklin N. Valentin 2021 25 in memory of Mr. Jasper D. Ackerman
    Most Valuable Gymnast Award (Women) Daija A. Stevenson 2022 9 in memory of Lieutenant Colonel Karolen K. Fahrni (Class of 1985) Ms. Kimberly Davis
    Most Valuable Ice Hockey Player Award William D. Reim 2023 10 in memory of First Lieutenant Hal K. Henderson (Class of 1967) Mrs. Margo Henderson and Ms. Lisa Marie Henderson Nelson
    Most Valuable Lacrosse Player Award Matthew B. O’Rourk 2021 10 in memory of First Lieutenant Michael L. Sands (Class of 1971)
    Most Valuable Soccer Player (Women) Kayla A. Milford 2023 29 in memory of Second Lieutenant Gary K. Davis (Class of 1969) Lt Col (Ret) Carl A. Janssen, Jr. and Mrs. Janssen
    Most Valuable Soccer Player Award (Men) London P. Aghedo 2023 20 United States Air Force Academy Colorado Parents’ Club
    Most Valuable Swimmer Award (Men) Isaac A. Gwin 2022 31 in memory of Captain Bryan A. Rye (Class of 1971) Lt Col (Ret) William M. Griffith (Class of 1969)
    Most Valuable Swimmer Award (Women) Sefilina M. Maile 2023 8
    Most Valuable Tennis Player Award (Men) Paul R. Hendrix 2021 2 in memory of Lieutenant General Francis C. Gideon, USAF
    The Carole Gilchrist Bassett Award for the Most Valuable Tennis Player Award (Women) Meredith G. Jones 2021 13 The Bassett Family
    Most Valuable Track and Field Athlete Award (Men) Gregory D. Skage 2021 24 in memory of Brigadier General James V. G. Wilson The Wilson Family and Friends
    Most Valuable Track and Field Athlete Award (Women) Mahala N. Norris 2021 15 in memory of Lieutenant General Claire L. Chennault
    Most Valuable Track and Field Competitor Award (Men) Samuel J. Gilman 2023 31 in memory of Mr. Arne U. Arnesen
    Most Valuable Track and Field Competitor Award (Women) Maria C. Mettler 2021 3 in memory of Lieutenant General Claire L. Chennault
    Most Valuable Volleyball Player Award Bailey R. Keith 2022 13 United Services Automobile Association, Mountain States Region
    Most Valuable Water Polo Player Award Grant C. Snyder 2023 12 Lieutenant Colonel Jeffery Heidmous (Class of 1977), USAF, Retired, and Mrs. Heidmous
    Most Valuable Wrestler Award Wyatt A. Hendrickson 2024 9 in memory of First Lieutenant Richard N. Christy II (Class of 1970) Colonel Terry R. Silvester, USAF, Retired (Class of 1970) and Mrs. Janet Christy Silvester
    Physical Education Average Spencer W. Rohlwing 2021 16 in memory of Lt Col Paul Edward Bickle (Class of 1970)
    Outstanding Cadet in Physical Education Mark A. Watson 2021 27 in memory of Captain Dean G. Crowell (Class of 1964)
  • Schulte Award

    This award honors 1st Lt. Roslyn ‘Roz’ Littmann Schulte, the first female Air Force Academy graduate to be killed in action in the war on terror. It has been awarded since 2010 to recognize an outstanding cadet first class who embodies “impeccable character, unwavering leadership and spirit of service.”

    To watch the 2021 Award and Recognition Ceremony, click here.

    To view images of the ceremony, click here.

    Award Cadet Class Sq In Memory of Donor
    Winner Julia L. Rochester 2021 36 in memory of 1st Lt. Roslyn Schulte Sponsored by  the Center for Character and Leadership Development and the Schulte family
    Runner-Up Derrick Dye 2021 34
    Runner-Up Thuytien Pham 2021 9
    Runner-Up Michael J. Greisman 2021 16
    Runner-Up Marcus A. Ross 2021 25