Institutional Awards recognize individuals or groups who set themselves apart through outstanding contributions in military operations or philanthropy. These graduates and members of the United States Air Force Academy 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.
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 2020 Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Garry W. Dudley ’68 2019 General (Retired) John Lorber ’64 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
2017 Mr. Carl A. Janssen, Jr. ’68 2016 No award Presented 2015 The Air Force Academy Foundation 2014 Mr. John M. Fox ’63 2013 Dr. Jimmy Covey ’68 2012 Mr. Edward E. “Ted” Legasey ’67 2011 Colonel (Retired) Jock C. H. Schwank ’60 2010 Lieutenant General (Retired) Benjamin N. Bellis ’85 2009 Mr. A. Bart Holaday ’65 2008 General (Retired) James P. McCarthy 2007 Brigadier General (Retired) Malham M. Wakin 2006 Academy Top 3 2005 Major General (Retired) William Lyon 2004 No Award Presented 2003 Colonel (Retired) Joseph and Doctor Dorothy Moller 2002 The Olmsted Foundation 2001 Brigadier General (Retired) Philip J. Erdle 2000 Mr. Harold U. Littrell 1999 Colorado Springs Citizens Committee
Lieutenant General (Retired) A. P. Clark
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.
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:
Year Recipient Description 2021 Maj Cameron Dilts, ’10 CV-22B Pilot, Iraq 2020 Capt Alexander E. Boules, ’15 A-10, Afghanistan 2019 Col Tyler N. Hague ’98
Maj Caitlin T. Reilly ‘ 07
Operations: Inherent Resolve, Freedom’s Sentinel, & Resolute Support
2018 Maj Marc P. Catalano ’06 Iraq, Operation Inherent Resolve & Resolute Support, AC-130U Pilot 2017 Capt Brian R. Guyette, ‘08 Syria, B-1 Instructor Pilot 2016 Maj Matthew J. Kuta, ‘05 Afghanistan, F-15E Pilot 2015 Capt Kyle L. Babbitt, ’08 ACC, A-10 C pilot, OEF 2014 Capt Charles C. Napier, ’06 HH-60G Rescue in Afghanistan 2013 Capt Christopher D. McConnell, ’05 Op Odyssey Dawn (Libya), B-1 2012 Capt Joseph A. Hext, ’02 USAFE, Op Enduring Freedom, A-10 Pilot 2011 Capt Michal P. Polidor, ’04 Global Strike Command, F-15E Pilot 2010 Capt Prichard R. Keely, 04 ACC, F-15E Weapon Systems Officer 2009 Capt Travis A. Burton, ’00
Mr. Chesley B. Sullenberger, ’73
USAFE, A-10 Pilot OEF
US Airways Pilot, Hudson River Landing
2008 Capt Jonathan W. Graham, ’99 AETC, Operation Iraqi Freedom MH-53 2006 Maj John E. Vargas Jr., ‘96 USAFE, F-16, OIF, OEF 2005 Lt Col Keith D. Schultz, ‘79 B-52 flight, weapon system development 2004 Maj Jason L. Hanover, ‘92 AFSOC; MC-130H; OEF and OIF 2003 Capt Leighton T. Anderson, Jr., ‘92
Capt Edward J. Lengel, ‘92
Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)
2002 Maj Henry C. Thompson, ‘87 Operation Allied Force/Northern Watch 2001 Maj Julian M. Chesnutt, ‘89 Operation Allied Force, Fighter Ops 2000 Maj James L. Cardoso, ‘88 Operation Allied Force, Rescue 1998 Capt Daniel E. Flynn, ‘91 Special Operations Excellence 1997 LtCol David J. Scott, ‘78 F-16 Tactics Development / Leadership 1996 LtCol Robert P. Donnelly, Jr, ‘77 Flatyeri, Iceland Rescue 1995 Capt Harold E. Waters, ‘85 RC-135 In-flight Emergency 1994 LtCol James A. Sills, ‘74 Iceland Rescue 1993 Maj Ali C. Frolich, ‘80 Desert Shield / Desert Storm 1992 Maj Corby L. Martin, ‘80 Desert Shield / Desert Storm 1991 Capt William F. Andrews, ‘80 Desert Storm / F-16 Heroic Act 1990 Capt Francis R. Gabreski, ‘8 Tactics Validation / Panama 1989 LtCol Robert H. Schnick, ‘72 F-16 Test Pilot for LANTIRN 1988 Maj Marc D. Felman, ‘76
Capt Thomas M. Ferguson, ‘81
KC-10 Mission over Atlantic
KC-10 Mission over Atlantic
1987 Capt James A. Trinka, ‘78 Save F-16 w/ Engine Failure 1986 Maj Larry E. Faber, ‘73 Save TR-1 w/ Engine Failure 1985 Col James N. Allburn, ‘63 X-29 Program 1984 Capt Michael P. Davis, ‘78 Grenada Rescue 1983 Col Karol J. Bobko, ‘59
Maj Neal D. Coyle, ‘72
Maiden Voyage of Challenger
B-52 In-flight Emergency
1982 LtCol Robert L. Brenci, ‘63 Iran Hostage Rescue Attempt 1981 Capt William T. Gillin, ‘73 Dutch Liner Rescue 1980 Col Thomas A. LaPlante, ‘61 Excellence in System Management 1979 Maj Mart H. Bushnell, ‘64 F-15 & AIM-7F Sparrow Missile Improvements 1978 LtCol (Dr) Wayne F. Kendall, ‘60 F-15/F-16 Canopy Loss 1977 Maj Roger E. Carleton, ‘67 A-10 T & E 1976 **LtCol Michael V. Love, ‘60 Test Pilot 1975 **Capt Donald R. Backlund, ‘71
Capt Ronald T. Rand, ‘71
Mayaguez Rescue (Pilot)
Mayaguez Rescue (Photographer)
1974 *Maj Robert A. Lodge, ‘64 Southeast Asia 1973 Capt Dale E. Stovall, ‘67 SEA/Helicopter Rescue 1972 Maj Richard S. Ritchie, ‘64 Southeast Asia 1971 Capt Neil B. Crist, ‘66 Southeast Asia 1970 Capt (Ret) Wayne A. Warner, ’63 Southeast Asia 1969 Maj Terry R. Jorris, ‘61 Space Sextant (Aerospace Research) * Lt Karl W. Richter, ‘64 Southeast Asia 1968 Capt Donald D. Stevens, ‘60 Southeast Asia
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.
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 2021 Col. (Ret.) Leonard “Lucky” Ekman ’63
Dr. William Wecker ’63
Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Eugene Lupia ’67
2020 Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jay Kelley ’64
Mr. Hugh Williamson ’64
Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Ronald “Ron” Sega ’74
Col. (Ret.) Gail Benjamin Colvin ’80
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
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
2017 John Fox ’63
T. Allan McArtor ’64
Gen. (Ret.) Steve Lorenz ’73
2016 (Ret.) George Lee Butler ’61
Gen. (Ret.) Charles R. Holland ’68
Mr. R. David Yost ’69
Col. (Ret.) Gary E. Payton ’71
2015 (Ret.) Gregory “Speedy” Martin ’70
Paul Madera ’78
2014 Thomas J. Eller ’61
Gen. (Ret.) Kevin P. Chilton ’76
2013 A. Bart Holaday ’65
Gen. (Ret) William R. “Bill” Looney III ’72
2012 Gen. (Ret.) Marcus A. Anderson ’61
Mr. Edward E. “Ted” Legasey ’67
2011 Gen. (Ret.) Ruben A. Cubero ’61
Mr. Richard D. McConn ’66
2010 Max F. James ’64
Gen. (Ret.) Ralph E.Eberhart ’68
2009 (Ret.) John Michael Loh ’60
Honorable Heather A. Wilson ’82
2008 Gen. (Ret.) Donald Shepperd ’62
Mr. John Martinson ’70
2007 Gen. (Ret.) Ervin Rokke ’62
Gregg Popovich ’70
2006 Gen. (Ret.) Robert D. Beckel ’59
Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Edward J. Mechenbier ’64
2005 (Ret.) H.T. Johnson ’59
Gen. (Ret.) Michael E. Ryan ’65
2004 (Ret.) Frederick Gregory ’64
Gen. (Ret.) Ronald W. Yates ’60
2003 Gen. (Ret.) Bradley C. Hosmer ’59
Mr. Richard T. Schlosberg ’65
2002 Paul G. Kaminski ’64
Gen. (Ret.) Robert C. Oaks ’59
2001 (Ret.) Ronald Fogleman ’63
Mr. Harry J. Pearce, ’64
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.
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. For the 2023 Sullenberger Award for Courage we will accept nominations for acts within the year 2023.
- 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 directly correlated to the training provided by the Academy
Past Sullenberger Award Winners
This award was established in 2020 and was awarded for the first time in 2021.
- 2021 Winner Lt. Col. Alexander Pelbath
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 2020 Ms. Gina “Nikki” Mench ’02 2019 Maj Keturah Onukwuli 2018 Lt Col Camilo Guerrero ’96 2017 Col (Ret) Tom Berry ’71 2016 Col Jennifer Block ’92 2015 Dr. Robert “Jef” Jackson 2014 Maj Christina D. Vile 2013 Capt Seth G. Ostlund 2012 Lt Col Ryan K. Osteroos ’94 2011 Col (Ret) Steven A. Shambach 2010 Lt Col Brian Huntley ’88 2009 Maj James Thompson 2008 Lt Col Vicki Rast ’88 2007 Coach Fisher DeBerry 2006 Mr. Phillip Gronseth ’75 2005 Professor Howard Eggers 2004 USAFA Response Team 2003 Lt Col Mark McGeehan ’78
C1C Patrick McGeehan ’03
C1C Brian Smolensky ’03
2002 Dr. Martin Carlisle, DFCS 2001 C1C Catherine Adams 2000 USAFA Prep School 1999 Brig Gen Ruben A. Cubero ’61 1998 Lt Gen Bradley C. Hosmer ’59
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 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 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 AwardCadet Squadron 18 Air Force Academy Foundation USAFA Safety Outstanding Squadron AwardCadet 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
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
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 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)
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