HOW MANY TICKETS TO GRADUATION CEREMONY CAN I GET
Please coordinate your ticket requests through your graduating cadet. Senior Cadets are typically allocated up to 20 tickets upon request through their cadet squadron. Tickets in excess of 20 per graduating cadet may be available and will be distributed as resources allow. There is no will-call for graduation ceremony tickets and tickets cannot be mailed. Cadets will pick up the tickets and provide them to their guests upon their arrival.
HOW CAN THE GENERAL PUBLIC GET TICKETS FOR THE GRADUATION CEREMONY
Tickets may be available from the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and USAFA’s Athletic Ticket Office (at the Cadet Field House) in mid-May. An announcement will be made through local media to inform the public when tickets are available. The Association of Graduates may make a limited number of tickets available to its membership. There is no will-call for graduation ceremony tickets and tickets cannot be obtained from the Air Force Academy Athletic Ticket office.
- COMMISSIONING CEREMONIES SCHEDULE
SEATING AND STADIUM GUIDELINES
Due to security restrictions in Falcon Stadium, all guests will pass through metal detectors and may have purses or personal items searched. All guests must have tickets to enter the stadium. Please review the full list of restrictions under ‘Attachments’. No boxes, alcohol, weapons, firecrackers, beverage containers, backpacks, large handbags, coolers, thermoses or similar items will be allowed in the stadium. Drinks are prohibited with the exception of clear, unopened water bottles. Food is permitted, but must be displayed in a transparent 1-gallon zip lock bag. Cameras and video cameras are permitted; however, please be prepared to remove camera lenses for security inspection at the stadium gates. Diaper bags will be allowed when a child is present – no strollers please. Refreshments will be available from vendors throughout the stadium.
ARE BANNERS ALLOWED IN THE CEREMONY
Large banners cannot be brought into the stadium as they may block the view of other guests. You may bring in hand-held, letter-sized signs that do not present a problem for other patrons and are appropriate in content. We also ask that guests not wear T-shirts with potentially offensive sayings to this event.
CAN I BRING MY OWN SEATS INTO THE STADIUM
Stadium seats are available to rent inside the stadium. Guests may bring their own, so long as they have soft seat backs, no metal, and are 18 inches wide or smaller.
I AM DIABETIC AND NEED TO BRING SPECIAL FOOD INTO THE GRADUATION CEREMONY
Food and drink are available from a variety of vendors at Falcon Stadium during the ceremony. If you require special food items not available from the vendors, please make sure you bring a doctor’s note stating your requirement for the food items you bring in. Please note that coolers, thermoses and backpacks may not be brought into the stadium.
CAN I BRING A STROLLER INTO THE GRADUATION CEREMONY
Strollers are not allowed in the stadium for the Grad ceremony due to security and safety reasons. Depending on the age of the child, you may bring him/her in a baby carrier or car seat but must have a ticket for the baby in order to ensure a seat is availa
CAN I BRING A VIDEO CAMERA WITH A TELEPHOTO LENS INTO THE GRADUATION CEREMONY
Yes, video cameras and telephoto lenses may be brought into Falcon Stadium. Guests should be prepared to turn on the camera and remove any telephoto lenses for inspection at the stadium gate upon entry.
ARE PARENTS OR FAMILY ALLOWED ONTO THE STADIUM FLOOR FOLLOWING THE CEREMONY
Children ages 7-10 may participate in the hat toss. Parents must escort their children to the south-east stands, and then wait for their return following the hat toss, but parents/adults will not be allowed down on the field. Following the departure of the commencement speaker and the distinguished visitor party from the stadium floor, parents/guests may be allowed to enter the floor to congratulate their cadets. Ushers at the steps to the stadium floor will control access to the floor.
LEAVING THE CEREMONY EARLY
Once the ceremony begins, the stadium gates will be closed due to security considerations and to secure the Thunderbirds’ “show box.” No one is permitted in the parking areas for the duration of the ceremony and the Thunderbirds performance. Following the ceremony, the gates will open upon completion of the Thunderbirds performance at about 1:15 p.m. Please make your travel arrangements accordingly.
PARKING AND TRANSPORTATION
GETTING AROUND THE ACADEMY
Please plan to arrive early for all Graduation Week events, especially the Graduation Parade and Graduation Ceremony. Traffic will likely be heavy and parking and security checks may result in delays getting to your destination. Throughout your visit, we recommend you be prepared with comfortable walking shoes and water, since bus wait times may sometimes be longer than expected. Although handicapped shuttles will be available throughout the Cadet Area, there may be extensive walking required from bus stops to your final destination. Please make sure to consider this when bringing elderly or infirm guests to the Academy.
Download the Graduation Week Maps (PDF).
CAN I PARK MY RV IN THE STADIUM PARKING LOT & DO SHUTTLE BUSES PICK UP FROM FamCamp
The shuttle buses will only run from the Field House parking lots to various locations in the cadet area on Wednesday (not to the stadium, AOG, Falcon Club or FamCamp). There are no restrictions for parking RVs in the Field House or stadium parking lots, but recommend you arrive early and plan to park in the outer areas of the parking in order to have sufficient room to maneuver and park. Please remember that guests may not remain in vehicles in the parking lot during the graduation ceremony. Also, we ask that guests do not “tailgate” following the grad ceremony, due to heavy volume of traffic trying to exit the stadium parking lots.
PARKING AND SHUTTLES
PARKING: Parking for events in or near the Cadet Area is in the Field House, Reservoir and Parade Field Parking Lots (see map). Please make sure to park in designated parking spaces — violators may be ticketed or towed at owner’s expense.
SHUTTLES: Shuttle bus service will operate from the visitor parking lots on Tuesday before Graduation. Bus stops are clearly marked with signs and benches. Guests may ride the shuttle buses into the Cadet Area. Buses do not go to the Visitor Center so we recommend guests not park in this lot for Cadet Area events. Guests wishing to enter the Terrazzo, academic buildings or dormitories must be escorted by a cadet or authorized staff at all times. Private vehicles may not enter the Cadet Area. Shuttle bus service will not be available on Graduation Day; all ceremony parking is at Falcon Stadium.
HOW DO I GET PARKING PASSES AND ARE THEY REQUIRED
Parking passes are no longer required or provided.
HOW DO GUESTS GET FROM THE PARKING AREA TO MITCHELL HALL FOR GRADUATION RECEPTION
Shuttle buses will transport guests from the Field House parking areas to Sijan Hall, where guests will be escorted through the building to the terrazzo and across to Mitchell Hall. Elevators will be available for handicapped or wheel chair guests.
Arnold Hall is the cadet social center and a meeting place for cadets and their guests. During the hours of operation, a staff member or cadet will be available at the Arnold Hall Duty Station desk to assist you with information on scheduled events (open Mon-Sun, 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.). The telephone numbers are (719) 333-4701 or (719) 333-4790. The following is a list of cadet squadron telephone numbers to assist you in locating your cadet.
Cadet Squadron Locations: Sijan Hall—Squadrons 24-40; Vandenberg Hall—Squadrons 1-23FIRST GROUPSECOND GROUP
SQCCQ / AOC Phone Dorm SQCCQ / AOC Phone Dorm 014534 / 8991 VT 114581 / 4539 VM 024533 / 4537 VT 124448 / 4608 VM 034640 / 4548 VT 134757 / 4758 VM 044612 / 4541 VT 144759 / 4767 VM 054535 / 4524 VT 154669 / 4668 VM 064551 / 4532 VT 164675 / 4671 VM 079994 / 4518 VT 174501 / 4785 VM 084491 / 4550 VT 184777 / 4768 VM 094574 / 4552 VM 194741 / 4751 VM 104500 / 4569 VM 204712 / 6521 VM
Please use the Cadet in Charge of Quarters (CCQ) number when calling a cadet. It can be very difficult to contact a cadet during the academic day. In most cases, you will have to leave a message for your cadet to return your call. If you must talk to a cadet (emergencies only), call the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) or the Commandant of Cadets Command Center at 333-2910.
Key for codes below: Vandy Tower (VT), Vandy Main (VM), Sijan Main (SM) and Sijan Tower (ST).THIRD GROUPFOURTH GROUP
SQCCQ / AOC Phone Dorm SQCCQ / AOC Phone Dorm 214666 / 4456 VM 313050 / 4474 SM 224659 / 4594 VM 323052 / 4451 SM 234529 / 4457 VM 334300 / 4604 ST 244447 / 4559 SM 344304 / 4444 ST 254695 / 4798 SM 354311 / 4606 ST 266842 / 4766 SM 364306 / 4476 ST 274660 / 4424 SM 370667 / 0337 ST 284748 / 4408 SM 380668 / 0338 ST 294717 / 1880 SM 390669 / 0339 ST 304711 / 4465 SM 400670 / 0340 ST
LODGING AND RECREATION
LODGING IN COLORADO SPRINGS
There are numerous motels and hotels in the Colorado Springs area; however, the Pikes Peak Region is a nationally known resort area, and holiday weekends are particularly popular, with many special events taking place in the city and surrounding areas. For lodging information, feel free to use any hotel/motel site; you may also contact any of the below listed organizations:
Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, (877) 745-3773
Rampart Lodge, USAFA’s military lodging facility, (719) 333-4910
For Academy souvenirs, please feel free to shop at the USAFA Visitor Center or at the Falcon Gift Shop in the Cadet Field House. Please note that the Base Exchange, Commissary and Auto Service Center, located at the Academy Community Center, are only for authorized personnel (i.e., active duty or retired military personnel and authorized dependents). If you do not have a military ID card, you may shop here only when accompanied by your cadet or a DOD ID cardholder. There is a wide variety of shopping near the Air Force Academy to meet your needs. Academy Boulevard, easily accessed from the South Gate of the Air Force Academy, offers retail stores, groceries, services, dining and entertainment establishments, all within minutes of the Academy grounds.
USAFA RECREATIONAL FACILITIES
We’re pleased to offer you and your family the opportunity to use USAF Academy facilities and suggest you visit USAFA Force Support Squadron for all recreational needs, http://www.usafasupport.com/
Quick Reference Numbers:
Academy Bowling Lanes Snack Bar – (719) 333-4709
Academy Concerts Ticket Office, Arnold Hall – (719) 333-4497
Arnold Hall – (719) 333-2710
Arnold Hall Food Court (Subway, Polaris Perk Coffee Shop) – (719) 333-0664
Barry Goldwater Visitor Center And Gift Shop – (719) 472-0102
Base Operator / Information – (719) 333-1110
Cadet Chapel – (719) 333-2636
Childcare Center (Authorized Military Only) – (719) 333-6779
Community Center Chapel – (719) 333-3300
Equestrian Center – (719) 333-4607
Falcon Club – (719) 333-4253
Falcon Gift Shop, Cadet Field House – (719) 333-2484
Farish Recreation Area – (719) 687-9098
Field House Snack Bar – (719) 333-3321
Hap’s Place Lounge, Arnold Hall – (719) 333-4690
Home Childcare (Civilians And Military) – (719) 333-7957
Peregrine Pines Family Campground – (719) 333-4980
Cadet Treats, Arnold Hall – (719) 333-4610 / 4622
Golf Course Snack Bar – (719) 333-2606
Visitor Center Snack Bar – (719) 472-0689
PHOTOS, VIDEO AND YEARBOOK
You may order the 2017 USAFA Graduation DVD, photographs of your cadet receiving his/her diploma and the 2017 POLARIS Yearbook through the Office of Cadet Wing Media. The DVD includes every graduate, Graduation Week activities excerpts and Class of 2017 bonus material. This DVD is the only graduation product officially sanctioned by the USAF Academy.
Prestige Portraits by Lifetouch has been contracted to provide professional photographs of your cadet at the Graduation Ceremony (no need to sign up). The photographer will mail proofs to each graduating cadet’s home of record within six weeks after graduation with instructions for purchasing these photographs. If you do not receive a proof from the photographer, please contact Lifetouch directly. For more information call (800) 426-9533 or write to Lifetouch, 1170 Pontiac Ave, Cranston, RI 02920, Attn: AFA Grad.
Download the Graduation Product Order Form (PDF).
Contact Cadet Wing Media by calling (719) 333-4644, sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to 10 FSS/FSLAM, P.O. Box 6066, USAFA CO 80841-6066. Visit their web page at http://www.usafasupport.com/cadet-media.html.
The Mountain West Network will webcast the ceremony (see http://livestream.com/mwn/events/4005616/videos/88526697). Some local television stations may also broadcast the ceremony. As we get closer, we will post an announcement on this website letting the public know which channels will be broadcasting the ceremony. Finally, USAFA’s Arnold Hall Theater offers a comfortable indoor location to view the entire ceremony. No tickets are required and seating will be first come, first served.
ALTITUDE AND WEATHER
HIGH ALTITUDE CONCERNS
The Air Force Academy Cadet Area is approximately 7,300 feet above sea level. At this altitude, it is possible to contract an illness known as acute mountain or high-altitude sickness. The common symptoms of this disorder include headache, malaise, nausea, vomiting and shortness of breath. Most cases of acute mountain sickness are mild but the altitude may exacerbate other existing medical conditions. High altitude sickness usually resolves within a few days once an individual has had a chance to adapt to the increased elevation. The best way to avoid illness is to allow yourself to acclimatize: try not to overexert yourself in the first days after your arrival and make sure to drink sufficient fluids to avoid dehydration. Don’t go sightseeing at higher elevations (i.e., up in the mountains) until after you have been in Colorado Springs for a few days. Alcohol consumption may worsen these symptoms; if you must drink, make sure to do so in moderation.
With guests coming from so many diverse areas to the Colorado Springs area, you should be aware of the potential for a wide variety of weather conditions during your visit.
Due to our location on the Front Range of the Rockies and our high elevation, weather at the Academy can be highly unpredictable and change rapidly. It can be sunny and warm one day and rainy, foggy and cold the next day. The average daytime high temperature in late May is in the high 60s with a morning low in the mid 40s. The extreme high temperature for this time of year has been in the low 90s while the extreme low temperature has been in the low 30s. In the past, some Academy graduations were held in very cold, wet weather, and that could happen this year. It may also be sunny and very warm. We recommend visitors be prepared with sunscreen, clear, unopened water bottles and hats for good weather and rain coats/hats for bad weather. In the event of severe weather or security response to a high-threat world situation, the ceremony could be moved into the Cadet Field House. Because the Cadet Field House has limited seating capacity, this would restrict attendance to the graduating cadets and only three of their guests. For this reason, we make every attempt to hold the graduation ceremony outdoors in Falcon Stadium, even in less than ideal weather conditions.
WARNING SYSTEM. Here at the Air Force Academy, the “Giant Voice System” (an outdoor loud-speaker system) will activate when a thunderstorm, lightning or other severe weather threatens the area. When dangerous weather is present or predicted, a notifica- tion to seek shelter will be broadcast over Giant Voice, warning guests to shelter immediately or limit exposure to the outdoors. Guests should remain in an indoor location until it has been determined that lightning is out of the area or no longer a threat.
SEVERE WEATHER. Colorado has more thunderstorm days than any other state except Florida. Severe summer weather may bring lightning, hail, torrential rain, flash floods and even the occasional tornado.
Throughout Grad Week, you may enter the base via the North Gate by showing your driver’s license or a military ID. You may also be asked to show proof of insurance and a valid vehicle registration. All vehicles entering the base are subject to inspection/search by security personnel. In order to avoid delays, guests should refrain from bringing large bags, coolers, backpacks or other items that will require additional scrutiny or searches from security personnel. If you are driving a rental car, please keep the rental agreement and current proof of insurance in the vehicle at all times. All non-DOD visitors must enter through the North Gate. Graduating cadets may provide guest information (full name, date of birth and driver’s license number/state of registration) to request base access passes for up to 5 guests/family members. Security Forces will provide completed base passes to cadets in late April and early May and cadets must send or give these passes to the individuals. Passes will allow the designated guest to escort up to 10 other guests to access all parts of the base and will permit them to escort one additional vehicle through the entrance gates. Guests should make sure to coordinate with their cadets if they will need a base pass.
Please make sure to follow all posted speed limits when driving on the base. Note that seat-belts must be worn by all vehicle occupants at all times when driving on the Academy. Drivers may not use handheld cellular phones while the vehicle is in motion. If you need to make or take a call, please use a hands-free device or pull to the side of the road. Also, be aware that radar detectors are not permitted on base. Finally, keep in mind that wildlife such as deer, elk and wild turkeys can be a hazard while driving on the Academy. Please be alert for them and drive carefully. Remember, they have the right-of-way!
If Force Protection Conditions (FPCONs) change due to world events or events closer to home, some scheduled events may change or require additional security precautions for the safety of all our guests. Any event changes will be advertised in local media and on the message boards at the base entry gates.
EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS
If you have a medical, fire or police emergency, please call 911 immediately.
You may reach Academy Security Forces at (719) 333-2000 or 333-4100.
There are several major medical facilities in Colorado Springs to handle medical situations:
Memorial Hospital Central, (719) 365-5000,
Memorial Hospital North, (719) 364-5000,
Penrose-St. Francis, (719) 776-5000 and
St. Francis Medical Center, (719) 571-1000.