United States Air Force Academy

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Welcome Parents and Guests

Graduation 2019 Guest Information

The event is an exciting time for cadets, familiy, and guests. The information provided is to assist you with planning your visit for graduation week. Please review the information so you can coordinate the visit with your cadet.
  • Printable Attachments and Other Resources
  • GRADUATION CEREMONY TICKETS
    TICKETS AVAILABLE TO FAMILY AND GUESTS

    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.

    TICKETS AVAILABLE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC

    Approximately 600 free tickets for the Academy’s Class of 2019 graduation ceremony will be available Thursday, May 9. Tickets may be picked up by the general public in person at the following locations:

    • The Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC office, 102 S. Tejon St., Suite 430, in Colorado Springs, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday.
    • The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, EDC and Visitor Center, 166 Second St. in Monument, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday.

    A maximum of four tickets will be available to each person on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets cannot be mailed and there is no will-call at the stadium. Lost tickets cannot be replaced.

  • COMMISSIONING CEREMONIES SCHEDULE
    SQ Ceremony Location 1:30 4:30 7:30
    1

    Holaday Athletic Center

    X    
    2

    Memorial Wall (D-1 backup)

      X  
    3

    Eisenhower Club

      X  
    4

    Clune Arena B-Ball Ct

      X  
    5

    Carlton House

    2:30    
    6

    Polaris Hall

      X  
    7

    Arnold Hall Ballroom

      X  
    8

    B-52 (H-2 backup)

    X    
    9

    Class Wall

      X  
    10

    Arnold Hall Theater

    X    
    11

    Falcon Club-West

      X  
    12

    H-1

      X  
    13

    Class Wall (H-1 backup)

    X    
    14

    Falcon Club (East Ballroom)

        X
    15

    Doolittle Hall

      X  
    16

    H-2

      X  
    17

    Doolittle Hall

    X    
    18

    Clune Arena B-Ball Ct

    X    
    19

    Ground Training Facility

    12:00    
    20

    Arnold Hall Ballroom

        X
    SQ Ceremony Location 1:30 4:30 7:30
    21

    F-1

      X  
    22

    F-1

        X
    23 Air Gardens (D-2 backup) X    
    24 Polaris Hall X    
    25 Falcon Club– East Ballroom   X  
    26 Falcon Club-East Ballroom X    
    27 Thunderbird Overlook (H-1 backup) X    
    28 Air Academy High Auditorium   X  
    29 Officer’s Club – West Ballroom X    
    30 Arnold Hall Ballroom X    
    31 Arnold Hall Theater   X  
    32 F-1 X    
    33 Memorial Wall (D-1 backup) X    
    34 Falcon Club – West Ballroom     X
    35 Polaris Hall     X
    36 Arnold Hall Theater     X
    37 Ground Training Facility   X  
    38 Air Gardens (D-2 backup)   X  
    39 Ground Training Facility     X
    40 Holaday Athletic Center   X  
  • PARKING AND TRANSPORTATION
    GETTING AROUND THE ACADEMY

    Please plan to arrive early for all Graduation Week events, especially the Graduation Parade and Graduation Ceremony. On graduation day, high volumes of vehicular traffic are expected and traffic wait times can exceed 1 hour, so please plan accordingly. 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 accessible 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.

    PARKING AND SHUTTLES

    PARKING: Parking for events in or near the Cadet Area is at 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 Wednesday before the Graduation Parade. 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.
    Shuttle service maps are available here.

    CAN I PARK MY RV IN THE STADIUM PARKING LOT

    The shuttle buses will only run from the Field House parking lots to various locations in the cadet area on Thursday (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 lot 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.

    SHUTTLE TRANSPORTATION 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.

    Shuttle service maps are available here.

  • Falcon Stadium Entry Policies

    Heightened security requirements at Falcon Stadium are expected to cause delays in getting individuals into the Stadium, so please plan accordingly. North and south gates open for visitors at 6:00 a.m. Tickets are required for all individuals, including children. All persons and personal belongings entering the stadium are subject to search. Guests may be asked to step through magnetometers and may have bags, purses and other hand-carried items manually searched. We are not responsible for any items left at the gates or trash receptacles. No re-entry is permitted once the
    ceremony begins, guests may not depart the stadium until following the Thunderbirds performance. No tailgating is permitted following the ceremony.

    PERMITTED ITEMS IN FALCON STADIUM
    • Food is permitted, but must be displayed in a transparent 1-gallon zip lock bag. Note: Only (1) one-gallon
      transparent zip lock bag per ticket holder
    • Sunscreen is permitted, but is restricted to a 6 ounce tube or less. (Sorry, no bottles or aerosol spray)
    • Factory-sealed transparent soft plastic water bottles, 24 oz. or less is the only beverage permitted. Note:
      Exceptions will be made for medical conditions and infants.
    PROHIBITED Items in Falcon Stadium
    • Illegal substances: Note – Marijuana is an illegal substance on Federal property
    • Weapons: Firearms, knives, box cutters, scissors, etc.
    • Alcohol, glass containers, bottles/cans, aerosol sprays, hard sided (or Nalgene) plastic bottles
    • No hand bags larger than (12” x 12” x 12”). No hard-sided containers, or coolers
    • No backpacks to include bota bags, wine-skins, and camelbacks
    • Note: Infant diaper bags/carrier packs permitted if infant is present
    • Laser pointers, fireworks, or any item deemed unsafe by security personnel
    • Any unapproved banners/signs (No signs larger than 18” x 24”)
    • PETS: (Other than ADA Compliant Service Animals)
    • No sticks, bats, poles, umbrellas, footballs, frisbees, or inflatable balls
    • Artificial noisemakers of any kind
    • Baby seats or large strollers (Collapsible strollers are permitted)
    • Any item that cannot be readily inspected
    • No flash photography
    • No Smoking or Tobacco of any kind (Includes electronic cigarettes)
    • No seatbacks wider than 19 inches (no excessive pockets or protruding arm rests)
    • NOTE: There is no available storage of prohibited items. Please take back to your vehicle
    Fan Code of Conduct

    The following behavior will not be tolerated and may lead to automatic ejection

    • Behavior that is unruly, disruptive or illegal in nature.
    • Intoxication or signs of alcohol/substance impairment that results in irresponsible behavior.
    • Foul, obscene, offensive or abusive language, gestures or actions.
    • Throwing any object onto the field or in the venue premises.
    • Fighting, or verbal/ physical harassment
    • Any action that threatens the safety of others
    • Wearing obscene or indecent clothing.
  • SECURITY
    SECURITY

    BASE ENTRY: Throughout Grad Week, guests may enter the base via the North Gate by showing a driver’s license or a military ID. Standard base visitor hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. However, during Grad Week, the North Gate will be open to allow guests to enter the base for early or late events. North Gate times are as follows: 25 May 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 26 May, 6:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. 27 May, 6:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. 28 May, 6:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. 29 May, 6:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. 30 May, 6:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. A DOD ID card or base visitor pass is required to enter the South Gate and the secure areas of the base (see attached map). All vehicles entering the base are subject to inspection/search by security personnel and you may be asked to show proof of insurance, a valid vehicle registration and a rental car agreement. Guests should refrain from bringing large bags, coolers, backpacks or other items that will require additional scrutiny or searches from security personnel. The South Gate will be open for guests on graduation day for travel to the stadium.
    On graduation day, high volumes of vehicular traffic are expected and traffic wait times can exceed 1 hour, so please plan accordingly.

    PARKING: Parking for events on Tuesday and Wednesday of Graduation Week is in the Cadet Field House, Parade Field and Cadet Parking Lots. Shuttle buses will run from these parking areas to locations throughout the Cadet Area. All parking for the Graduation Ceremony on Thursday is at Falcon Stadium.

    CADET AREA ACCESS: Guests must be escorted by a cadet or USAFA staff with a Cadet Area Badge while in the Cadet Area. Guests should not bring large bags or backpacks into the Cadet Area; bags will be searched at the bus stops and at the parades, potentially delaying your arrival at your destination.

    EVENTS IN SECURE AREAS OF THE BASE: For Graduation Week events taking place outside of the immediate Cadet Area or after visitor hours, all non-DOD guests must be escorted through the entry control point by a DOD ID card holder. These events include any held at The Carlton House (e.g., Commissioning Ceremonies). We recommend cadets meet their non-DOD guests either off base or at the Field House in order to carpool and/or caravan to their destination. DOD ID cardholders, including civilian, military cadets and base contractors, can vouch for non-DOD affiliated people in the car which they are traveling and one additional vehicle. Plan to arrive early for Grad Week activities in order to give yourself sufficient time to get through security to your event location.

    HANDICAPPED: USAFA does not issue handicapped or special parking passes, so please bring your own handicapped placard in order to access the Cadet Area handicapped lot (immediately north of Stillman Parade Field) and handicapped parking at the stadium on Graduation day. Handicapped shuttles will operate throughout the Cadet Area during Grad Week.

    GENERAL BASE DRIVING INFO: Please make sure to follow all posted speed limits when driving on the base. Note that seatbelts 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 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 widely publicized in local media, on our Graduation Website and throughout the base.

    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

    Please review the Security Procedures for Graduation Week and the Stadium Entrance Policies.

  • CEREMONY VIEWING

    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.

  • WIFI Available During Grad Week

    Free WiFi will be available across a large part of the installation for all graduate’s family, friends, and guests during graduation events. “USAFANet” will be available from 17-31 May. Important Note: It will only be available at current WiFi access points at the Academy. That means there WILL BE NO WIFI ACCESS IN FALCON STADIUM.

  • 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
    http://www.VisitCOS.com

    Rampart Lodge, USAFA’s military lodging facility, (719) 333-4910
    http://www.usafaservices.com/travel-lodging/rampart-lodge

    LOCAL SHOPPING

    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 U.S. Air Force Academy to meet your needs. Academy Boulevard, easily accessed from the South Gate of the Academy, offers retail stores, groceries, services, dining and entertainment establishments, all within minutes of the base.

    USAFA RECREATIONAL FACILITIES

    We’re pleased to offer you and your family the opportunity to use U.S. Air Force 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, Dominoes, and Wing Zone) – (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

  • 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.

    WEATHER

    With guests coming from so many diverse locations 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 notification to seek shelter will be broadcast over the Giant Voice System, 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.