United States Air Force Academy

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Welcome Parents and Guests

Graduation 2018 Guest Information

The event is an exciting time for cadets, their families 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 2018 graduation ceremony will be available May 14. Tickets may be picked up by the public in person at:
    – The Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC office,102 S. Tejon St., Suite 430, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
    – The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, EDC and Visitor Center, 166 Second St. in Monument, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
    A maximum of five tickets are 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
    Schedule for Squadrons 1-20
    SQ CEREMONY LOCATION TIME
    1 Air Academy High Auditorium 4:00 p.m.
    2 Memorial Wall (F-1 backup) 4:00 p.m.
    3 Holaday Athletic Center (HAC) 1:00 p.m.
    4 Memorial Wall (H-2 backup) 1:00 p.m.
    5 Carlton House 4:00 p.m.
    6 Officer’s Club – West Ballroom 7:00 p.m.
    7 Arnold Hall Theater 1:00 p.m.
    8 B-52 (H-1 backup) 1:00 p.m.
    9 Clune Arena (Basketball Court) 4:00 p.m.
    10 Clune Arena (Basketball Court) 7:00 p.m.
    11 Officer’s Club – West Ballroom 4:00 p.m.
    12 Officer’s Club – East Ballroom 1:00 p.m.
    13 Base Theater (Community Center) 1:00 p.m.
    14 Class Wall (F-1 backup) 1:00 p.m.
    15 Polaris Hall 1:00 p.m.
    16 Midfield Hangar (Airfield) 4:00 p.m.
    17 Airfield Ground Training Facility 1:00 p.m.
    18 Clune Arena (Basketball Court) 1:00 p.m.
    19 Cadet Lodge/Lawrence Paul Pavilion 1:00 p.m.
    20 Arnold Hall Ballroom 1:00 p.m.

    Printable Commissioning Ceremonies Schedule

    Schedule for Squadrons 21-40
    SQ CEREMONY LOCATION TIME
    21 Arnold Hall Ballroom 7:00 p.m.
    22 Doolittle Hall 7:00 p.m.
    23 Air Gardens (Exemplar Hall backup) 4:00 p.m.
    24 FAC Athletic Department Auditorium 1:00 p.m.
    25 Officer’s Club – East Ballroom 4:00 p.m.
    26 B-52 (F-1 backup @ 1900) 4:00 p.m.
    27 Officer’s Club – West Ballroom 1:00 p.m.
    28 Polaris Hall / Haps (Reception) 4:00 p.m.
    29 Polaris Hall 7:00 p.m.
    30 Arnold Hall Ballroom 4:00 p.m.
    31 Arnold Hall Theater 4:00 p.m.
    32 Otis House 4:00 p.m.
    33 Doolittle Hall 4:00 p.m.
    34 Honor Court (D-2 backup) 1:00 p.m.
    35 Midfield Hangar (Airfield) 1:00 p.m.
    36 Arnold Hall Theater 7:00 p.m.
    37 Airfield Ground Training Facility 4:00 p.m.
    38 Air Gardens (Exemplar Hall backup) 1:00 p.m.
    39 Class Wall (H-1 backup) 4:00 p.m.
    40 Doolittle Hall 1:00 p.m.
  • 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 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.

    Note: Both north and south gates will be open at 6:00 a.m. to guests on graduation day for travel to the stadium. People using the south gate should expect considerable delays due to road construction along the way. Plan accordingly, or use the north gate to avoid delays.
    Graduation Week Maps
    Graduation Week Shuttle Service

    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 Tuesday 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.

    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 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 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.

  • Falcon Stadium Entry Policies

    Early arrival is highly suggested. North and south gates open for visitors at 6:00 a.m. People using the south gate should expect considerable delays due to road construction along the way. Plan accordingly, or use the north gate to avoid delays. 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 of obscene or indecent clothing.
  • 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.

    There are other opportunities to view the ceremony online. Visit www.defensetv.com or www.dvidshub.net/webcast/11392 for full coverage of the event.

  • 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 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

  • 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 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.

  • SECURITY
    SECURITY

    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.

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

    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.