Cadet Wing accepts Class of 2026
Cadets march in formation during the Acceptance Day 2022 parade. (U.S. Air Force photo/Trevor Cokley)
By Staff Sgt. Seth Stang
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – The U.S. Air Force Academy accepted the Class of 2026 into the Cadet Wing with a ceremony at Stillman Parade Field on Aug. 5.
The ceremony, called Acceptance Day, marks the end of Basic Cadet Training (BCT) which includes six weeks of mental, physical and military training. During the ceremony, cadets marched in parade formation and received their fourth-class shoulder boards, signifying their acceptance into the Cadet Wing. Successfully completing BCT is one of the first steps cadets take toward earning a commission as an Air Force or Space Force officer.
The Academy Admissions office reported that 1,071 cadet trainees arrived on June 23 for In-processing Day beginning their immersion into Academy life.
Retired Brig. Gen. John Andrew, a 1976 Academy graduate, spoke to cadets at the Acceptance Day 2022 ceremony as he represented the Class of 2026’s “Legacy Class”. (U.S. Air Force photo/Trevor Cokley)
The Academy assigns each graduating class a Legacy Class that graduated 50 years prior to their own graduation.
“Today we celebrate your grit in completing Basic Cadet Training,” said Andrew. “This is the end of the beginning of your Cadet careers. In the ensuing years you will take on more responsibilities, not just for yourself but also for others.”
“Don’t be that person who looks back on their life and regrets the things they wish they’d done,” Andrew continued. “Always choose the hard right over the easy wrong because success in life is the result of effort and attitude. You control both at every waking moment. The future may sound daunting, but it is also rewarding.”
Class of 2026 demographics
The Academy admitted cadets from every state along with 16 international students. The class includes 301 women, which accounts for 28.5 percent of the class, and 754 men, 71.5 percent of the class.
— 850 cadets are Caucasian, 169 are Asian, 142 are Hispanic, 117 are two or more races, 112 are African American, 30 are Pacific Islanders, 28 are American Indians or Alaskan Natives and six are of unknown race.
The Class of 2026 includes 54 sons and 31 daughters of service academy graduates, 6.6 percent of the class. Forty-one men and 21 women are sons and daughters of U.S. Air Force Academy graduates. Both parents of six men and two women in the Class of 2026 attended the Academy.
— 165 cadets graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School.
— Six men and three women are the children of U.S. Military Academy graduates.
— Six men and five women are the children of U.S. Naval Academy graduates.
— One cadet is the son of a U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduate and two cadets are the daughters of U.S. Merchant Marine Academy graduates.
— 166 cadets are first-generation college students; 131 cadets are from single-parent homes and 52 cadets are prior enlisted service members.
— 244 cadets are recruited athletes.
A cadet embraces a member of their family during Acceptance Day. (U.S. Air Force photo/Trevor Cokley)
The average high school GPA of the class is 3.9.
Check out the Flicker album to see photographs from Acceptance Day 2022.