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‘We’ve got this’: Cadet Wing commander thanks parents, grads

Cadet 1st Class Haeley Deeney (right), Air Force Academy Cadet Wing commander, and Brig. Gen. Michele Edmondson, the school’s commandant of cadets.

Commentary by Cadet 1st Class Haeley Deeney, Air Force Academy Cadet Wing commander, April 3, 2020

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Having dealt with myriad uncertainties over the past two weeks, I asked Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, the superintendent of the Air Force Academy, if I could draft a letter to both parents and grads to let them know the cadet mindset and truth of our current situation.

We are immensely grateful for your love and support over the past four years. We could not have made it this far alone and we will continue to rely on your words of encouragement throughout these trying times. With that being said, we would like to address something that has unfortunately become a problem in light of recent events, and that is the proliferation of rumors and negative or otherwise harmful posts and comments on the parents pages and grad sites. Not only is this spread of false information in direct conflict with the dissemination of real-time, accurate updates, but detrimental to the mental and emotional health of the Cadet Wing. As the cadet and permanent party leadership team exhausts all efforts to take care of the wing, our jobs have been made more difficult combating rumors and dealing with the aftereffects of hasty social media posts.

In the next two weeks leading up to graduation, we would like to ask for your trust in our leadership team and trust that all decisions are made with the safety and well-being of the cadets as a driving factor. Now, more than ever, we need support and thoughtful comments from all parties.

We have done everything in our power to keep the threat of COVID-19 at a bare minimum. Rest assured that cadets and faculty alike are working together to develop the best solutions in this fluid environment caused by an ever-changing virus, while also taking into account the tragedy of losing two of our own. As we balance the pressures of COVID-19 and the current state of the wing, we have decided to expedite the class of 2020’s graduation, pushing the date up by six weeks to 18 April. The reason behind an early graduation is to commission our class while we are still healthy; this will also open up the door to future options with the completion of our mission. Please keep our safety in mind as the date draws closer. Families traveling to Colorado Springs, in hopes of seeing their new lieutenants, could result in our entire community falling sick.

In short, we ask you to stand behind us as the Class of 2020. Our target is finally in sight, and we will be home soon.