|We even walk across campus in lock step|
To get into the USAFA, high school students must not only have the grades, but are also judged on leadership ability, athletics and character. And they must pass a fitness test and medical examination. And then they still need to be nominated, usually by a member of Congress from their home district. Recent incoming classes have about 1,200 cadets
In 1918 a military man began pushing for a separate "aeronautical academy" and a Congressman introduced legislation for one in 1919, but it was not until the 1940s that the idea of an Air Force Academy began to gain traction.
According to the AFA's own website, probably the most controversial event in the Academy's history was the admission of women. That came about because U-M grad and President Gerald R. Ford signed legislation in 1975 allowing women to join the service academies (have you guessed the other two, yet?). The first women entered the AFA in 1976 with the first female graduates in 1980.
* Give up? The other two are the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT and the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY.
Location - Colorado Springs, CO. After considering 580 locations in 45 states, Colorado Springs was chosen in 1954. Located 65 miles south of Denver, Colorado Springs rests over one mile above sea level and has a population of 416,427 according to the last census. It is the second most populous city in Colorado (after Denver) and 41st in the country.
In the past several years, Colorado Springs has been selected the number 1 Best Big City in Money magazine's Best Places to Live and number one in Outside magazines list of America's Best Cities.
On an interesting aside note: Colorado Springs is one of the most active lightning strike areas in the United States. This led Nikola Tesla to select Colorado Springs as the place to build his lab and study electricity.
Nickname - Falcons (also Fighting Falcons). According to the AFA official website, "Members of the Class of 1959, the first to enter the Academy, chose the falcon as the mascot of the cadet wing Sept. 25, 1955, feeling that it best characterized the combat role of the U.S. Air Force. They did not specify any particular species, thus, any falcon can serve as mascot."
|Attack! Just kidding|
From the AFA website: "Falconry is one of the extracurricular activities offered to cadets. There are usually 12 falconers, with four chosen from each new class at the end of the year to replace graduating seniors."
Colors - Blue and Silver. KYF has always liked Air Force's colors, although that could just be some sort of hometown bias because it reminds us of the Detroit Lions (the new winning Lions, not the crappy losers we grew up with).
|Same as it ever was|
Logo/Helmet - While they're called the Falcons, Air Force has pretty much used the same blue lightning bolt helmet design since the 1950s with only slight variations. While it may be pretty basic and even somewhat confusing due to the Falcon as the mascot, the consistency moves the helmets up a couple notches higher than it probably would be otherwise. KYF is a sucker for tradition.
Sadly, KYF believes that the Air Force logo - an interlocking block A and F - pretty much sucks. It looks like it's something inspired by a guy on a deadline who just came from a Dodger game. Lame. I mean, for guys training to fly planes faster than the speed of sound, surely somebody could come up with and design a better logo. Get on it, General Dynamics.
|Is this Abercrombie & Fitch?|
Fight Song - The U.S. Air Force is the official song of the Air Force Academy. Yet while the name is pretty unoriginal, the song is pretty sweet. It was written in 1939 and is often referred to as "Into the Wild Blue Yonder" or simply "Wild Blue Yonder." It took forty years for the Chief of Staff of the Air Force to adopt it as the official song in 1979.
Academics - According to the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking, the Air Force Academy is the #33 National Liberal Arts College (personally, I would have thought it would be a little higher). And while Gerald Ford may have opened up the school to women, it is still 79% dudes. The acceptance rate is only 13.1%.
Athletics - All cadets take part in the school's athletic department, be it intramural or intercollegiate. On the intercollegiate side, the Falcons field 17 men's teams and 10 women's teams. While the football team competes in the Mountain West Conference, most people think of Air Force's rivalry with the two other main service academies, Army and Navy, for the Commander-in-Chief trophy.
Air Force has done the best job taking home the coveted trophy, winning it 18 of the 34 times it has been contested.
And the best NCAA team fielded by the cadets? The boxing team which has won the national championship a staggering 18 times and never finished lower than 2nd in the nation until 2008 (when it took 3rd).
|Cats in the cradle, not the cockpit|
The Game - After the utter beat down in the season opener, this is a very tricky game for Michigan: its ego - and seemingly half its starters - are pretty banged up. However, KYF believes Brady Hoke has the same ability that Bo and Lloyd had in getting their players to bounce back from tough defeats early in the season. Denard bounces back big time.
MICHIGAN - 30
AIR FORCE - 14