United States Air Force Academy

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

United States Air Force Academy

United States Air Force Academy, at Colorado Springs, Colo.; for training young men and women to be officers in the U.S. air force; authorized in 1954 by Congress. Temporary quarters were opened at the former Lowry Air Force Base at Denver in 1955, and the permanent campus opened in 1958. The academy began admitting women in 1975 and they now make up some 13% of the cadet corps.

Candidates must be between 17 and 22 years old and meet special physical and educational qualifications. An applicant must obtain a nomination to be considered for an appointment to the academy. The sources of nomination are the President of the United States; the Vice President; U.S. Senators and Representatives; and the representatives of the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories. Special appointment categories include children of deceased and disabled veterans or of career military personnel, foreign students, regular U.S. air force, U.S. air force reserve, honor graduates of military and naval schools and ROTC, and children of Medal of Honor recipients. Approximately 4,000 cadets are enrolled in the four-year course of instruction that leads to a bachelor's degree and a position of second lieutenant. The curriculum includes standard academic subjects as well as military training, flight instruction, and athletics. Cadets receive free tuition and room and board and a monthly allotment to pay for supplies, clothing, and personal expenses.

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