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US Air Force Academy

US Air Force Academy Logo

HISTORY: The United States Air Force Academy is the youngest of the service academies. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a congressional bill establishing the Air Force Academy on April 1, 1954. With his signature, President Eisenhower initiated a chain of events that, over the years, has produced one of the leading military and academic institutions in the country. In choosing the location, the selection committee took the advice of West Point and Annapolis representatives who suggested the Academy have an area large enough to accommodate cadet training and future expansion. Other criteria for the site included natural beauty, a variety of local educational, religious, cultural and recreational facilities as well as proximity to large cities. After considering 580 proposed sites in 45 states, Secretary of the Air Force Harold E. Talbott chose the present site on June 14, 1954. The Academy's first class of 306 cadets was sworn in less than a month later, and training began at the Academy's temporary site at Lowry AFB while the permanent site was being constructed. In the fall of 1958, members of the cadet wing marched through the north gate to the cadet area. Construction of Academy buildings continued around the cadets while they pursued their academic and military studies. The first class of 207 history-making cadets graduated on June 3, 1959. In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson authorized a student increase in the Cadet Wing from 2,529 to 4,417. The first class of cadets to include women entered in 1976 and graduated in 1980. Legislation passed in 1991 which required the number of students to drop to 4,000.