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Visiting the U.S. Air Force Academy and Chapel in Colorado Springs

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado

U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Top Tourist Attraction

The United States Air Force Academy is one of the top tourist destinations for people visiting Colorado Springs, and after seeing it, I can understand the reasons why. My mother and I visited the site on two different occasions and enjoyed both of our visits there.

Colorado Springs was determined to be the location of the youngest of five United States service academies, and the first class of cadets graduated in 1959.

The campus buildings overall are of a very sleek and modern design with the amazing chapel as a focal point of interest. On April 1, 2004, the cadet area was named a National Historic Landmark.

Taken on Air Force Academy grounds, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Taken on Air Force Academy grounds, Colorado Springs, Colorado

The Campus and Athletics

There are 18,000 acres (73 km) making up this Air Force Academy campus. Elevation is 7,258 (2,212 m) above sea level. The grounds are extensive and contain 57 athletic fields using up 140 acres on this site.

Since all cadets not only have to pass a rigorous physical exam to be admitted to the Air Force Academy but must also enroll in athletics during all four years of their attendance, there is much offered to meet those needs. According to Sports Illustrated, the Air Force Academy is "the most athletic school in the country." You name the type of sport, and it is probably provided there. Their Clune Arena seats 6,000 people.

The Peregrine Falcon is the Air Force Academy mascot.

Admission and Academics

The U.S. Air Force Academy is an accredited institution of higher learning providing undergraduate degrees in a variety of subjects. The primary intent is to graduate commissioned officers to serve in our military for a while if not for an entire career. The ratios of students to faculty are eight to one.

One must be nominated by a member of Congress, a senator, the Vice President of the United States or a highly placed person in the military to be considered for admission and meet high standards intellectually, morally and physically.

If accepted, the U.S. government pays the cadets tuition, room, and board and even provides a monthly stipend. In return, after graduating the newly commissioned officer agrees to serve in the armed forces for a set period in return for all he/she has been given.

According to the latest statistics, the acceptance rate of applicants for the years 2017 - 2018 was 11%. So while it may not be easy to get admitted to the Air Force Academy or the other service institutions, one can be assured that if one is accepted, one will exit with proper education and great opportunities that lie ahead.

Mock up of a typical cadet's room on display

Mock up of a typical cadet's room on display

Cadet Honor Code

Inscribed on an exterior wall was the following: "We will not lie, steal and or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does."

Added to the following and recited by all freshman cadets after passing basic training (since 1984) is the following: "Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and to live honorably, so help me God."

Cadets marching on the grounds at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Cadets marching on the grounds at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The Air Force Academy Chapel

Undoubtedly the most striking feature plus iconic symbol on the U.S. Air Force Academy grounds is the chapel. The lead architect was Walter Netsch of the firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. Some describe the exterior as looking like an "accordion" shaped building. Others interpret it as a grouping of fighter pilot airplanes lined up facing skyward.

When first walking into the Air Force Chapel, the most significant open space on that level is for the Protestants with accommodations for about 1,300 of them.

The lighting from the stained glass on either side of the folded design going up to the ceiling offers different arrays of glittering light depending upon the time of day and weather conditions outside.

On a lower level, there is seating for 500 Catholics and 100 Jewish cadets. Undoubtedly this is a typical statistical ratio of religious preference out of a large group of cadets attending the academy, thus the discrepancy in the amount of seating to accommodate them.

Other arrangements have since been made to meet the spiritual needs of cadets from different religions.

Arnold Hall

A place that we visited with great interest is Arnold Hall, which is a museum honoring Air Force personnel. It is worth spending some time there.

Hopefully, my photos and the other pictures and videos inserted give one an idea of the large campus and surroundings that the cadets enjoy while attending that institution. I would highly recommend a visit if you are ever in Colorado Springs.

Air Force Academy grounds - Visitors can picnic in this area and some were taking advantage of this beautiful outdoor setting.

Air Force Academy grounds - Visitors can picnic in this area and some were taking advantage of this beautiful outdoor setting.

History of The Air Force

The Army and what is now known as the Air Force used to be combined. When it was determined that the flying aspect of the military merited its branch of the service, the National Security Act of 1947 first brought the Air Force into being.

Dwight D. Eisenhower headed the service academy board in 1950. Congress took action to pass legislation in 1954 to begin construction for this new branch of service and then President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law.

I was very interested in reading that Charles Lindbergh was on the advisory committee to determine the site for the new service academy. The reason? My dad's father (who died when my dad was only seven years of age) knew Charles Lindbergh personally, according to my grandmother. My grandfather was in World War 1 and had flown on those early versions of airplanes.

United States Air Force Academy

My dad often proudly sang this song.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 15, 2016:

Thanks Robert. Will keep that in mind if I decide to search for it.

Robert Sacchi on May 15, 2016:

It was probably an early to mid- 1960s movie for what it's worth.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 15, 2016:

Hi Robert,

That would have been a fun movie for me to see. Perhaps I will tumble upon it someday. At least I know one was made concerning that period of time and subject matter. Thanks for the info.

Robert Sacchi on May 15, 2016:

Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the movie or any of the actors.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 14, 2016:

Hi Robert,

I am sure that many young men were disappointed when that pilot program was disbanded during WWII as was my father. I never saw that comedic movie. Do you remember the name of it?

Robert Sacchi on May 11, 2016:

Nice pictures, good overview of an Academy tour. I believe they made a movie, a comedy, about your father's experience. It was about a bunch of men being trained to be pilots but the program were terminated and instead of being commissioned they were made to serve out their time as buck privates.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 20, 2014:

Hi Shyron,

Hope you get a chance to see it someday as it is very impressive. Many or our WWII vets came home not talking about what they had seen during that war. Thanks for your votes and the share.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 19, 2014:

Hi Au fait,

This Air Force chapel is so unique in structure and definitely a good place to visit if one has the time when in Colorado Springs. Nice to see the area where our young men and women train also. Thanks for the votes and shares.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on July 18, 2014:

Peggy, I love all your pictures. I have visited Colorado but not the Academy, I would love to visit someday.

My biological father was in WWII, and he never talked about the Army when he came home.

Voted up UABI and shared.

Have a blessed night.

Shyron

C E Clark from North Texas on July 18, 2014:

Another place I have never been despite circling the state of Colorado numerous times and living there for 2 years. The chapel looks beautiful and you have amazing photos as usual. Looks like a great place to visit while on summer vacation. Gave you 5 more stars, voted up and interesting/awesome. Pinned to my 'Travel' board and will share with followers and on FB.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 02, 2013:

Hi moonlake,

The Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs is certainly a beautiful campus and that chapel is such a striking architectural building that it really makes a statement. Hope that you get to see it in person someday. Thanks for the vote up and the share.

moonlake from America on May 01, 2013:

How neat I would like to see the academy will share this. Like always great pictures. Voted up.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 23, 2012:

Hi John,

So glad to be able to inform you about the U.S. Air Force Academy. Thanks for the appreciative remark about the photos. We were in awe of the chapel architecture! Thanks for your comment.

John Sarkis from Winter Haven, FL on May 23, 2012:

Hi Peggy, and what an excellent and informative hub this is. I had no idea of any of this. Sounds like a great place to vacation. By the way, awesome photos.

Voted up and away

John

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 13, 2010:

Hi Springboard,

Glad that you liked this hub about the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Happy to hear that your sister came back from her tour in Iraq/Kuwait OK. She deserves much credit for her service to our country!

Springboard from Wisconsin on August 13, 2010:

Excellent hub, and one more for the troops. :) My sister is an ex-Air Force staff seargant. She was in 10 years and did a 6 month tour in Iraq/Kuwait with the 47th Combat Support, air mobility command.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 08, 2010:

Greeings Hello, hello,

Glad you liked this hub about the Air Force Academy and especially that chapel on the grounds which truly is amazing. Thanks for the comment.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on August 08, 2010:

Fasckinitatin article you wrote there and the pictures, expecially the chapel, were great. Thank you the tour.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 07, 2010:

Hi sarovai,

My memory isn't quite that good! Ha! After vacation trips I would immediately put together photo albums with notations of what was done each day. Would also take daily notes. Without that source of reference I wouldn't be writing hubs like this. Happy to hear that you enjoyed this look at the Colorado Springs U.S. Air Force Academy. Too bad my Dad never got to complete his dream of becoming a pilot. He never lost his fascination with airplanes. Thanks for the comment.

sarovai on August 07, 2010:

After 11years , really you are good in memory. Thank u for the photos you shared and about your dad's dream to be a Airforce Pilot. Airforce academy is a good place to visit.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 06, 2010:

Hello E M Smith,

Looks like more Ethel because of breaking these trip memories into segments. Can elaborate on each segment more that way instead of just listing what was done on an entire vacation. I think that it is more interesting that way...at least I hope so. Yes, the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs is definitely an interesting place to visit. Thanks for visiting via the Internet!

E M Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on August 06, 2010:

You do get about Peggy :) This looks an interesting place to visit

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 06, 2010:

Hi Candie,

Yes, I imagine the security is tighter now after 9/11. And yes, pictures of the chapel cannot really do justice to the beauty of those stained glass windows or even the overall effect.

Your friend's son must have been a great kid to be accepted into the Air Force Academy! We have some friends whose son is in The Citadel. He was not only brilliant but was an Eagle Scout among other things. These service academies only take the brightest and best kids!

Nice that you got to see the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. How is your friend's son doing? Did he make the military a career?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 06, 2010:

Hello msorensson,

Thanks! Enjoyed giving people some idea of just how beautiful the setting is at the Air Force Academy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 06, 2010:

Hello FCEtier,

That chapel on the grounds of the U.S. Air Force Academy certainly makes a statement! It is amazing to see in person but glad that you can get some idea of what it is like in pictures. Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 06, 2010:

Hi Micky Dee,

Thanks for pushing my buttons. Ha! Seriously, I appreciate you reading my hubs like this one about the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, and leaving comments. I agree with you...that chapel is outstanding!

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on August 06, 2010:

WooHoo! Finally somewhere I have been! I have a friend and her son went to the academy in the early 80s and we went to visit him (thinking you can just drop in and say howdy to a new recruit).. Well.. uh not quite. Pre 9/11 you could access the Academy but under the ever watchful eyes of the security.

Your pictures don't do the chapel justice. The grounds are spectacular, but the chapel is breathtaking!! It's almost impossible for a snap to show the stained glass windows well! (Not that you didn't try, mind you!)

Thank you to all who serve! Support you with my whole heart! Thank you Peggy!

msorensson on August 06, 2010:

Awesome. Thanks, Peggy!!

Chip from Cold Mountain on August 06, 2010:

That chapel is impressive! Great photos, too!

Micky Dee on August 06, 2010:

I hit your buttons as always Peggy. It's another beautiful presentation. What a chapel!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 05, 2010:

Hi Billy,

Doesn't matter. Your comment about the B-52 was certainly accurate as having been a big part of U.S. aviation history.

billyaustindillon on August 05, 2010:

Peggy yes I am not sure what Iw as thinking there - getting area 51 and the air force confused maybe :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 05, 2010:

Hi Mike,

As you might imagine, seeing the Air Force Academy Chapel in person is even better than the photos, but as an artist you would know that. I would highly recommend a visit if you go to Colorado Springs. Glad you enjoyed the photos.

Mike Lickteig from Lawrence KS USA on August 05, 2010:

I have been to Colorado many times but have never visited the Air Force Academy. The Chapel(s) are quite beautiful and must surely be inspiring to see in person. And, of course, the mountains in the background make me long to return to Colorado sometime soon.

Thanks for sharing another great series of photos.

Mike

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 05, 2010:

Hi Billy,

Am sure you meant to say Colorado instead of California. Yes...the Air Force Academy Chapel in Colorado Springs is certainly futuristic! Thanks for rating this hub awesome.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 05, 2010:

Hello eovery,

Since you have visited the U.S. Air Force Academy a couple of times, you know just how lovely it and the surrounding area happens to be in Colorado Springs. Thanks for affirming our impressions and leaving your comment.

billyaustindillon on August 05, 2010:

Another great piece of history Peggy - the B-52 was much apart of U.S. history. It is appropriate it is in high altitude in California. The chapel is very futuristic - rated up awesome!

eovery from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa on August 05, 2010:

I visited there a couple of times. It is a lovely are.

Keep on hubbing!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 05, 2010:

Hi dahoglund,

Glad you enjoyed viewing the photos taken while we visited the U.S. Air Force Academy. It was a definite attraction that my mother and I wanted to see while in Colorado Springs. I haven't visited any of the other service academies so will take your impression as to the formality. The wide open spaces of this one in Colorado surrounded by the Rockies makes it such a beautiful site. Thanks for the first comment.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on August 05, 2010:

Hi Peggy W,

I remember when the Air Force Academy was first established as there were magazine article at the time.What most impressed me was the range of curriculum. The other academies, I understand offer degrees in Engineering but not liberal arts. At least not back then. The Air Force, I think, was the romantic adventure in our day. Now all the services have their own air forces, so it gets confusing.

The Air Force also seems more laid back than the others. You can tell it when you go to one of their installations. You pictures bring out the more modern and somewhat less formal attitude of the Air Force. Nice hub.