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Congratulations to US Air Force Academy Class of 2022

Air Force Academy graduation
Thunderbirds Eric Simmons 5.jpeg
Thunderbirds 2021
Thunderbirds 2021
Thunderbirds Kara Marcus.jpg
Air Force Thunderbirds over Colorado Springs
Posted at 1:37 PM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 15:37:15-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Congratulations to the US Air Force Academy Class of 2022!

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III delivered the commencement address and shook the hand of graduates as they received their diplomas on Wednesday.

"Discipline matters. Work hard, master your craft, and stay focused," Austin told the graduates. "As cadets, you are no stranger to putting in the reps and sets it takes to be successful. As lieutenants, I hope that you'll keep up that persistence."

Expect heavy traffic in any areas near the U.S. Air Force Academy on the north side of town due to all the visitors in town, plus people looking for a view of the Thunderbirds' practice and performance.

When the cadets first entered the Air Force Academy in 2018, there were 1,434 of them — 973 made it to graduation.

It's a difficult four years, both physically and emotionally, as these young cadets get prepared to enter the U.S. military while balancing their academics.

Basic Cadet Training is a six-week program to guide Basic Cadets from being civilians to military academy cadets. They have their physical, emotional, and mental limits pushed.

During field day, their teamwork is put to the test through relays, distance races, and tug-of-war.

During the second round of basic training, cadets go to Jack’s Valley, a 3,000-acre rural training area on the Academy where they have their physical limits pushed and are introduced to small unit tactics and guns.

Here are some facts about the class of 2022:

  • There are 713 men and 260 women
  • There are 91 African Americans cadets and 99 Hispanic cadets
  • Four cadets are third-generation Academy cadets
  • 41 cadets are second-generation Academy cadets
  • Some of these cadets already have their assignments after graduation
  • 417 cadets are going to pilot training and 94 cadets are joining the Space Force

It isn't just the physical work that's really hard for these cadets. They also must keep up with a tough academic schedule. The average grade point average is 3.8.

Learn more about the events at the US Air Force Academy website.

Road Closures:

Closures include the Santa Fe Trail and roads under the show area, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. May 24, and 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on May 25. Closures include:

  • Stadium Boulevard from Pine Drive to North Gate Boulevard
  • Community Center Drive from Stadium Boulevard to E. Douglass Drive
  • Academy Drive from Stadium Boulevard to Lot 6
  • The Santa Fe Trail from Tri-intersection Bridge to Parade Loop

For public safety, drivers are reminded not to stop along Interstate 25 or any roads on the Academy to watch any of the Thunderbird performances.

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