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United States Air Force Academy

The United States Air Force Academy - located in Colorado Springs, Colorado - is an accredited four-year university for the undergraduate education of future officers in the United States Air Force. Its mission is to inspire and develop outstanding young men and women to become Air Force officers with knowledge, character, and discipline; motivated to lead the world's greatest aerospace forc in service to the nation. The history of the Air Force Academy dates back to 1954, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill authorizing establishment of the academy. The first students were enrolled in July 1955, in a temporary building at Lowry Air Force Base, Denver. Even though, the construction of the present site was begun the same year, it would take another three years before the Cadet Wing could move into its permanent home. Less than a year later the Academy recieved accreaditation. The first batch of students was graduated next year, in 1959. During the Vietnam War, the academy became the site for protests by anti-war demonstrators. During that war, 141 Air Force officers died, and 32 officers became prisoners of war. The first women to enter the rolls of the academy came in June 1976,when President Gerald R. Ford signed legislation Oct. 7, 1975, permitting women to enter the nation's military academies. They subsequently graduated in June 1980. The United States Air Force Academy campus spans an area of 18,500 acres on the east side of the Rampart Range of the Rocky Mountains. The academy was designed by the world-renowned architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. The cadets were housed in two dormitories - Vandenberg Hall and Sijan Hall. Fairchild Hall - the cadet academic building named after General Muir S. Fairchild - contains classrooms, labs, and faculty/staff offices as well as the Robert F. McDermott Library. Mitchell Hall covers 1.7 acres of dining area and is named after airpower pioneer Brigadier General William "Billy" Mitchell. The auditorium, ballroom, conference rooms, restaurant, and historical displays are inside the Arnold Hall. In addition to the academic programs, the Air Force Academy also has athletic fields covering about 143 acres, which include 18 football fields, 13 soccer fields, and 10 flickerball fields. The Cadet Fieldhouse includes the Clune Arena, used for basketball, boxing, and public speaking events. The five-story tall Cadet gym contains three basketball courts, two pools, 19 racquetball courts, weight rooms, four tennis courts, and offices. The Cadet Chapel is generally considered to be among the most aesthetically beautiful buildings on the academy campus. The USAFA library system consists of the McDermott Library, the Base Library, a professional Medical Library, Audio-Visual Library, and departmental collections. The displays and memorials on campus include The War Memorial, The Honor Wall, The Class Wall, and The Eagle and Fledglings Statue. Other points of interest are Doolittle Hall - the headquarters of the USAFA Association of Graduates, Goldwater Visitors Center, Falcon Stadium - the home of Air Force Academy football, and the The United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School. The academy gives emphasis to academics, military training, athletic conditioning, and spiritual and ethical development. The cadets complete their bachelor's degrees in a variety of subjects including the basic sciences, engineering, humanities, social sciences, and military art and science. They are allowed to specialize in any of 30 academic majors and 4 minors. Along with it, the physical education program consists of mandatory courses and electives ranging from judo to SCUBA. Upon completion of the four-year program, graduates receive a Bachelor of Science degree and are normally commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the United States Air Force.