Today in History – August 29, 1958 – United States Air Force Academy opens in Colorado Springs

29 August 1958 – The academy’s permanent site had not yet been completed when the first class entered, so the 306 cadets from the Class of 1959 were sworn in at a temporary site at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver on 11 July 1955.[20] While at Lowry, they were housed in renovated World War II barracks.[21] There were no upper-class cadets to train the new cadets, so the Air Force appointed a cadre of “Air Training Officers” (ATOs) to conduct training. The ATOs were junior officers, many of whom were graduates of West Point, Annapolis, VMI, and The Citadel. They acted as surrogate upper-class cadets until the upper classes could be populated over the next several years.[14] The academy’s dedication ceremony took place on that first day and was broadcast live on national television, with Walter Cronkite covering the event.[14] Arnold W. Braswell, a native of Minden, Louisiana, was commander of the original four cadet squadrons at the academy 1955 to 1958.[22]

“I’m ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille!”

In developing a distinctive uniform for cadets, the Air Force turned to Hollywood. Famed director Cecil B. DeMille designed the cadet parade uniform; it is still worn by cadets today.[23]

The Class of 1959 established many other important traditions that continue until the present. The first class adopted the Cadet Honor Code and chose the falcon as the Academy’s mascot. On 29 August 1958, the wing of 1,145 cadets moved to the present site near Colorado Springs,[24] and less than a year later the Academy received accreditation. The first USAFA class graduated and was commissioned on 3 June 1959.[9][25]

Source: Wikipedia

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