USAFA TRADITIONS

CHALLENGE COINS

Your 2019 Spirit Mission goal, as parents of the U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 2019, is to organize spirit missions to honor and recognize our Cadets as they achieve milestones throughout their four years at the Academy. Through your generosity, we have designed and minted four challenge coins for the cadets: Exemplar, Commissioning, Ring Dance, and Graduation. Click HERE to see those coins on their respective Milestone pages. Learn more about challenge coins and what they represent.


COMMISSIONING

The Silver Dollar Salute –

Exciting Announcement from the US Mint – By tradition, the silver dollar is the only coin given in exchange for the first salute. Your newly commissioned officer will render their first salute to an Enlisted military member, Non Commissioned Officer, or a Veteran. While the coin may be just one dollar in denomination, it represents a value far greater. To new officers it may represent the respect found in ones newly earned rank and position. A twist on the thinking for the silver dollar salute is that the new officer must buy his first salute as he has not yet by the nature of his deed alone, earned it! This coin should represent the deep-felt gratitude for the mentor ship and lessons imparted on the Lieutenant before being sent out into the world to embark in the brotherhood and profession of arms. The silver in a true silver dollar really represents the fidelity to a standard and this coin will be a store of value both in the memory it makes, its intrinsic value as a precious metal, and its part in American history.

For 2019, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the first manned landing on the Moon, the US Mint is creating a four-coin program: a curved $5 gold coin, a curved $1 silver coin, a curved half-dollar clad coin, and a curved 5 ounce $1 silver proof coin. These coins will go on sale January 24. 2019.  

The 2019 Silver Eagle Dollar, widely used for the first salute, goes on sale January 10. 2019.

Links for more info and ordering – Click HERE.


GRADUATION

Graduation Parade “Full Circle” 

Background:

In a Doolie’s first summer, the Acceptance Parade marks the successful completion of Basic Cadet Training (BCT or “Beast”). When Doolies finish their BCT within 2 months of their arrival at the Academy in June, the Doolies march together onto the Parade Field and are absorbed, or ACCEPTED, into the Cadet Wing. The newly formed 4,000-plus-strong Cadet Wing leaves the field in unison. The Cadet Wing split into squadrons and each squadron awards its Doolies their first shoulderboards which denotes rank.

Nearly four years later, the Cadet Wing will march in together onto the Parade Grounds for its Graduation Parade, and the members of the graduating class will separate and move toward the stands, leaving their under-classmen at the back of the field. After the change of leadership ceremony and the sheathing of the class color flag, the ¾ Cadet Wing will march in review of the soon-to-be 2LTs and exchange salutes with their squadron mates.

Look for: 

• Listen for the Roll Call numbers. In previous years the 4 Groups will note the number of “Counted and Present” and it will numerate the Class Year. 2.0.1.9. And cheer!!!

• The advancing Firsties form a wedge look as they advance toward the stands. 

• How the squadron flags are dipped to indicate salute as the younger classes pass their former squadron mates as they march off the field. The extra banners/ribbons hanging from the squadron pole plus flag indicate what awards that squadron won thru the year. For ex. Academic, intermurals, military….

Very Subtle:• In the second rank of the color guard, behind the U.S., POW, and Air Force flags are the colors of the four classes at the Academy. On the right, in the position of honor: The class colors are: red, gold, blue, and silver. After the Graduating Class leaves the Cadet Wing, its Class Color flag will be furled and cased in a cover and moved to the farthest right position. At any parades before Acceptance, the cased color will be on the right, still cased, awaiting the acceptance of the next class. At that Acceptance parade, after the incoming class joins the Wing, the class color will be unfurled, symbolic of that class joining the wing. The Class color flag will work its way from left to right, year by year …. It’s a fine tradition that most folks never notice.

Note the rank of the USAFA superintendent. Currently, Gen Silveria is a three-star. When he is on the parade ground, there should be a blue flag with three stars on it behind him. Also, when the AF band plays, it will do three flourishes before commencing with the songs.

 

Hat Toss

After the last cadet gets the diploma, the USAFA Superintendent shouts “Class Dismissed.”  This is the cue for the now 2LTs to throw their white hats into the air and for the Thunderbirds to begin their performance.  Custom has it for the owner of the hat is to place some money or a note in the hat. The children are expected to write the owner of the hats and wish them well. Children ages 7-10 only will be allowed on the Stadium floor to retrieve and keep one hat. The children will be invited about 15 minutes before the end of the roll call to go to certain gates to get on the stadium floor. They might need to be accompanied for an adult. Listen for instructions. Especially where to meet up with your hatted child. Thankfully, the Hat Toss got “fixed.”  One year, big bully boys ran on the field and grabbed hats out of younger ones’ hands just to get the money. Lot of crying on the field. Good photo of a smiling youngster with an over-sized hat.