Photos of U.S. Air Force Academy and Chapel in Colorado Springs

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

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

In July of 1999, my mother and I spent eleven glorious days in the State of Colorado. We were to visit the United States Air Force Academy on two different occasions and the photos that I took on those days will reflect differences in the lighting and clouds.

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 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.



U.S. Air Force Song - I heard this often proudly sung by my Dad.

A bit of family history...

The Army and what is now known as the Air Force used to be combined.

During World War 2 my Dad who had volunteered for service was attending the U.S. Army's Airborne School at Fort Benning in Georgia.

He was learning to become a pilot but suddenly the program that he was enrolled in was terminated.

Apparently military experts determined that they already had enough pilots for their immediate needs and thus all of those, including my Dad, had to shift their attention elsewhere.

My Dad became a paratrooper.

He kidded for all the remaining years of his life that if he could not fly the airplanes, at least he could ride in them one way.

He would have loved to have become a pilot, but providing for his family and a few major obstacles along life's path precluded that from ever occurring.

View of the Air Force Academy buildings as we were approaching

Closer view of the Air Force Academy buildings as we were approaching
Closer view of the Air Force Academy buildings as we were approaching | Source
Approaching the Air Force Academy buildings * 2 photos pieced together
Approaching the Air Force Academy buildings * 2 photos pieced together | Source
Air Force Academy grounds
Air Force Academy grounds | Source

Additional history of the Air Force...

When it was determined that the flying aspect of the military merited its own branch of the service, the National Security Act of 1947 first brought the Air Force into being.

The service academy board was headed by Dwight D. Eisenhower 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 to read 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 7 years of age) knew Charles Lindbergh personally according to my grandmother.

My grandfather was in World War 1 and had flown on those early airplanes.

B-52 Bomber on Air Force Academy grounds

B-52 Bomber on Air Force Academy grounds
B-52 Bomber on Air Force Academy grounds | Source

Information about the B-52 Bomber

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The Air Force Academy Chapel


Undoubtedly the most striking feature and 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.

An interesting use of aluminum was utilized on the exterior of the buildings which might suggest that used on airplanes.

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.


Air Force Academy Chapel

Chapel at Air Force Academy
Chapel at Air Force Academy | Source

Visiting the Chapel


The Air Force Chapel is an amazing structure as viewed from the outside.

Some would describe the exterior as looking like an "accordion" shaped building.


Others would interpret it as a grouping of fighter pilot airplanes lined up facing skyward.

Be sure and go inside to see where the Protestant, Catholic and Jewish cadets worship.


Apparently other arrangements have since been made to meet the religious needs of cadets from other religions, but these photos below show what we viewed on that day in 1999.


Amazing Air Force Academy Chapel

Amazing Air Force Academy Chapel
Amazing Air Force Academy Chapel | Source

Protestant part of the Air Force Academy chapel

Protestant part of the chapel
Protestant part of the chapel | Source

When first walking in to the Air Force Chapel, the largest 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 must offer different arrays of glittering light depending upon the time of day and weather conditions outside. Each person taking a picture probably gets different results because of this.

On a lower level there is seating for 500 Catholics and 100 Jewish cadets. Undoubtedly this is a normal 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.

The Catholic section of the Chapel at the Air Force Academy

Catholic portion of the Air Force chapel
Catholic portion of the Air Force chapel | Source
Pretty stained glass windows in the Catholic part of the chapel
Pretty stained glass windows in the Catholic part of the chapel | Source

The Jewish portion of the Air Force Academy Chapel

Jewish portion of the Air Force Academy chapel
Jewish portion of the Air Force Academy chapel | Source
Jewish portion of the chapel
Jewish portion of the chapel | Source

Golf course on the Air Force Academy grounds

Golf course on the Air Force Academy grounds
Golf course on the Air Force Academy grounds | Source

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.


United States Air Force Academy

A marker4102 Pinion Drive, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80840 -
4102 Pinion Dr, Air Force Academy, CO 80840, USA
[get directions]

Photo tour of the Air Force Academy

typical cadet's room at the Air Force Academy

Mock up of a typical cadet's room on display
Mock up of a typical cadet's room on display | Source

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 period of time if not for an entire career.

One must be nominated by a member of Congress 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 of time in return for all he/she has been given.

According to a U.S. News and World Report, the acceptance rate of applicants for the Fall of 2008 was 18.2%.

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 a good education and great opportunities that lie ahead.

Air Force Academy grounds

Air Force Academy grounds - Visitors can picnic in this area and some were taking advantage.
Air Force Academy grounds - Visitors can picnic in this area and some were taking advantage. | Source

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."

U.S. Air Force Academy

Source

Have you been to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs?

  • Yes, I have seen this campus and surrounding area
  • I am a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate!
  • I have visited the Academy as a family member or friend of a cadet.
  • No, but I will check it out if I ever travel that way
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One day as my mother and I were driving in to see the Air Force Academy one last time, there were hundreds of bicyclers on the road obviously engaging in some sort of marathon.

They certainly had gorgeous surroundings in which to bike ride!

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.

My mother and I were both very much impressed with what we got to see of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and would highly recommend a visit if one is in that area.

Hopefully my photos and the other videos inserted give one an idea of the spacious campus and surroundings that the cadets enjoy while attending that institution.

Air Force Academy grounds, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Taken on Air Force Academy grounds, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Taken on Air Force Academy grounds, Colorado Springs, Colorado | Source

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© 2010 Peggy Woods

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Comments are welcomed! 40 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

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


Robert Sacchi profile image

Robert Sacchi 4 months ago

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


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

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 profile image

Robert Sacchi 4 months ago

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


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

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?


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