TwHP Lessons

The United States Air Force Academy: Founding a Proud Tradition

[Cover Photo] Cadet Chapel


he Air Force Academy is built upon a proud foundation and so it should be. For the Academy is a bridge to the future, gleaming with promise of peace in a stable, sane world….Our airpower has kept the peace…it is keeping the peace, God willing, it will keep on doing so. This Academy, we are founding today, will carry forward that great effort. --Air Force Secretary Harold E. Talbott, July 11, 1955

Set in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains near Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Air Force Academy's sleek modern architecture, monumental scale, and dramatic setting combine to create a stunning national monument. Its gleaming aluminum, steel, and glass buildings are not only a reflection of modern architecture but are a "living embodiment of the modernity of flying."1

Established during the first decade of the Cold War, when the threat of nuclear attack and Communist expansion loomed large, the Air Force Academy symbolized the importance of air power to our nation's security. As the Air Force became the nation's primary military arm during the 1950s, the Air Force Academy was charged with training and educating officers capable of meeting the challenges of the nuclear age. Today, the Academy continues its proud tradition of providing the Air Force with a corps of dedicated officers.

1Testimony of Harold E. Talbott, Secretary of the Air Force, U.S., Congress, House of Representatives, Hearings before the Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, 84th Congress, 1st session, 1955, 224.


About This Lesson

Getting Started: Inquiry Question

Setting the Stage: Historical Context

Locating the Site: Maps
 1. Colorado
 2. The Air Force Academy

Determining the Facts: Readings
 1. History of the United States Air Force
 2. The Cold War Begins
 3. The United States Air Force Academy
 Becomes a Reality

Visual Evidence: Images
 1. 1954 Colorado Springs Committee
 brochure cover

 2. Plan of the Air Force Academy
 Cadet Area

 3. Aerial view of the Academy, ca. 1962
 4. Mitchell Hall under construction, ca. 1958
 5. Cadet Area
 6. Basic cadets at the Academy, August 1958
 7. Interior of Mitchell Hall, ca. 1962
 8. Cadet Chapel

Putting It All Together: Activities
 1. Comparing Military Academies
 2. Military Air Power
 3. The Cold War Era in the Local Community

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The lesson is based on the United States Air Force Academy, Cadet Area, one of the thousands of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Cadet Area has been designated a National Historic Landmark.



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