The military academies have some hallowed traditions. The Air Force Academy in Colorado, as part of their Forged in Blue ceremony, for example, receives class rings from older alumni and their families, melts them down, and blends the molten metal in new class rings for incoming cadets. In time, every cadet’s ring will include traces of gold from those of every preceding class.
The academy has been honoring this tradition for five years.
Why so new? Because the Air Force, being the youngest of the service academies (founded in ’54), has recently felt the need to build stronger connections to its past. Just like West Point and Annapolis.
Retired USAF Col Rich Bowman will talk about the academy, its culture, and its attempts to bridge recent history in a Kendal at Home webinar on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 10:30 a.m. ET (register). The class of 1974 alumnus is a Kendal at Home member who commanded Minuteman nuclear missiles, delivered eight production B-2s to the Air Force, certified the engine for the F-22 fighter’s first flight, and tested tiles for the Space Shuttle.
Bowman, of Beavercreek, Ohio, is also a mentor to the academy’s class of 2024 secretary, a student from Singapore. As his class focal point for the Air Force Academy Legacy Program, Bowman’s goal is to help cadets understand how their efforts today will affect the rest of their lives – literally, because an Air Force officer’s oath to the Constitution never expires.
In addition, “The honor code of “We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and to live honorably” lives far beyond the walls of the academy. By connecting with today’s students, we have an opportunity to not only reflect upon our careers, but share how that code has guided us out throughout our lives,” said Bowman.