Tickets must be picked up in person at one of three locations:
• The Business Alliance offices at 102 S. Tejon Street, Suite 430, in Colorado Springs, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
• The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce offices, at 300 Colorado Highway 105 in Monument, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
• The Air Force Academy’s Athletic Ticket Office, at the Cadet Field House, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
A maximum of four tickets per person are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets must be picked up in person and cannot be held or mailed. Lost tickets cannot be replaced.
The Air Force Academy’s Graduation Ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m., on May 28 in Falcon Stadium and will include a commencement speech by the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden.
Falcon Stadium gates open at 7 a.m. on graduation day and ticket holders are encouraged to arrive no later than 8:30 a.m. Traffic will be heavy entering the base and stringent security measures will be in effect.
Stadium security staff will check tickets, IDs, and hand-carried items and attendees will be scanned by airport-style metal detectors. No boxes, alcohol, weapons, firecrackers, backpacks, large handbags, coolers, thermoses, beverage containers of any sort or similar items will be allowed in the stadium. No sticks or poles (to include tripods) may be brought into the stadium, but small folding umbrellas may be carried. Food and drink are prohibited with the exception of clear, unopened water bottles and medically necessary items with a doctor’s order. Refreshments will be available from vendors throughout the stadium.
Cameras, video cameras and binoculars are permitted; however, please be prepared to remove camera lenses for security inspection at the stadium gates. Diaper bags will be allowed when a child is present; no strollers please.
Once the ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m., no one is allowed to leave the stadium until after the end of the Thunderbirds’ performance at about 1:00 p.m. To ensure compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations, no one will be allowed in parked cars or driving or walking within the performance area.
The Air Force Academy graduation ceremony is conducted in an outdoor stadium and extensive walking and stair climbing may be necessary. Guests should be prepared for any kind of weather; there is no indoor seating for the ceremony. Medical staff will be available for individuals who may experience illness or other medical emergencies.
Handicapped and wheelchair seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis and is located at the top of Sections U2, U5, U9, U12, M2, M6, M10, M14, L3, L6, L7, L9, L10 and L-13. The entire top row of Sections L-2 through L-14 is reserved for handicapped guests. Note that there are no elevators in the stadium but handicapped seating may be accessed without requirement to walk stairs. Handicapped parking is available at the north side of the stadium in lot 5, accessible via the North Gate. Golf carts will be available to transport handicapped guests from the parking areas to the stadium.
In the event of severe, life-threatening weather or security response to a high-threat world situation, the ceremony could be moved into Clune Arena at the Cadet Field House. Because Clune has limited seating capacity, guests of graduating cadets will be restricted to three per cadet and public ticket holders will not be able to attend. For this reason, we make every attempt to hold the graduation ceremony outdoors in Falcon Stadium, even in less than ideal weather conditions.
The award is part of the Thomas Jefferson Awards Program, recognizing Defense Department journalists worldwide for outstanding achievement in promoting the goals of the DOD's Internal Information Program, a program responsible for, among other things, telling the Air Force story to a global audience.
"Essentially, Don just won the highest honor any Defense Department journalist may receive, the DOD equivalent of the civilian Pulitzer Prize," said David Cannon, the Academy's communication director. "This award tells us what we already know — that Don is an extremely talented writer, not only able to tell the Academy story, but to tell it in a way that shows the impact across the DOD and across our Air Force."
Thomas Jefferson Award officials consider a writer's "range, continuity and quality of the stories" when determining award recipients, said Robert Hood, the Defense Information School's Competitions Coordinator at Fort Meade, Md. Fort Meade is home to DINFOS, where are all DOD public affairs specialists — Airmen and civilians — are trained.
In 2013, Branum covered a variety of topics for the Academy, but perhaps none were as important and wide-ranging as his coverage on sexual assault, the effects of force shaping, religious diversity and a wealth of other issues that didn't just affect the Academy, but influenced the DOD at large, not to mention public perception of the Air Force's only academy.
Branum, 39, joined the Air Force in 1999 as a computer programmer but retrained into Public Affairs in 2004.
Then-Staff Sgt. Don Branum graduated from DINFOS that same year as a distinguished graduate. Since then, he's received numerous Air Force and command-level Public Affairs awards as an Airman and as a civilian, including Air Force Civilian Print Journalist of the Year, third place, 2013; Air Force Space Command Print Journalist of the Year, 2007; and Air Force Space Command Best News Article, 2007.
He left the Air Force in 2011 but remains in Public Affairs.
protect, preserve, and expand Colorado military installations, organizations, and associated industry/businesses by informing the state of Colorado, and Colorado and US Government officials on the value of the military in Colorado; to both Colorado and the Nation; in support of service members, veterans, and their families; and to create favorable conditions for the Colorado military and civilian communities at large.To do that will take money, and this group wants Council to pony up $100,000 to help fund a $266,000 budget that would hire two people, with one in Washington, D.C., to coordinate efforts to protect the military.
-Army is considering force structure cuts as low as 420K; others suggesting 380K
-This will mean the closing of division headquarters and the associated force structure
-4ID at Fort Carson, CO (FCCO) is in jeopardy if this happens
-In comments from the Army Assistant Secretary of the Army for BRAC, he stated that Fort Carson is safe at the current 490,000 troop level, at 450,000 it is reasonably secure, but at or below 420,000 the Combat Aviation Brigade could be in real danger and we could lose the division flag.
-USA, USAF & USN looking at Active vs Reserve Component levels/roles
-Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) will shape thinking on force structure levels
The Department of Defense has spent more than a decade implementing plans to expand the PCMS through additional training, intensified use, expanded operations and land acquisition. Every internal military planning document obtained by Not 1 More Acre! has insisted that the PCMS in its current size can neither meet mission requirements nor sustain the environment to meet multi-force training requirements.Bill Sulzman of Colorado Springs also questioned the plan in comments drawn from this prepared statement he provided to us:
By contrast, the Army's recent public statements have all reversed those positions and indicate that use of the existing Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site is able to satisfy all mission and environmental requirements without causing any significant impacts.
These later conclusions were presented without supporting data, are completely at odds with the Army's previous positions, and are false.
The Department of Defense and Department of the Army cannot meet its maneuver training requirements at the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site without causing irreversible degradation and total destruction to PCMS and the region (Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas), which is located on fragile shortgrass prairie at the headwinds of the 1930's Dust Bowl.
In fact, Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site is not capable of sustaining any military training. Instead, military impacts on shortgrass perpetuate another national environmental disaster that has the potential to wipe out the Southern Great Plains only eighty years after government policy led to the Dust Bowl.
DOD's environmental analysis of impacts to Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site by the new Heavy Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) is typical. DOD found there would be no significant impact from operating and maneuvering the $3.9 billion integrated electronic weapons system on the last native shortgrass prairie in all the American Great Plains kept by generational ranchers.
The Heavy CAB includes two attack reconnaissance battalions, an assault helicopter battalion, a general support aviation battalion, and an aviation support battalion.
The attack reconnaissance battalions consist of 48 AH-64 Apache helicopters. The AH-64 is armed with a 30-millimeter chain gun, and it can carry up to 16 laser-guided Hellfire missiles and 76 rockets (in pods of 19 rockets each).
The AH-64D can employ radar-guided Longbow Hellfire missiles and Longbow fire control radar ("FCR"). A single FCR-equipped Longbow Apache is reportedly able to control Longbow Hellfire missiles carried by AH-64D aircraft that are not equipped with radar sensors.
Apache Longbow Block III helicopter pilots have controlled the payload and flight path of a Gary Eagle Unmanned Aerial System (drone) while both aircraft were airborne.
The new Heavy Combat Aviation Brigade assault battalion consists of approximately 30 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, which are the Army's second-largest helicopter at more than 20,000 pounds Maximum Take Off Gross Weight ("MTOGW").
The general support battalion consists of 12 CH-47 Chinook helicopters (the largest aircraft in the Army's aviation fleet at 50,000 lbs MTOGW) and five specialized Blackhawk helicopters.
Army says there will be no significant impacts from the 113 helicopters assigned to the Heavy CAB to operate somewhere between an average of 4,960 and 7,652 hours at PCMS. That's not all. According to Army documents, the CAB's Full Spectrum Operations Training Strategy will schedule 8,539 aviation hours at PCMS. Nearly one-half of all flying hours are expected to be flown by the AH-64 Apache attack aircraft.
The Heavy CAB is equipped with at least twelve of the Army's MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones. The Gray Eagle is an upgrade of the MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) with a more powerful engine and larger payload. Each Gray Eagle weighs about 3,600 pounds and can carry up to four Hellfire missiles.
Add 600 - 700 electronically integrated manned and unmanned ground vehicles to the Combat Aviation Brigade DOD determined has no significant impact on the environment and rural economies at the headwinds of the Dust Bowl.
Fort Carson is only one of many DOD users of Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site and the CAB is only one of many complex weapons systems DOD is operating there. The new EIS will pile on more.
The environmental analysis and public disclosure strategy designed by DOD, its contractors and politicians is crafted to trick the public into believing that impacts will be insignificant and wear opponents down with relentless and endless public comment opportunities that consume unreasonable amounts of time and money.
But if we don't speak out, the only guarantee is that for a second time in a hundred years we the people will allow our government to bury the Southern Great Plains in dust.
DOD and its contractors must be stopped at Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site, Colorado. It will take each one of us to grow the campaign to stop the them. We can.
Represent a challenge to everything that is wrong with politics and governance in this country today. Tell the Pentagon to stop.
People across southeastern Colorado will speak out at the meetings. Join us.
Tell DOD what you think by clicking the link:
I believe real consideration should be given to a liquidation process for the PCMS. There really needs to be a going out of business sale. Correct the original mistake once and for all. That would take a lot of planning with many having a say in how it is carried out.The point of the meeting in Trinidad, as well as another in La Junta, was to define the scope of the environmental study that will determine what, if any, the changes in training will have on the training grounds. Sulzman says Carson officials said a draft report will be completed within three months after which more public meetings will be held. A record of decision is expected within about six months.
Here are some of the reasons why:
It is obvious after 30 years of operation that this terrain is not suitable for the kind of training being conducted here.
The Army as a whole is shrinking in size, up to a 130,000 decline in numbers. Fort Carson itself will lose a complete Brigade Combat Team as part of the drawdown. Why then is there a proposal for new facilities and new training requirements at PCMS?
Army Aviation as a whole is being scaled back also, roughly in proportion to the Army wide cutbacks. Why are the demands for more airspace being pushed as the program overall is getting smaller? In addition to the new demands in the PCMS area, Fort Carson plans to greatly expand its use of airspace in the Canon City area.
The Air Force also wanted a bigger training space in the area for its plans despite overall cutbacks. Thankfully that seems to have been stopped. It is time to protect our common resource of airspace from this huge military demand for even heavier use.
It will be an uphill battle. The political forces, both democrat and republican can't get enough federal military handouts. The giant military contractor firms have enormous influence on military expansion policies.
We have to be able to counter the business as usual atmosphere that drives these policies. Closing PCMS would be a good start.
FORT CARSON, Colo. – The 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, is scheduled to activate its remaining four battalions during a ceremony Thursday [May 1] at 1 p.m. on Founder’s Field.
4th CAB will become a fully activated brigade after the activation of 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment; 3rd Attack Helicopter Battalion, 4th Avn. Reg.; 4th ARB, 4th Avn. Reg.; and 404th Aviation Support Battalion.
The CAB headquarters activated July 2, 2013, and 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th CAB, activated April 3, 2013.
Currently, the CAB has more than 1,880 Soldiers and is projected to have more than 2,500 Soldiers by the end of 2014. It also has approximately 87 aircraft (CH-47 Chinooks, AH-64 Apaches and UH-60 Black Hawks) and is expected to have more than 130 by October.
The CAB played a pivotal role in the 2013 Black Forest fires and Boulder floods. They flew more than 913 missions, dropped more than 700,000 gallons of water during the Black Forest fires, and contributed to the largest airlift evacuation since Hurricane Katrina during the Boulder floods. They also volunteered more than 560 hours outside of military operations to help with the recovery of the communities during both of the unfortunate disasters.
Clearly, there are larger national issues at play which both CSAF [Chief of Staff of the Air Force] and SECAF [Secretary of the Air Force] recognize. In her recent testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Secretary of the Air Force noted that AFI1-1 makes good sense and provides a balanced approach.
However, in practice we are finding that there are gray areas. The Chief of Staff of the Air Force will gather together senior Chaplains from across the Air Force, including USAFA, along with attorneys from the General Counsel's office to review this policy in light of recent changes in the law from FY 13 & 14 NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act] and the new DOD Instruction published earlier this year. The goal of that review is to clarify where the 'rubber meets the road' and ensure dignity and respect for all.
PCMS supports readiness training for units up to Brigade-size stationed at Fort Carson and for visiting Reserve and National Guard units. Training must fully integrate ground and air resources and reflect the modern battlefield environment for which Soldiers are preparing. The PCMS must accommodate training for current and emerging tactics and new equipment; provide training infrastructure, land and airspace within PCMS necessary to support training requirements; and support assigned and visiting units.
Advances in equipment and weapons systems, to include their incorporation into tactical units, dictate changes in how the Army trains, alterations to ranges (including range airspace) for maneuver training and doctrinal changes to accommodate mission-essential training prior to global deployments. PCMS must support training that incorporates these technological and doctrinal changes.
The proposed action would accommodate additional training tasks and equipment to enable training of current and future Fort Carson units. Additional tasks and equipment include unmanned aerial and ground systems, jamming systems, laser target sightings, non-explosive mortars up to 120 mm, and non-explosive aerial gunnery. Unmanned aerial systems would be reconnaissance systems, with no live-fire capability.
The Air Force Academy’s disenrollment review assessed the Academy’s previous and current cadet disenrollment processes. The panel determined the processes provided fairness, consistency, timeliness, due process and transparency for both cadets and USAFA; identified weaknesses or potential enhancements in both programs; determined the current program improved upon previous programs; and provided recommendations, included in the IG report. The new instructions implemented in 2013 sought to mirror the cadet disenrollment procedures with the administrative discharge for Air Force personnel; by doing so, streamlining the process that was often encumbered by numerous procedural steps and an arguably excessive due process.Read the full release here:
Dear Lieutenant General Johnson,"Our local matters become national issues on the national stage," Johnson told reporters, with several senior staff assembled around a conference table.
I am deeply concerned and outraged by recent news reports indicating that an Air Force Cadet was forced to remove a Bible verse from the whiteboard posted outside his room. I was further troubled to learn that the apparent reason the Cadet in question had to remove this verse was due to the fact that he is in a position of leadership. This suggests that a Cadet in a leadership role may have less religious freedom than Cadets in the rank and file.
Religious liberty is a foundational component of America’s greatness, and was rightfully promised by the Constitution to all our nation’s citizens, including those who dedicate their lives to our nation’s defense. This truth should apply throughout all ranks, and those who pursue leadership positions should not be forced to sacrifice their religious freedom in order to lead.
Religious freedom and religious tolerance go hand in hand. Censoring Bible verses or any religious text for that matter, from personal or even common areas at the Air Force Academy suggests an apparent anti-religion bias rather than a rational approach that supports tolerance of all faiths. We are asking future officers to perhaps give even their very lives to protect and defend the Constitution and yet denying them rights from that same Constitution.
While initial reporting has indicated that the Cadet in question is facing no punishment, aside from being forced to remove the Bible verse, I would appreciate a full accounting of this incident. It may be that the officer who censored the Cadet should be the one who should be punished. I would also like an explanation of the apparent distinction drawn between those in leadership and other Cadet’s regarding religious freedom. I would also appreciate an explanation of the apparent influence the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has at the Air Force Academy in legal and media issues relating to decisions on Cadets’ religious practices over the past 5 years. The MRFF is an organization that seems to detest religious expression of any faith, and has become so outlandish in its claims that it should simply be ignored.
The brave men and women serving to protect the Constitutional rights of all Americans should not have their own Constitutional rights stifled as they carry out that task. I urge you to reconsider your decision to censor this Cadet’s religious beliefs, and to set the record straight on where the Air Force stands with regard to the religious liberty of all Cadets.
I’m pleased with the way our cadets raised and discussed a recent concern in an atmosphere of respect and communication, and wanted to share it with you.
A religious scripture was displayed outside a dormitory room belonging to a cadet who held a leadership position in the squadron. Another cadet prompted a discussion of appropriateness, according to policies that leaders will avoid actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to subordinates. The scripture was below the cadet’s name on a white board and could cause subordinates to doubt the leader’s religious impartiality. With the mentorship of the active duty commanding officer as part of the discussion, the cadet squadron commander raised this potential perception and the cadet voluntarily elected to erase the scripture.
The Air Force’s Academy is a training institution, teaching cadets how to appropriately raise concerns, understand perceptions and balance personal freedom with effective leadership. Cadets will continue navigate through questions like this, where judgment is an important aspect of leadership on active duty. This is the ideal environment to explore those leadership issues with open and transparent conversations. I'm proud to see the cadets having subsequent conversations about how to enjoy religious freedoms regarded to all cadets while practicing caring leadership that inspires all subordinates.
We didn’t take them (religious messages) down. When this was identified through the chain of command, they had a discussion, and the discussion went to cadets about what the best way forward would be. The decision to take it down was this cadet who lived in this room who was in a leadership position. Because of that, they determined it was the perception of some that if I’m going to speak to that cadet, the entry fee, if you will, to get into the office is to abide by that statement. It would have been better not to have been in a publicly placed area. If you’re in a leadership position you can’t have something that would potentially imply if you have a certain belief, you can’t come see me. Their office is also their home. They have to do cadet leadership business in the same place they live.
We don't see misconduct here but the division between your personal room and the hallway is a gray area. The whiteboards are for both official and personal use, but when a concern was raised we addressed it and the comment was taken down. We also don't know who posted the message.
In reading last night's blog about the Dean's address to faculty, I would like to point out a couple of items that are not completely accurate based on what he said (knowing you heard about this from those who were in attendance and also from the MRFF):
First, the discussion was about religion in general, not Christianity. Second, General Armacost never said one should never announce their faith in class because there may be cases where it might be appropriate for academic dialogue; his discussion was specific to the "first day of class." scenario.
Today I witnessed what I can only describe as the USAFA's February Miracle—or Hell Freezing Over, given the snowfall and plunging temps we're seeing. Today, BG Andy Armacost, Dean of the Faculty, during an address to the entire Faculty, addressed religious discrimination within the military in certainly the most direct, clear, and concise terms I've heard by any senior leader since the publication of AFI1-1. Frankly, I'm still in (pleasant) shock and think that you'll hear from others, too, once the shock starts to wear off. Here's how it all transpired...
The entire faculty was in our largest lecture hall, F-1, during a twice per semester "Dean's Call." After presenting awards and other typical duties, he began to discuss the recently released result of the unit climate survey within the faculty. After going over several positives, he said that he wanted to address specifically some of the negatives cited in the responses and written comments. The third topic on his list was religious discrimination. He said that 3.4% (or something like that) cited religious discrimination as something that negatively affected the climate on the faculty. He then added that written comments on the subject represented both sides of the issue, with some writing that it "wasn't easy being Jewish" on the faculty, or that they didn't feel comfortable identifying themselves as non-christian. Others thought that their rights to express their christian faith openly were being chilled by recent directives. He discussed those point for a few seconds and then described a question that was posed to him during new instructor training (during early Jan or last summer, I don't know when). Apparently, an instructor asked if he/she was allowed, during their self-introduction to their cadets on the first day of class, to cite their christian faith as an important aspect of their lives.
Gen Armacost said that we all had an obligation to get to know our cadets and our colleagues and to establish relationships that strengthen our institution BUT, and he said this quite clearly, the instructor should NOT announce their religious belief in class, to people he/she did not know, to people she/he had just met, to people over whom the instructor had a power relationship because no cadet or subordinate should ever have even the slightest concern that his/her religious (or other) personal belief could be a basis for judging them in the classroom—and he added race, sexual orientation, and gender to this, too. I almost gasped in delight.
He then said that everyone had a personal right to practice their personal religion so long as it did not affect their job or mission and that he respected everyone's personal beliefs. He said that in the holiday's he greats his friends that he knows are christian by saying 'Merry Christmas,' he says 'Happy Hannukah' to his jewish friends, and 'Eid Mubarrak' to his muslim friends. To the friends he knows are atheist, he says 'Have a good break.' To everyone else whom he doesn't know so well, he say 'Happy Holidays' or something non-sectarian.
THEN, he actually read from AFI1-1 verbatim including the lines about not proselytizing and the importance of the Air Force not showing favoritism or endorsement for one belief system over another. I was almost giddy at this point. FINALLY, someone with the guts to publicly say what's been documented, signed, and published (if not read aloud) by Air Force leadership. Clear guidance that it's NOT okay within the military hierarchy to bring your religion (or declare your lack thereof) in the classroom or the department office. Clearly, this is in response to the near constant pressure exerted by the MRFF over the last few years with the myriad violations of AFI1-1 we've seen at the Academy—before and even after it was published. Clearly, he was separating himself from his predecessor who went so far (according to reports) as tasking one of her senior leaders to conduct a counter-insurgency analysis within the faculty of MRFF supporters, and (earlier in her career) even put her name on a public advertisement in the base paper (with her rank included) declaring the "real" meaning of Christmas and inviting all to the christian faith.
He also announced the formation of a new Ombuds program on the faculty that will help resolve issues like this (among others) without using the chain of command or endangering the careers of faculty members and cadets—a great step towards building trust.
This was a watershed day for our Faculty, in my humble opinion. We can thank the MRFF and all of the hundreds of MRFF clients (cadets and faculty) at USAFA that have played a role in this day coming, as we thank Gen Armacost for his brave words. I'm sure he knows that the knives will be coming out for him soon, too. In the meantime, though, I hope this "bug" he's caught turns into a full-fledged virus of courage and we can hear similar words of support for all airmen from our other senior leaders.
A Senior USAFA Faculty Member
The United States Army announced today that it will convert the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division here to a Stryker Brigade Combat Team.
The conversion, scheduled to begin in March 2014, is being made to achieve a needed operational mix of brigade combat teams within the Army, and will take an estimated 10 months to complete.
The Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, G-3/5/7, issued a Record of Decision, based on a review of the 2008 Environmental Impact Statement that had considered several installations, including Fort Carson, for the permanent stationing of a Stryker brigade combat team. The 2008 Environmental Impact Statement assessed the effects of converting an Infantry brigade combat team to a Stryker brigade combat team; however, the Army is now converting an armored brigade combat team. Because of this change, the Army determined that the 2008 Environmental Impact Statement adequately evaluated the potential environmental effects associated with the conversion and that no supplementation of the Environmental Impact Statement is required.
Replacing Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles with lighter Stryker wheeled combat vehicles reduces heavy vehicle maneuver and fuel consumption, and is expected to reduce dust and air pollution at Fort Carson. Additionally, the net number of Soldiers training at Fort Carson will be fewer than anticipated because the action coincides with the inactivation of another brigade combat team as part of the Army-wide reductions, announced in June 2013.
The decision to convert the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, to a Stryker BCT does not require additional construction at Fort Carson or expansion of Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site. The Stryker brigade combat team maneuver training requirements will be accommodated within the existing boundaries of Pinon Canyon.
The Record of Decision can be obtained online at:
Fort Carson is honored to receive Stryker combat vehicles and transition the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team. By converting an Armored Brigade to a Stryker Brigade, the 4th Infantry Division increases the operational capability and flexibility, while continuing to further Fort Carson’s net zero environmental goals of reducing pollution and fuel consumption. As Fort Carson and the 4th Infantry Division change to accommodate the Army’s reduction in forces, we will remain a well-trained, efficient fighting force.Bill Sulzman, who has opposed continual buildup of the military, says via e-mail, "Musical chairs. It is curious how they just dust off a 6 year old EIS and say it still fits. EIS's are mostly a joke anyway but it is still a cut and paste job. Still losing a full brigade a year from now."
U.S. Senators Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), strong advocates for Colorado's veterans and their families, welcomed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' announcement today that it has secured land in El Paso County to build a new national veterans cemetery for southern Colorado. The announcement follows years of work by the lawmakers to bring a new veterans cemetery to the region. The Pikes Peak area has one of the highest concentrations of veterans in the country and Pueblo, also known as the Home of Heroes, is home to four Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. Despite this, the nearest veteran cemeteries are located more than 70 miles away, greatly inconveniencing local families.
"Southern Colorado's veterans have earned our respect through a lifetime of service to our country," Udall said. "Our veterans and their families deserve better than to travel hours from home just to pay tribute to their loved ones. That's why I have fought for years to create a final resting place that is worthy of their sacrifice. It's long past time this cemetery was built so we can honor the veterans across southern Colorado who gave so much for our freedom."
"As a region with a rich military history and a large and active veteran population, Southern Colorado is an ideal location for a final resting place for our nation's heroes," Bennet said. "We've been working closely with the VA, veterans and their families to establish a new national cemetery in Southern Colorado. It's exciting that we can move forward on this long overdue project."
"As the son of a World War II veteran, I know the importance of dignity and respect for our nation's heroes," Lamborn said. "That is why the very first bill I introduced in Congress was to bring a Veterans Cemetery to El Paso County. It is tremendously exciting to see the hard work and help of so many members of our community pay off after all these years. I want to especially thank our Pikes Peak National Cemetery Committee for their years of dedication and advocacy on this project. The tens of thousands of veterans here in the Fifth Congressional District will now have a special place of remembrance close to heart and home."
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced today that it has acquired the land, water and mineral rights for a new veterans cemetery in southern Colorado. The new cemetery will be located on 374 acres of land in El Paso County at a site known as Rolling Hills.
Udall, Bennet and Lamborn have worked for years to bring a national veterans cemetery to southern Colorado, including successfully authorizing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to acquire land to build the cemetery. The lawmakers have worked closely with southern Colorado veterans and community leaders to make sure the new cemetery would meet the needs of veterans and their families. For years, Udall, Bennet and Lamborn have partnered with the Southern Colorado Veterans Cemetery Committee to build support for the cemetery and advocate for local veterans.
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo., - The Air Force Academy's Wings of Blue parachute team won 33 medals at the National Collegiate Parachute Competition in Lake Wells, Fla., recently.
Wings of Blue skydivers took home nine gold, 16 silver and eight bronze medals at the competition, held from Dec. 27 to Jan. 2.
The Wings of Blue received the highest point total, making it the collegiate champion, the 34th time in the past 45 years the Academy has
garnered this honor.
Cadet 1st Class Joseph M. Euhus, Cadet Squadron 6, won the collegiate tournament's "Outstanding Competitor" Award. He won a gold medal in sport accuracy (masters class). This makes the second year in a row a member of the Wings of Blue was chosen as the tournament's finest.
Euhus was part of the skydivers' record setting four-way Eufouria team that won gold in the open or highest division. Other members of the Eufouria team included Cadets 1st Class David Moore, Aaron Sporrer and Derek Dymenek.
The Wings of Blue is operated by the 98th Flying Training Squadron, which comprises 75 cadets and approximately 37 staff members. The team performs annually to an estimated combined audience 12 million people.
Just recently, on Dec. 28, the team jumped in the Buffalo Wild Wing Bowl in Tempe, Ariz., with 75 thousand stadium onlookers and millions of television fans watching the demonstration.
The Wings of Blue are scheduled to perform 23 nation-wide demonstrations in Fiscal Year 2014.
The 98th FTS also operates the Air Force's most prolific parachute program, executing 20,000 jumps and 3,500 UV-18B flight hours each year. The program allows more than 800 cadets per year the opportunity to earn their basic parachutist badge.
The 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, is one of 10 active component brigade combat teams identified in an Army plan to be inactivated by FY15. At this time, we cannot speculate about the number of Soldiers who will be affected by 2BCT's inactivation. In June, Department of Army announced that 3rd Armored BCT, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson would inactivate, but now will inactivate 2nd Armored BCT, 4th Infantry Division. This change was necessary to adjust for deployment cycles. The decision to inactivate a brigade will not affect Fort Carson or the 4th Infantry Division's readiness to protect our nation and defend our freedom. Fort Carson remains a well-trained, adaptable fighting force with multiple well-trained, operational units.Since so much of the local economy revolves around the military, we asked El Paso County Board of County Commissioners Chair Dennis Hisey for his thoughts: