Approximately 600 free, reserved-seat tickets for the Academy's Class of 2015 Graduation Ceremony will be available Thursday. Tickets must be picked up by the general public in person at:This year's featured speaker will be Deborah Lee James, the Secretary of the Air Force.
* The Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance offices at 102 S. Tejon Street, Suite 430, in downtown Colorado Springs, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
* The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce offices at 166 Second Street in Monument, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Department of Defense ID card holders may also pick up tickets at the Air Force Academy's Athletic Ticket Office, at the Cadet Field House, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. These ticket locations will be open Monday through Friday, except for Memorial Day.
A maximum of six tickets per person are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets cannot be mailed and there is no will-call at the stadium. Lost tickets cannot be replaced.
Because of increased security measures, individuals picking up tickets in Colorado Springs or Monument will need to provide the following information:
* First and Last Name,
* Date of Birth,
* Driver's License Number and which state the Driver's License was issued in.
Only the person picking up the tickets needs to provide this information. If that individual has a current DoD ID card, they will not need to provide additional information.
The Air Force Academy's Graduation Ceremony is May 28, beginning at 9:30 a.m., in Falcon Stadium and will include a commencement speech by the Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James. The ceremony will conclude with an aerial performance by the Air Force Thunderbirds, weather permitting.
Falcon Stadium gates will open at 7 a.m. on May 28. Due to increased security requirements, please ensure you arrive very early as traffic coming on base will be heavy and there may be long lines at the Stadium. All visitors should be prepared to show valid identification, vehicle registration and proof of auto insurance. Vehicles may be inspected upon entry. If Force Protection Conditions change, some scheduled events may also change or require additional security precautions for the safety of all our guests. Any event changes will be announced via local media and the Academies official Facebook page.
If the graduation ceremony is moved indoors due to dangerous weather or security reasons, general public and staff ticket holders will not be able to attend. If the ceremony is moved, notification will go out by May 28 at 7 a.m., via local media and the Academies official Facebook page.
For more information on the Air Force Academy Graduation, visit http://www.usafa.edu/superintendent/graduation/index.cfm?catname=graduation or e-mail email@example.com
In accordance with a NORTHCOM Directive, the United States Air Force Academy has increased security measures. Until further notice, the base is closed to all non-DoD ID cardholders. Visitors may be escorted onto base by DoD ID cardholders. Visitor access for official events will be permitted on a case-by-case basis.As for how visitors will be handled at the upcoming academy graduation, academy spokesman Meade Warthen says via email: "As you can imagine, the situation is very fluid right at the moment. We'll be issuing updates on access as we get closer to graduation."
Please monitor the USAFA Facebook page and website for more information on future events scheduled to be held at the Academy. Additionally, DoD ID cardholders can anticipate delays when entering the installation, and there may be traffic back-ups near both of the Academy's North and South Gates. As a matter of DoD policy, we do not discuss specific security measures. However, these measures are in place to ensure the safety and security of USAFA personnel, cadets, and assets.
USAFA leadership asks the public and military personnel to remain vigilant and if you see or hear anything suspicious, please contact Security Forces at (719) 333-2000.
Convoys will consist of no more than 30 vehicles per group, and 30-minute spacing is planned between each convoy. Convoys will travel at 40 miles per hour and utilize two routes.The PCMS has been controversial with surrounding landowners concerned about over-use of the grasslands.
Convoys will travel on Interstate Highway 25, U.S. Highway 160, U.S. Highway 350, State Highway 115, U.S. Highway 50, U.S. Highway 87, State Highway 167, and State Highway 10. Due to the increase in vehicle traffic and slow speed of the convoys travelers may experience delays.
No travel will occur on I-25 through Pueblo during the hours of 7 - 9 a.m. and 4 - 6 p.m., which is during peak rush hour time periods.
Increased dust and noise levels from this exercise can be expected during this time period, due to training and vehicle traffic throughout the training area. The training includes day and night blank-fire exercises incorporating aircraft and military members from the Army and Air Force.
The purpose of Raider Focus is to prepare Soldiers for any possible mission should the unit be called to support any contingency around the globe. During the exercise, crews will engage simulated targets using different scenarios to build team cohesion and ensure they are proficient in their skills. The unit will redeploy to Fort Carson in mid-June.
Noise complaints should be directed to the Fort Carson Public Affairs Office at (719) 526-9849.
Fort Carson implements new access control policies and procedures Friday, as directed by the Secretary of the Army. All visitors without a federal or DOD identification card (ID) entering the installation will be affected by the new changes.
Visitors, without a federal or DOD ID requesting one-day access to the installation will need to report to the Visitor Control Center (VCC), located at Building 6012 at Gate 1, with a valid state or federally issued photo ID (driver’s license if driving), vehicle registration and proof of insurance (if applicable). All personnel must have a valid reason for accessing the installation.
Members of the golf course or on a bowling league who do not have the proper identification must work through the respective management of those establishments to have the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sign the Fort Carson Form 2036 (Request for Fort Carson Access Control Card).
The Form 2036 must be digitally signed with a Common Access Card by a military sponsor, not hand signed. For organizations on post, such as the Army and Air Force Exchange Service and Defense Commissary Agency that don’t have CAC cards, provisions have been made in advance with these organizations to obtain passes for those who need them.
Visitors requesting unescorted access will be required to undergo a FBI National Crime Information Center III (NCIC) check prior to accessing the installation. Visitors with issues such as an outstanding arrest warrant, recent felony conviction or are listed on the Terrorist Screening database will not be allowed access and, if appropriate, will be turned over to legal authorities.
Visitors who are receiving a Fort Carson access pass may not escort other non-DOD ID cardholders onto the installation. Each visitor in the vehicle must go through the NCIC check to gain access.
The NCIC check helps law enforcement officers apprehend fugitives, locate missing persons, recover stolen property and identify terrorists. It also assists law enforcement officers in performing their official duties more safely and provides them with information necessary to aid in protecting the general public.
The VCC is open daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Visitors requesting access outside the VCC hours must go to Gate 3 off of Academy Blvd. to request a pass. Questions may be directed to the VCC at (719) 526-2332 or the Security and Access Control Office at (719) 526-5543.
More than 10 percent of the appointments at the clinic from Sept. 1 to Feb. 28 took at least 31 days to schedule, missing the Department of Veterans Affairs’ timeliness goal. That was the highest in the state and the 12th-worst out of 940 veterans outpatient clinics and hospitals reviewed nationwide. ...The Gazette talked to 39-year-old Air Force veteran Ken Ulin, who said he had experienced such a hard time obtaining medical help he "tried to overdose right in front of my psychiatrist at the VA," the paper quoted him as saying. "That didn't work out well. But I wanted to get their attention."
“It’s a chaotic mess,” said 69-year-old Kenneth Thibodeau of Colorado Springs, a Vietnam-era veteran who gets VA treatment for diabetes, blindness and an amputated leg.
He said he likes the care he gets from the VA – when he can get it.
“I think the scheduling part of it is the biggest problem right now,” said Thibodeau, deputy chaplain for the Colorado American Legion. “When I make an appointment or something, I get a phone call the day before saying they have to reschedule, and you don’t get a reason.”
A Republican congressman has introduced legislation that would force cadets at the Air Force’s Academy to say “so help me God” during their oaths every school year. He said the legislation is necessary because Americans don’t have “freedom from religion.”Well, we had to check in with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation founder, Mikey Weinstein, to get his take. Though he's been inundated with media calls, Weinstein took time to send us this statement:
Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) said the bill, called the Preserve and Protect God in Military Oaths Act of 2015, would protect the religious freedom of American troops.
“Our Constitution’s very First Amendment protects every individual’s freedom of religion. But our servicemen and women who protect our county with their lives are seeing that freedom under fire,” he said in a statement.
Congressman Sam Johnson should be tried for treason and sedition. The astounding ignorance and bigotry displayed by his brazen presentation of this proposed wretched sectarian legislation is literally mind-ripping. Not only does it viciously savage United States constitutional religious protections afforded all American citizens, including members of the U.S. military, it also provides an unparalleled bonanza of propaganda for our fundamentalist Islamic enemies such as Isis, the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Additionally, it enrages our Islamic allies and utterly desecrates and destroys military unit cohesion, good order, morale and discipline. The United States Congress should at the very least censure this constitutionally derelict villain and universally despicable human being.Lamborn wasn't happy about "so help me God" being made optional by the academy, leading him to issue this statement about the matter on Nov. 15, 2013:
Training activities in the Final EIS include electronic jamming systems, laser target sighting, tactical demolition, unmanned and unarmed aerial reconnaissance systems, and light unmanned ground vehicle training. In terms of training infrastructure, PCMS would establish two new drop-zones, and restricted airspace directly over PCMS for use during periods when training activity poses a hazard to non-participating aircraft. The restricted airspace would be activated as required by training scenarios. Among the changes made since publication of the Draft EIS are the removal of aviation rocket (2.75 inch) and flare training, removal of two of the original eight demolition sites from the proposed action, and reduction in the maximum charge per blast at one of the six remaining sites.For a little background on the project, you can read this previous blog. Or read the entire report below:
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is the only law that requires the government to assess every type of impact from its proposed actions, analyze alternatives, describe proven measures to mitigate the impacts and disclose all of that to the public for serious review before the government action is approved.
That level of assessment was not conducted or disclosed in DOD's latest EIS for Piñon Canyon Manuever Site, Colorado and so its plans and impacts remain hidden from the public now, just as in 2009, when DOD's PCMS Transformation EIS so failed NEPA's required analysis and public disclosure that it was thrown out by a federal judge.
Urging people across the country to submit comments, Jean Aguerre of watchdog group Not 1 More Acre! said, "Our goal is to re-establish the rule of law that requires public disclosure of government plans and rigorous analysis of impacts before their plans are approved, and to CLOSE Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site to end military takeover of Southeastern Colorado and Northern New Mexico."
William Guman & Associates, Ltd., a long-time Colorado Springs based landscape architecture and land planning firm, has been selected by the Veteran’s Administration as project landscape architect to develop construction documents for the long awaited National Cemetery to be constructed in El Paso County. Guman is part of the AES Group team that was awarded the primary contract to plan and design the cemetery. AES Group, Inc. is a certified service disabled veteran owned small business (SDVOSB) with primary offices in Parker, CO. Land planning for the new cemetery will be handled by The L.A. Group, PC, Saratoga Springs, NY, which has planned more than forty national cemeteries throughout the country.
Bill Guman, a licensed landscape architect, is pleased that there will be local representation on the National Cemetery’s consulting team hired by the VA.
“We think it was a wise decision for the VA to retain the services of prime consultants who are familiar with the unique requirements of our area,” said Guman. Design criteria for which the VA expressed much concern included long-term sustainability of the cemetery’s landscape. “The VA recognized that this region does not have the water resources that many other national cemeteries have to help keep them green for much of the year,” Guman said. He acknowledged that it will be challenging to design a drought tolerant landscape for the cemetery that is still attractive and in keeping with the National Cemetery Administration’s (NCA) design guidelines.
“There is an expectation for a national cemetery to always appear lush and manicured,” said Guman. “But Southern Colorado is a high plains desert and is obviously different than Arlington, Virginia” he added.
“The design team will be looking at xeric landscape alternatives that require far less water and care than acres of bluegrass lawn found in most national cemeteries.”
The El Paso County National Cemetery master plan will provide for up to for 125,000 grave sites across the 375 acre Rolling Hills Ranch property the VA purchased earlier this year. Schematic documents for approximately 50 acres of the property are being planned to support 10 year burial projections (approximately 15,300 gravesites) for the Phase 1 build out. The project will include pre-placed crypts, columbarium niches and in-ground cremains pre-placed urn crypts. The completed design will include a main entrance area, roadways, irrigation, utilities, landscaping, signage, committal service shelters, memorial walls, combined public information center and administration building, maintenance building complex, honor guard building, parking, public restrooms and temporary structures necessary to operationally support an early construction turnover of a limited number of gravesites. The VA’s estimated cost of construction for this project is between $28 million and $50 million dollars.
The project will be designed to LEED silver certified standards and meet all Federal Energy and Sustainability mandates. Planning and design of the new National Cemetery is anticipated to commence in December, with construction scheduled to begin in late 2015. Early turnover scheduling for Phase 1 should allow interments at the cemetery to commence in 2017. The National Cemetery’s Rolling Hills Ranch site is located on Drennan Road, approximately one-quarter mile east of Peterson Air Force Base and Marksheffel Road.
The partnering opportunities in our community are unique and extensive. The region hosts key military assets like US Northern Command that is responsible for all Department of Defense response to civil authorities, including in cases like large fires, as well as key military aerial firefighting capabilities, such as the 302nd Air Wing’s Modular Aerial Firefighting Systems (MAFFS) and Fort Carson’s helicopter fleet, that have responded to many fires in Colorado.In addition, the proposal, obtained by the Independent through the Colorado Open Records Act, notes "a multitude of high tech companies" are located in Colorado Springs, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Exelis, Hewlett Packard, Booz Allen Hamilton, Harris Corporation, and Quantum Corporation.
Each sexual assault case is a tragedy. I, along with every member of the USAFA faculty and staff, remain committed to providing an environment that cares and supports victims, a climate that eliminates sexual assault or harassment of any kind, and an approach that employs every tool available, including the Uniform Code of Military Justice, to hold perpetrators accountable. These efforts are led by me and supported by our amazing Sexual Assault Response Coordinators, Victim Advocates, volunteer Victim Advocates, Special Victims Counsel and highly qualified medical experts. While the numbers released in this report show progress, we still have a lot of work ahead of us.As for sexual harassment, the Naval Academy received 15 reports, the Military Academy, 1, and the Air Force Academy, 4.
The Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance Military Affairs Council (MAC) and the Army invite you to Wear green and support Fort Carson!Keep-Carson-Strong_1-27-15.pdf
The Department of the Army is conducting a Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment and is attending listening sessions across the U.S. Find out how you can support Fort Carson in this process on the Business Alliance website, or read more below. Read full news release.
A Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment is necessary to meet the Army’s statutory obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq.) and to help inform stationing decisions and potential Congressional notification requirements under 10 U.S.C. § 993.To add perspective, after the 2001 terrorist attacks, the Army built up to 570,000 soldiers. By September 2015, that number will be reduced to 490,000. Due to budget constraints, a further reduction to 450,000 is expected, and sequestration — automatic budget cuts built into a budgeting bill a few years ago — could cause yet another cut to 420,000.
NEPA requires the Army to consider the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of its actions and proposed alternatives and to involve the public. The NEPA process provides Army decision-makers with information on the environmental and socioeconomic impact that may result from the realignment of Army units, to include the concerns of the public and stakeholder organizations. This analysis allows decision-makers to compare and contrast the environmental impact at sites proposed for unit restationing, force restructuring, and unit deactivations. The PEA process is also designed to inform the public of potential environmental and socioeconomic effects associated with the proposed action and to provide the public with an opportunity to provide feedback.
Environmental impacts associated with the implementation of the proposed action include impacts to air quality, cultural resources, biological resources, noise, soil erosion, wetlands, water resources, facilities, socioeconomics, energy demand, land use, hazardous materials and waste, and traffic and transportation.
While not required by law, the Army will conduct community listening sessions at the 30 installations that could potentially be affected by cuts. These sessions are designed to enable community members to provide their concerns and perspectives, and will help Army senior leaders to make informed, yet difficult, decisions regarding force structure changes. These are not question and answer sessions – we are there to hear the community’s voice, and we welcome anything participants have to say.
These listening sessions are in complete compliance with Federal Law, which specifically prohibits lobbying by Active Duty soldiers.
5 January 2015
Freedom of Information/
Privacy Act Office (Case 15-00313)
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
Attention: Shalin G. Gala
501 Front Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
Dear Mr. Gala,
This letter responds to your request for agency records documenting the total number of animals used by Fort Carson related to live tissue training, combat casualty training and/or trauma training from January 1, 2014 to present which was submitted to the Installation Management Command at Fort Carson.
Record search results were forwarded to this office from Fort Carson along with your request letter. These were received on 12 December 2014 and processed in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, 5 United States Code (U.S.C.) § 552.
After personnel at Fort Carson made a good faith effort and conducting a thorough search of records using methods which can reasonably be expected to produce the information, no records responsive to your request were located. No animals were used by at Fort Carson for any live tissue training, combat casualty training and/or trauma training.
Paul D. Kercher
Freedom of Information/
Privacy Act Office
U.S. Army Medical Command
"Live tissue training was conducted in late September by the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team at Fort Carson. All training conducted is in accordance with established protocols and all applicable federal laws, to include the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 with changes in 1970 and amendments in 1976,1985, and 1990. Protocols for use of animals in training are reviewed, approved and supervised by Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee(IACUC) as required by law."Whoops.
Its outrageous and violates DOD policy for Fort Carson to still stab, shoot, dismember and kill animals in training drills when more effective human simulators are available and recognized as superior by the military itself. Other than brave whistleblowers, the only way the public is able to gain some transparency and accountability about these archaic and secretive exercises is through the use of open records laws and its troubling that Fort Carson is unable or unwilling to comply with a simple Freedom of Information Act request on the subject.
The Air Force Academy is pleased to announce it has tentatively selected Mr. James A. Knowlton as its new Athletic Director. Mr. Knowlton served as the Athletic Director for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for the past seven years.
As with any federal hiring process, the new hire is not official until all pre-employment requirements are completed and verified. The Academy remains committed to vigorously protecting the privacy of all who applied for the position - including the other finalists for the position.
Dr. Hans Mueh, the current Athletic Director will retire effective Jan. 31, 2015. The Academy will host a formal introduction and press conference with Academy Superintendent, Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson, and the new Athletic Director once the hiring process is complete and the hire is official.
"We were extremely pleased to receive applications from many highly qualified candidates, which following our deliberate process, resulted in an exceptional group of finalists. Mr. Jim Knowlton demonstrated the right level of intensity and experience, while still understanding the unique military culture at our United States Air Force Academy."
"He will balance the demands of the NCAA business with our absolute necessity to win with character. He brings a fresh perspective, but knows the importance of athletics to all of our cadets, not just intercollegiate cadet-athletes. I am confident he will set a culture and climate aligned with our core values. I look forward to him joining our team."
"I am incredibly excited by the honor and privilege of serving as the director of athletics at the Air Force Academy and the opportunity to join an exceptional team and first-class community, on and off base," said Knowlton. "I want to thank Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson and the search committee for their invitation to join the Academy family, and I am eager to
work with the Falcon cadet-athletes, coaches and staff. My family and I are very much looking forward to what lies ahead."
Care to learn more? Visit our group on Facebook through this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NACMTPT/
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