Saturday, September 20, 2014

United States Air Force Academy - Let's Go Zoomies

The Cadet Chapel

"We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does. ~ Cadet Honor Code

Below a spectacular summit named Eagle, we spent a stormy, summer weekend playing in a soccer tournament at the United States Air Force Academy. The athletic fields were immaculate and the opening day atmosphere was electric. We were focused on our ordinary lives and our children competing at that time.

Some may have failed to look across the way where soldiers were practicing sports like soccer, baseball and football. Make no mistake though, it wasn't all fun and games for those young men and women stationed in Colorado Springs studying the art of military warfare. We complained about parking, the heat and losing but did that really matter?

The politics associated with youth soccer are just insignificant nonsense compared to the lessons being taught over the wall. Up on The Terrazzo, cadets are struggling to survive one of the most rigorous academic and military training programs in the world. They are required to discard all personal effects and learn to live off of bare necessities.

It's a place where hard work, service and loyalty are truly rewarded. The students learn how to follow orders, survive in the wilderness and become respected leaders of men and women. Bound by discipline and tradition, doolies (freshmen) have significant restrictions placed on their movements and actions. The Fourth-class cadets hustle across campus constrained by a white marble grid decorating the square pavilion.

The spiritual centerpiece of the complex is considered to be a prominent example of modern, American architecture. The artistic, 17-spired Cadet Chapel is a solemn sanctuary where warriors go to pray before being shipped out to hostile conflicts across the globe. The building was designed in a distinct, modernist style, and makes extensive use of aluminum on the exterior, suggesting the outer skin of an aircraft or spacecraft.

I can only agonize over how awful it must be to fight in a war but these brave souls have willfully volunteered to defend our country and our freedom. There has been recent controversy about illicit behavior on the base but cordial interactions with polite cadets made our stay a positive experience. As for the athletic programs, I'm their new biggest fan. Let's go Zoomies.

Soccer below Eagle Peak

The Terrazzo

A rigorous military training program

A spiritual centerpiece

The artistic, 17-spired Cadet Chapel

The place warriors go to pray

Interior design of the chapel

Let's go Zoomies

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