COLORADO SPRINGS – In a day Air Force Academy cadets and their families are sure not to forget, President Donald Trump shook the hand of and salute all 989 members of the Class of 2019.
Trump also honored two cadets by calling them up to the stage to recognize them for accomplishments. He congratulated Nic Ready for hitting 55 home runs in the 2018 college home run derby for and Parker Hammond for his perseverance to complete his education while battling cancer.
This graduating class is made up of 731 men and 258 women representing 11 countries and accruing a cumulative GPA of 3.07.
Following graduation, all graduates will be required to fulfill a 5-year service commitment. However, many will serve longer than that. For the 579 who attend pilot training, they’ll incur 10 years of service time after earning their wings. Graduates specializing in remotely piloted aircraft programs will incur a 6-year commitment.
Sticking with a speech that was mostly free of political rhetoric President Trump told the entire class:
“You’re going to push it up and chart your course across the sky. Keep the wings level and true because your country is sending you on a vital mission to defend America, defend our people and to pursue our nation’s great and glorious destiny. Nothing will stop you from victory, nothing will stop the US Air Force and with your help, nothing ever, ever will stop the United States of America.”
At the conclusion of today’s ceremony the cadets took the oath of office to become 2nd lieutenants.
There was increased security across Colorado Springs due to President Trump’s visit. He arrived at Peterson Air Force Base to be greeted by local elected officials, including members of the Colorado Springs city council. Supporters and protesters gathered where they could to see the motorcade head down I-25 to the Academy.
Many filled parking lots in the northeastern portion of the city to catch a glimpse of the US Air Force Thunderbirds. The performance was shorter than normal, however. The team circled the city for about 20 minutes prior to their demonstration.
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