U.S. Air Force Academy stamps take flight

April 2nd, 2004

During a heartfelt anniversary celebration, the U.S. Postal Service dedicated the U.S. Air Force Academy commemorative postage stamp today at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

"Through our postage stamps, we are proud to honor the people and events in our history who have made this nation great," said William T. Johnstone, Secretary of the presidentially appointed Postal Service Board of Governors, who dedicated the stamp. "And make no mistake; the Air Force has been a leader for the past 50 years in helping to keep this nation great."

Joining Johnstone at the ceremony were Lieutenant Colonel Lori Salgado, who served as master of ceremonies, and Lieutenant General John Rosa, Superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy.

On April 1, 1954-seven years after the National Security Act made the U.S. Air Force independent of the Army, and six years after a board of civilian and military educators determined that Air Force needs could not be met by expanding other service academies-President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation authorizing establishment of the academy.

Construction began the next year at an 18,000-acre site near Colorado Springs, CO. In July of 1955, the first class entered temporary facilities set up at Lowry Air Force Base near Denver. Cadets moved to the academy's permanent home in 1958, and the first class graduated from there in June 1959. Women were admitted in June 1976.

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