Air Force Academy Commencement...2013
Friends recently returned from a visit to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs where they attended the commencement exercises for the graduating class of 2013.
John's grandson was one of the graduates, and John, a retired U.S. Army officer, was able to swear in his grandson as a brand new Second Lieutenant.
What an honor that must have been for John and his family, but that's not the real story, nor is it the historic significance of the 2013 commencement celebration.
You see, 2013 is the first Air Force graduation on record that has occurred under a 'sequester' created by a non-functioning Congress and an unyielding Obama administration.
Due to having to operate under the 'sequester,' the graduation ceremonies proceeded as follows:
President Obama regretfully declined the invitation of the Commandant of the Air Force Academy to attend and to speak to the graduates and their families, saying that he was committed to addressing the graduates at West Point.
Instead, it was established that Vice President Joe Biden was 'free,' and he agreed to come to Colorado Springs.
The request for the usual fly-over by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds was declined due to 'sequestration.'
After consulting with his chain-of-command, the Commandant of the Air Force Academy notified the White House that, due to the 'sequester' canceling the traditional fly-over of the Thunderbirds, he was confident that the nation didn't need the added million-dollar expense to fly Air Force 2, of any configuration or model, and the added expense of the Secret Service and their entourage that was required whenever the Vice President traveled.
'So, cancel the request for a speaker from the White House for the commencement!'
And the commencement went off as planned, sans representation from the Obama administration!
It looked like this...
The featured speaker was an Under Secretary of the Air Force, a decorated Viet Nam veteran, who flew back and forth from Andrews AFB to Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs on a routine training flight conducted by the Air Force, thus costing American taxpayers nothing.
John told me that there were nearly as many Air Force officers in attendance as there were family members.
He estimated a dozen or more 4-star generals, three or four times as many 2-and-3 stars, and an untold number of 1-star generals... and countless colonels and below.
Most of these officers were graduates of the Air Force Academy, and they wanted nothing less than to present a perfect program for the graduating class.
And, since Congress and the Obama administration did not see fit to allow a fly-over by the Thunderbirds, a number of generals took matters into their own hands.
So, when the speeches were over, hats thrown into the air and family hugs were made, it became time for the fly-over... a roar of engines that was detected from west of the air strip and parade grounds at the facility, and everyone was treated to a fly-over by the Confederate Air Force.
Looking up they saw all kinds of vintage aircraft from B-17s B-24s, B-25s, P-38s, P-51s and others all represented by manufacturers such Corsairs, Grumman, Lockheed and Boeing, who still provide parts availability for these aircraft, flown by our heroes from prior conflicts who still see fit to stay active for services such as this.
It was a wonderful experience for all who were there!
Please join me in saluting these officers, who saw fit not to rob the 2013 graduating class of their day of celebration, and to our heroes who flew the planes for this worthy occasion and the many private donors who pitched in and covered the expenses involved in bringing these aircraft in to Colorado Springs from various locations across the country.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE SALUTE YOU!
One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it is worth watching!