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Wings Over the Rockies

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December 11, 2020
Top Cover

Checkpoints Online
In December's issue of Checkpoints Online, learn how the Pandemic Math Team is working daily to keep cadets, faculty and staff safe. Watch the fascinating bonus video on that topic! Also read about the number of USAFA grads helping innovate artificial intelligence solutions, how our new superintendent is living his dream job and more!


Academy Superintendent Celebrates Thanksgiving with Cadets
U.S. Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark '86 encouraged cadets to be thankful for their friends, families and fellow cadets, as the Academy continues to function safely despite the coronavirus pandemic. He also thanked the Mitchell Hall staff for their care and concern for cadets and their efforts to provide them a full-course holiday meal.


Air Force Academy Looks to Become a Place for Space
The U.S. Air Force Academy has long been the training ground for cadets headed for careers in military space. But with the creation of a Space Force, the Colorado school is looking to expand the opportunities available to space-minded students.

  Space Place

Air Force Hits Record Retention Levels, Reviews Voluntary Force Management Efforts
The Department of the Air Force is seeing its highest retention levels in 20 years, second only to rates recorded shortly after 9/11.


Heritage Minute — Clune Arena
In this week's episode of Heritage Minute, Steve Simon '77 takes a look at the history of Clune Arena. The facility is home to Air Force basketball, volleyball, wrestling and the annual Wing Open boxing championships!

7258' — Your Association at Work
Read the latest issue of the AOG's newsletter.

Air Force Academy Foundation

Another Successful GivingTuesday
GivingTuesday was another successful online giving event for the Air Force Academy Foundation and the Association of Graduates. The initiative attracted 231 donors who gave $121,765 toward the Air Force Academy Fund ($35,631), class giving projects and other funds. Both organizations offer their thanks to everyone who donated.

  Giving Tuesday

Still Climbing
For Dave and Sue Ross, both 1983 Academy graduates, climbing has been a hallmark of their military, professional and personal lives. "We look at supporting USAFA as an investment with guaranteed dividends. We know what grads will do for the Air Force, our country, and their communities," Dave says, which made it easy for them to ascend to the Polaris Society level by revising their estate plan to include future support for the Air Force Academy.


End-of-Year Giving Guide Website
No matter how one donates to support the Air Force Academy, it is easy to make a difference. There are so many ways to give: cash, credit card, donor advised fund, IRA, securities, employer match and more! The End-of-Year Giving Guide online provides information on deadlines and requirements for most giving options.

Grads in the News

2020 Distinguished Graduate Honorees
If you missed the news last week, the United States Air Force Academy and the Association of Graduates announced the Distinguished Graduate honorees for 2020: Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jay Kelley '64, Mr. Hugh Williamson III '64, Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Ron Sega '74 and Col. (Ret.) Gail Benjamin Colvin '80. They join 46 fellow Academy graduates who have previously been honored as distinguished graduates.


NASA Names Artemis Team of Astronauts Eligible for Early Moon Missions
Kjell Lindgren '95 and Raja Chari '99 were among the 18 astronauts selected by NASA to form the Artemis Team and help pave the way for the next astronaut missions on and around the moon.


Former Falconer Remembered
The U.S. and New Jersey flags were flown at half-staff at all state buildings and facilities across New Jersey in honor of Capt. Kelliann (Seaman) Leli '12 who passed away Nov. 27 in a non-combat-related vehicle incident while on active duty at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.


Mission Support Group Welcomes New Commander
The 419th Mission Support Group welcomed a new commander during an assumption of command ceremony. Col. Jennifer Fiederer '98 assumed command of the five squadrons that make up the MSG. Prior to her assignment with the 419th MSG, Fiederer served as the commander of the 419th Force Support Squadron and as the deputy commander of the 419th Mission Support Group.


Groundbreaking AFSOC Pilot Retires
U.S. Air Force Col. Shelley Woodworth '92 retired after almost 29 years of dedicated service to the United States Air Force and Air Force Special Operations Command. Woodworth was the first female pilot in AFSOC, flying the MC-130P/J Combat Shadow, and went on to a distinguished career as a command pilot with over 3,500 flying hours.


Luke Air Force Base Pilot Reaches Rare Milestone, Surpasses 3k Flying Hours in F-16
Col. Sean "Double" Rassas '96 first knew he wanted to be a pilot at age 16 when he parked at the end of the runway at the Chicago Air and Water Show to watch the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform. From that point forward, he was laser-focused on turning that dream into reality. Now he's surpassed three thousand flying hours in the F-16 Fighting Falcon.


Best of Class Technology Award
Brock Predovich '05 and his team were awarded the dental industry's Best of Class Technology Award for emerging technologies.


Packers Salute Grad for 'Operation Fan Mail'
The Green Bay Packers paid special tribute last week to U.S. Air Force Capt. Crystal Staszak '15 and her family with Operation Fan Mail. That is a program that recognizes military families and veterans at each Packers home game and is continuing virtually to honor those who serve the country.


Air Force Academy Cadets Earn Prestigious Scholarships
Cadet 1st Class Aryemis Brown, a humanities and legal studies major, received the Rhodes scholarship, and Cadet 1st Class Emily Berexa, an aeronautical engineering major, received the Holaday scholarship.


Cadet Joint Domain Exercise Incorporates Cyber, Proves Successful
This exercise demonstrated the importance of cyberspace operations in joint operations and the additional complexity of coordinating multi-domain operations.


Cadets Research Cyber Security Through Virtual Partnership Project
As part of a continuing summer research project, two Systems Engineering cadets are partnering with a major nonprofit organization by developing cyber security for projects in the development phase; and they're doing it all virtually.

  Partnership Project

Aecom Wins Contract to Modernize Sijan Hall
Aecom will design a five-phase renovation that includes reconfigured shared spaces for studying and socializing, energy-efficient materials and systems, smart building technologies, improved daylighting, and geothermal energy and air conditioning. The consulting firm is also supporting the Air Force Academy with the restoration of the Cadet Chapel and the design of the new Madera Cyber Innovation Center.

  Sijan Hall
From the Bleachers

Air Force Rolls To 35-7 Win At Utah State
After allowing a touchdown to the Aggies on the opening drive of the game, the Falcons scored 35 unanswered points to win its second-straight game. Entering the game as the nation's leading rushing team at 336.5 yards rushing per game, Air Force was right on schedule, churning out 334 yards rushing on the ground.

• Air Force returns to action Dec. 19 at Army with the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy on the line. Gear up for the game with our Army Week page!


Air Force Runs Past Lamar, 59-44
Air Force men's basketball (2-1) defeated Lamar 59-44 in a non-conference game Saturday afternoon at Clune Arena. Senior Chris Joyce scored 23 points to lead the Falcons, who pulled away in the second half.


Award Winners and Record Breakers
Several Air Force Academy athletes received honors or broke records this past week.

Sefilina Maile Named MW Swimmer of the Week
Cole Armagost Named WAC Diver of the Week
Maria Mettler Crushes Air Force's 10K Record
Program Record Highlights Air Force Opener

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