The Air Force Academy is the youngest of the U.S. service academies. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a congressional bill establishing the Air Force Academy on April 1, 1954. It was the intent of the Air Force to create a landmark equal to that of West Point, Annapolis or any other highly visible national asset.

On June 14, 1954, the then Secretary of the Air Force, Harold E. Talbott, chose the present site and, on the same day, named a corner of Lowery AFB, Colorado, as the temporary site of the Academy while the permanent site was being constructed. The dedication of the temporary site and the swearing in of the first class (306 cadets) took place on July 11, 1955. Lt. Gen Hubert R. Harmon, who had been involved in much of the pre-legislation Academy planning, was recalled from retirement to become the first Superintendent. The first class of cadets to include women entered in 1976, and graduated in 1980.

The Academy received two special honors on April 1, 2004 when the U.S. Postal Service celebrated the Academy’s 50th anniversary with a commemorative 37-cent stamp. Additionally, the Academy’s cadet area was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

USAF Academy Mission

The mission of the United States Air Force Academy is to educate, train, and inspire men and women to become leaders of character, motivated to lead the United States Air Force in service to our nation.

Core Values:  Integrity First. Service Before Self. Excellence in All We Do.

These values guide all members of the U.S. Air Force, not just Academy cadets. From day one these values are memorized and internalized to serve as the foundation and unifying element of a cadet's commitment to themselves, their comrades and their country. Our core values are our North Star.

The Key Components of the United States Air Force Academy Essence

Developing Character and Leadership / Focusing on the Air Force Mission in Air, Space and Cyberspace / Immersing Cadets in a Total Experience / Harmonizing STEM and the Liberal Arts / Competing / Internalizing the Air Force Ethos / Exposing Cadets to Air Force Professional Culture / Maintaining and Exemplary Installation

The US Air Force Academy is a Direct Reporting Unit (DRU).

The Air Force Academy is the youngest of the U.S. service academies. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a congressional bill establishing the Air Force Academy on April 1, 1954. It was the intent of the Air Force to create a landmark equal to that of West Point, Annapolis or any other highly visible national asset. On June 14, 1954, the then Secretary of the Air Force, Harold E. Talbott, chose the present site and, on the same day, named a corner of Lowery AFB, Colorado, as the temporary site of the Academy while the permanent site was being constructed. The dedication of the temporary site and the swearing in of the first class (306 cadets) took place on July 11, 1955. Lt. Gen Hubert R. Harmon, who had been involved in much of the pre-legislation Academy planning, was recalled from retirement to become the first Superintendent. The first class of cadets to include women entered in 1976, and graduated in 1980. The Academy received two special honors on April 1, 2004 when the U.S. Postal Service celebrated the Academy’s 50th anniversary with a commemorative 37-cent stamp. Additionally, the Academy’s cadet area was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior. For more information, visit the USAF Academy's homepage.

Approximate installation population:

  • 1,750 active duty
  • 4,000 cadets
  • 1,875 civilians

The Colorado Springs area population growth is on the rise.

Colorado Springs Metro Area: 755,105 

Population Type

Number

Cadets

4,000

Active Duty Officer

1,000

Active Duty Enlisted

1,000

Family Members

4,500

Retirees

41,000+

Civilian Employees

1,600

Reserve Component Officers

15

Component Enlisted

25

According to Best Places, the overall cost of living index for Colorado Springs is 105, which is 5 points above the national average of 100. Housing is the biggest factor in the cost of living difference: USA-100, Colorado-156, Colorado Springs-124. The local cost of housing is projected to increase by up to 20% by June 2023. 

Please plan ahead for housing; both rental and sale accommodations are currently scarce and rental or mortgage payment may be above BAH received.

Indexes above the national average of 100 are Goods and Services, 104; Healthcare, 107; and Housing. About equal to the national index are Transportation, 99 and Utilities, 99. Groceries are below average at 94.

Located at the foothills of the beautiful Rocky Mountains, the US Air Force Academy is located northwest of Colorado Springs, CO. Serviced by the Colorado Springs Airport, located 15 miles south of the Academy, Colorado Springs is a military town that continues to experience tremendous growth. "The Springs", as we are known, is an above average cost of living area, with housing prices above the national average. The median list price-or midpoint- of homes is $499,900; up about 16% year after year. The median listing price per square foot is about $213.

Directions from Colorado Springs Airport

The Academy is located approximately 15 miles northwest of the Colorado Springs Airport. As you exit the airport, drive west on Milton E. Proby Pkwy. Merge onto S Academy Blvd/CO-83, go 1.9 miles, then merge onto I-25 N toward Colorado Springs. Take the Academy Blvd exit, EXIT 150, toward CO-83. Keep left to take the ramp toward the US Air Force Academy South Entrance. Turn left onto N Academy Blvd, cross over I-25 then continue towards South Gate Blvd. There is no military shuttle service to and from the airport.

 Directions from Denver International Airport

If arriving at Denver International Airport (DIA), follow the signs to exit DIA Access Plaza on Pena Boulevard. Follow Pena Boulevard approximately 9 miles and exit on westbound I-70. From I-70, exit on southbound I-225. From I-225, exit on southbound I-25. You can also take the E470 Toll Road from Pena Boulevard to southbound I-25 exit, about 30 miles, with a cost of approximately $20.00 which you will be billed for. Continue southbound on I-25 to either Academy north gate (exit 156) or south gate (exit 150) entrance. DIA is approximately 80 miles North of the Academy. Please be advised; this route will traverse Monument Hill (elevation: 7,254 ft). Monument Hill can be icy during winter months.

Base Gate Access

Traveler can enter the Air Force Academy through two entrance gates; the South Gate and the North Gate. The South Gate, a 24 hours entry point, is located off I-25 at North Academy Blvd, Exit 150. The North Gate is located off I-25 at North Gate Blvd, Exit 156. Please note: The North Gate is only open from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm daily.

The Academy is located 50 miles south of Denver, and is 10 miles northwest of downtown Colorado Springs. Approach Colorado Springs via I-25 from either north or south, and take exit 156 (North Gate) or 150 (South Gate) to enter the Academy. North gate entry point is open from 5:00 am-10:00 pm. The south gate entry point is open 24/7. The Academy is located between I-25 and the mountains.

Directions from Bus Station

The Greyhound-TNM & O Bus Station is located at 120 South Weber (at Cucharras), in downtown Colorado Springs. From the bus station, head south to Cimarron (US 24), take Cimarron west towards the mountains. Just a few blocks ahead is the entrance to I-25 North. Take I-25 (northbound) for approximately 10 miles to Exit 150, stay in the far-left exit lane, turn left and enter the Academy via the South Gate.

Directions to Rampart Lodge at USAF Academy from installation entry points

If arriving from the north, take exit 156, veer to the right, and you will enter the Academy via the north gate on North Gate Boulevard. Stay on North Gate Blvd. for approximately one-quarter mile, then turn left on Stadium Blvd. for one quarter mile to Academy Drive; turn right on Academy Drive. Stay on Academy Drive for approximately 2 miles; after cresting the hill, turn right (the Falcon Club will be on your left), then turn right again. Rampart Lodging office will be on your left.

If arriving from the south, take exit 150, stay in the far left exit lanes, and at the traffic lights, turn left. You are on Stadium Boulevard, the south gate entry point if just ahead. Stay on Stadium Blvd. for approximately 3 miles. You will pass the Thunderbird Overlook on your right, stay on Stadium Blvd. past Falcon Stadium, then turn left onto Academy Drive. Stay on Academy Drive for approximately 2 miles; after cresting the hill, turn right (the Falcon Club will be on your left), then turn right again. Rampart Lodging office will be on your left.

There are no longer base operators at the USAF Academy. Please use Military Installations content to find specific organizations or information.