Free tickets for the Air Force Academy's Class of 2018 graduation ceremony on May 23 will be available to the public starting Monday, the academy announced.
About 600 free tickets will be dispensed on a first-come, first-served basis next week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC, 102 S. Tejon St., No. 430, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, 166 Second St., in Monument.
Up to five tickets per individual will be available, but they must be picked up in person.
The ceremony is to begin at 9:30 a.m. May 23 at the Academy's Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs.
Defense Secretary James Mattis will deliver a commencement speech to 1,000 newly commissioned second lieutenants as they complete their academy studies and begin their Air Force careers.
The last defense secretary to deliver the address at an AFA graduation was Robert Gates in 2007.
Tickets are required, and people should arrive by 8:30 a.m. Gates will close at 9 a.m. Once the graduation starts, guests cannot leave until the Air Force Thunderbirds' aerial performance ends about 1 p.m., an academy news release said.
In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to Clune Arena, in the Falcon Athletic Center. Only cadet families and distinguished guests will be allowed in that venue.
On graduation day, spectators will pass through metal detectors to enter the stadium and may have their personal items inspected.
Drinks are not allowed except in clear, sealed water bottles. Sunscreen is restricted to one 6-ounce non-aerosol container per person. Strollers, alcohol, backpacks, large handbags and coolers will not be allowed in the stadium.
Visit usafa.edu/about/traditions/graduation for the full list of restrictions.