Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, superintendent of the Air Force Academy, speaks Aug. 30 at a Distinguished Service Awards ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo/Trevor Cokley)

Few cities across our nation embrace the military as warmly as Colorado Springs. As the 2019 Air Force Falcons football regular season draws to a close, we at the Air Force Academy are once again reminded what an incredible community we are privileged to live, work, learn and serve in. Our team finished the regular season with 10 wins, a 6-0 record at Falcon Stadium, and ranked No. 24 in the nation — our first national ranking since 2010. It has been a season to remember, but we could not have done it without the outstanding support and enthusiasm of the Colorado Springs and Front Range community.

Our attendance this year was 162,505, averaging 27,084 fans per game, and the 41,401 who attended our victory against Army made up our largest crowd of the season. To all those who came out to support our Falcons this year — thank you.

This show of support propelled our team to its fourth-best regular season record in program history and a selection to play in the Cheez-It Bowl on Dec. 27, marking our 27th bowl appearance. On a Friday night at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix, the Falcons will take on the “Air Raid” offense of Washington State in the first gridiron meeting between our two schools. As these two high-powered offenses clash it is sure to be an exciting matchup, but I am confident that we can return home to Colorado Springs with our eighth consecutive victory. No matter the result, I am proud of what our team has accomplished this fall and heartened by the response we have received from a community that we are proud to call home.

As we look forward to some rest and recreation during the holiday season, we hope you will also consider supporting some of our other outstanding athletic programs. Opportunities to attend Division I athletic events are not limited to the football field — we have 27 men’s and women’s intercollegiate sports competing throughout the year in events open to the public. From the hockey rink to the basketball court, seasons are under way where you can enjoy watching Air Force cadets compete alongside the best athletes in our nation — and win.

Beyond athletics, our campus offers a number of other outstanding recreational opportunities. The public access hours for our north and south gates have been extended to 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. every day.

All you need is a valid driver’s license and proof of vehicle insurance and registration, and our grounds are open for visitors to explore.

Stop by our visitor’s center to learn more about our campus and its history. Whether it’s ice skating, horseback riding, or enjoying our miles of scenic hiking, biking and running trails, our grounds offer some of the best and most extensive outdoor recreation in the region.

Our newly reopened, state-of-the-art planetarium has become a popular destination for individual community members, school groups and tourists alike, offering two free shows per day, Monday through Friday. Come watch the IMAX movie “Fighter Pilot” to learn about a career that many of our cadets begin when they graduate from here each May. Special showings of the well-reviewed “Superpower Dogs” documentary run through the end of December.

We want the members of this community outside the gates of our academy to feel as welcome and supported as we do throughout Colorado Springs and the Front Range. This football season, we hosted more than 150 community groups at our games, held free concerts and even put on a free drone show.

We look forward to exploring more opportunities for outreach, engagement and entertainment in this community. This is your academy. We hope you will continue to take pride in it and explore all we have to offer.

To all who cheered for the Falcons during this remarkable season, thank you for your incredible support! There is still room at Falcon Stadium for more fans to join us, so next season we hope you will recruit your families, friends and neighbors to attend a game.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season, a safe and happy New Year — and go Falcons!

Come support the Falcons on Dec. 27 in Phoenix! Tickets for the Cheez-It Bowl and other USAFA athletic events can be purchased here: aftickets.com

Planetarium schedules can be found at: usafa.edu/academics/facilities/planetarium/

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria is the superintendent of the Air Force Academy.

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria is the Superintendent of the U.S. Air

Force Academy.


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