––Rachel S. Cohen
President Donald Trump engages with the crowd during his speech at the US Air Force Academy's 2019 commencement ceremony in Colorado on May 30, 2019. Twitter video screenshot via the White House.
President Donald Trump praised the “record number” of space operators in the US Air Force Academy’s Class of 2019 in a speech at the Colorado school’s graduation ceremony May 30.
“In this stadium today are many of the future leaders who will develop the doctrine, strategy, and technology to restore America's legacy of leadership in space,” Trump said, touting his push to establish a Space Force. “It is a time for America to reclaim the ultimate high ground and prepare our young warriors of today for victory on the battlefield tomorrow. It's a very different battlefield, it's a very different type of warfare.”
Nearly 1,000 cadets—74 percent men and 26 percent women, of which 31 percent are minorities—graduated from USAFA with an average cumulative GPA of 3.07, according to Academy statistics. One-fifth of those who were inducted left before their four years were up.
About 525 graduates will head to pilot training—the highest number in nine years, 55 will become cyber operators, around 45 will go to remotely piloted aircraft training, 32 will become space operators, five to combat systems operator training, and two to air battle manager courses, according to the Academy. Around 100 more people will start pilot training than did last year; the number of graduates shrunk in the other three categories in 2019.
Congratulations to our #Classof2019 @AF_Academy graduates -- our newest #USAF leaders. pic.twitter.com/60OueN9eJ6— Dr. Heather Wilson (@SecAFOfficial) May 30, 2019
Congratulations to our #Classof2019 @AF_Academy graduates -- our newest #USAF leaders. pic.twitter.com/60OueN9eJ6
All academy graduates face at least five years of service plus additional time depending on which field they enter.
“I am committed to building the Air Force we need with the full strength of 386 squadrons,” Trump said. “Nothing will ever strike more fear in the hearts of our enemies or inspire more confidence in our friends than the roaring engines of American fighter jets.”
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