USAFA Class Budgets

I have heard a few cries over the last week on this months ole cadet paycheck.  Ouch!  Even from my own.  “Hey, mom, can you send me that paycheck spreadsheet?” With school starting, books to pay for and the ever awaited wifi for $29.95 a month, a little pre budgeting may go a long way.

Technology has spoiled us.  No longer the paper ledgers, pencils, and calculators like I first used nearly thirty years ago newly married.  We now have Excel to pump out and crunch those numbers so we can stay within our limits or predict a shortfall.  Or better yet, one of those fancy apps that ties into your bank account and kicks out a pie graph telling you (and your husband) how much you just spent on that new outfit.  Thanks

And thanks to USAFA, the cadets have a tool they can use too that will enable them to budget with the wisest.  A proposed budget spreadsheet that estimates their income and expenses by month over the next year.

As you know, our 2019 cadets received an advance in pay to purchase the uniforms needed.  The tiered payback structure takes out different amounts every month until the debt is paid off.  If your cadet received any scholarship money toward books, their paycheck is a bit larger than some of their counterparts.  Also upping the game and another financial tool to use is USAA’s banking program that allows you to code your expenses.  This can be printed and taken to the accountant at the end of the year.

Hopefully this helps our cadets plan out their finances over the next year with confidence. You can click the Approved Budgets for AY16-17 for all class proposed budgets.

2019 USAFA Spirit Mission Officer Nominations

Class of 2019 Spirit Mission Officer Nominations are Open!

call for nominations

As every Class of 2019 parent would agree, TIME FLIES! A little over a year ago our “kids” were boarding the bus bound for BCT. During this past Doolie year, our Cadets have gone from being a “basic”, to becoming Accepted and then finally Recognized by the Cadet Wing, and now they proudly wear the shoulder boards of a 3rd Degree Cadet. And the Class of 2019 Spirit Mission has been there the entire way to help support them and celebrate their landmark events! Now we prepare to join them on this next exciting step in their Academy journey.

We are looking for nominations for the four open 2019 Spirit Mission officer positions: President, 2 Vice Presidents, and Treasurer (the Secretary has a two-year term to ensure continuity). In addition to supporting the President, the two Vice President positions will support one or more of the Spirit Mission committees. All positions may need to interact with the Class of 2019 Cadet Officers and Class Cabinet as needed or requested.

In order to make everything as simple as possible, we are giving people the opportunity to nominate themselves. To nominate yourself, simply state the position you would like to serve and provide a brief “bio” so that other members of the 2019 Spirit Mission parent community can get to know you and your qualifications (please keep them to 150 words or so). The nominations will then be sent to the Class of 2019 Spirit Mission general members for a vote. Elected officers will serve one year from November, 2016-October, 2017. Nominations will be open until the end of July, with the list of candidates and their “bio’s” being sent out in August, and the election held in September.

Please send your nominations to


2019! STRONG!

Polaris Warrior 2016


In the dark, early morning hours of April 30th, 2016, the Cadet Wing donned layers of cold weather gear to participate in Polaris Warrior. Despite snow and cold, the once delayed event was embraced by the Class of 2019 and their fellow Wingmen. This annual training event is designed to challenge cadets physically and mentally, and the goal is simple:  ensuring that this nation’s future leaders are fully prepared to meet the challenges of deployment in all circumstances and environments.

The Polaris Warrior Competition consists of ten events.

The six compulsory events in which each squadron must complete are:

Mobile Operations in Urban Terrain
Combat Arms Training and Maintenance
Self-Aid and Buddy Care
Obstacle Course
Battlefield Airman
Land Navigation

Optional events include:

Eagle’s Peak Hike
Physical Training Challenge
Falcon Stadium Sprint
Historical Tour

The leadership for this event rests squarely upon the capable shoulders of the junior class. For these rising seniors, who will take on key squadron and wing positions in the near future, Polaris Warrior provides an opportunity to practice and refine leadership styles.

As the sun sets in Colorado Springs today, one can only imagine the tired smiles upon the faces of the Polaris Warriors. Another mission accomplished. Another one looms on the horizon…for which they will certainly be prepared.

2019 Class Exemplar: Neil Armstrong

This fall, the class of 2019 will take part in their next Milestone: the Exemplar Dinner.

Every class since 2000 has chosen a class exemplar. According to USAFA,
“The Cadet Exemplar Program is an avenue for each Academy class to honor and identify with a past military giant, alive or dead. It is designed to link our nation’s rich heritage with our boundless future. As such, the heroes who are chosen epitomize the personal characteristics that each class of cadets seeks to emulate.

The goal of the Cadet Exemplar Program is to build officers with a strong foundation in our nation’s and our military’s heritage in order to advance into the future as a united aerospace force. Past class exemplars have included Gen. Carl Spaatz, Lt. Gen. Jimmy Doolittle, Brig. Gen. William “Billy” Mitchell and Capt. Lance P. Sijan.

The selected class exemplar not only becomes the cadets’ honorary class leader, but also the very namesake and identity of that particular class.  Throughout the cadets’ career, the Exemplar becomes the focal point of inspiration for the cadets as they prepare for their roles as Air Force officers and future leaders.

In short, the Cadet Exemplar Program strives to form unbreakable unity between past leaders and today’s future leaders so that the critical values of Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do will continue to prosper at the Air Force Academy and in the nation as a whole.”

“To build officers with a strong foundation in our country and our military’s heritage in order to advance into the future as a united Aerospace Force.”


Neil_Armstrong_poseThe class of 2019 has chosen Neil Armstrong (1930-2012). Mr. Armstrong received his light pilot license at the age of 16, a precursor of what was to come. He attended Purdue University, studying aeronautical engineering for two years before being called up by the U.S. Navy. The Navy sent Armstrong to Pensacola NAS for pilot training, where he served on active duty for three years before separating. Upon separation, Armstrong became a test pilot for NACA (now known as NASA). In 1958, he was selected to the U.S. Air Force Man In Space Soonest program. As a test pilot for the X-15, he was one of the first Americans to almost reach space itself; and then became the first man to walk on the moon, delivering his now famous quote, “That is one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Recipient of: the Presidential Medal of Freedom; the Congressional Gold Medal; the Congressional Space Medal of Honor; the Explorers Club Medal; the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy; the NASA Distinguished Service Medal; the Harmon International Aviation Trophy; the Royal Geographic Society’s Gold Medal; and many more.

Welcome, Class of 2020 Parents and Families!

class 2020For most of us, it is less than one year ago when we either dropped off our Darling Son (DS) or Darling Daughter (DD) at USAFA or at the airport.  This is different than a civilian college experience in that we are limited in the amount of contact we can have with our son or daughter from the moment they enter the Academy.  While other parents can wean themselves away at their own pace, our contact and communication are cut off abruptly.  Similarly, the entrance into college for our Cadets is not gradual; they have to go through the hardest part first.  The “good-bye” is abrupt for us but it’s equally challenging for them, as they launch their college experience with Basic Cadet Training.

In the midst of this unique experience, we have found a community of like-minded parents and a USAFA family who has welcomed us, embraced us, understood us, and kept us going.  We have found strength, camaraderie, and solace in this community.  For this reason, we want to share what we have learned with you, in hope that our perspective may enhance your own experience as a USAFA parent.


Rocio Watkins, Ed.D.

On Behalf of the Class of 2019 Spirit Mission Committee

Read the advice HERE!

Uncle Sam wants you to register to vote!

Uncle Sam

For most of our cadets, this will be the first time they are eligible to vote in a presidential election. Unless they are Colorado Springs residents, they will need to register to vote as an absentee.

If your cadet is home on leave for Spring Break, this would be an excellent time to get registered. They may not get the opportunity to actually go to a poll, but they can mail in their ballot.

Here is a link to give to your cadet to register to vote absentee.


March.13.16Thanks to all of you we have reached 88% of our fundraising goal, over $44,000 against a goal of $50,000! This is an amazing accomplishment because of all of your many kind donations.

Part of this success comes from staying informed.  If you haven’t signed up to “follow” this blog, please consider doing so today.  Look for a blue button on the right column that says FOLLOW. There is a wealth of information that comes from this Spirit Mission website.

If you are new to our group or have not had a chance to donate yet, please consider donating soon to help serve our 2019 Cadets.  There are plenty of opportunities for us to support our Cadets!!

The next Milestone to look forward to is the Exemplar Dinner (honoring Neil Armstrong – 2019! STRONG!) this fall.  Check out our Milestone page to learn more.

Thanks to all and let’s redouble our efforts to meet our fundraising goal quickly! We can do this!

Lori Johns

President- USAFA Class of 2019 Spirit Mission