CONGRATULATING THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY ON ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY
(House of Representatives - March 30, 2004)

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[Pages H1693-H1695]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




    CONGRATULATING THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY ON ITS 50TH 
                              ANNIVERSARY

  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules 
and agree to the concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 386) 
congratulating the United States Air Force Academy on its 50th 
Anniversary and recognizing its contributions to the Nation.
  The Clerk read as follows:

                            H. Con. Res. 386

       Whereas on April 1, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower 
     signed legislation establishing the United States Air Force 
     Academy to prepare young men for careers as Air Force 
     officers;
       Whereas in July 1955, the first class entered the Air Force 
     Academy, attending classes in temporary facilities at Lowry 
     Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado;
       Whereas the Air Force Academy moved to its permanent home 
     near Colorado Springs, Colorado in August 1958;
       Whereas the first class of 207 cadets graduated in June 
     1959;
       Whereas in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed 
     legislation authorizing each of the Service Academies to 
     expand enrollment from 2,529 to 4,417 students, and today, 
     4,000 cadets attend the Air Force Academy;
       Whereas women were first admitted to the Air Force Academy 
     in June 1976, and the first class that included women 
     graduated in June 1980;
       Whereas 44 classes and 35,000 cadets have graduated from 
     the Air Force Academy in its 50-year history;
       Whereas the mission of the Air Force Academy is to inspire 
     and teach outstanding young men and women to become Air Force 
     officers and to prepare and motivate them to lead the Air 
     Force in its service to the Nation;
       Whereas the Air Force Academy is recognized worldwide as 
     the premier developer of aerospace officers and leaders with 
     impeccable character and knowledge; and
       Whereas April 1, 2004 marks the 50th anniversary of the 
     founding of the Air Force Academy: Now, therefore, be it
       Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate 
     concurring), That Congress--
       (1) congratulates the United States Air Force Academy on 
     its 50th Anniversary;
       (2) acknowledges the continued excellence of the United 
     States Air Force Academy and its critical role in the defense 
     of the United States; and
       (3) recognizes the outstanding service to the Nation that 
     graduates from the United States Air Force Academy have 
     provided.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from 
New Mexico (Mrs. Wilson) and the gentleman from Arkansas (Mr. Snyder) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from New Mexico (Mrs. Wilson).


                             General Leave

  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that 
all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and 
extend their remarks on the resolution under consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from New Mexico?
  There was no objection.
  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Wilson).
  Mr. WILSON of South Carolina. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman 
from New Mexico (Mrs. Wilson) for her leadership in proposing this 
resolution. I urge my colleagues to support H. Con. Res. 386 which 
congratulates the U.S. Air Force Academy on its 50th anniversary and 
recognizing its contributions to the Nation.
  It is particularly meaningful to me to be here today. I have several 
perspectives. In addition to being a Member of Congress, I am a veteran 
myself. I served 31 years in the Army National Guard. But I greatly 
appreciate the service of the Air Force. It has been extraordinary, the 
military professionalism that truly has been generated by the Air Force 
Academy.
  I had the extraordinary opportunity firsthand to accompany the 
gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Skelton), as the ranking member of the 
Committee on Armed Services, to visit Iraq last September; and I saw 
firsthand the success of the precision bombing which protected the 
civilian population and protected the schools and the mosques while the 
military targets were utterly destroyed in one of the most successful 
military operations in the history of the United States, protecting the 
American people from the terrorists by going after them in Afghanistan, 
going after them in Iraq. And American families are safer.
  Additionally, I am grateful to be a service academy parent. I know 
firsthand how academies promote the high standards of academics. 
Actually, my son went to an academy which is in the State of Maryland, 
not in the State of Colorado, but I do have great appreciation for the 
Academy.
  There are facts that should be known, that 32 cadets have been 
selected as Rhodes Scholars, including our colleague, the gentlewoman 
from New Mexico (Mrs. Wilson), who also has, I think, the great 
distinction of being the first female graduate of the Air Force Academy 
serving in Congress.
  Additionally, six cadets have accepted Marshall scholarships; nine 
cadets have received the Harry S. Truman scholarship; 92 cadets have 
been accepted as Guggenheim Fellows. There is so much to be 
appreciative of of the military service, the academic success of the 
Air Force Academy.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge support of the resolution.
  Mr. SNYDER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of House Concurrent Resolution 386 
introduced by the gentlewoman from New Mexico (Mrs. Wilson) and my 
colleague on the Committee on Armed Services; and I commend her on your 
efforts to recognize the 50th anniversary of the United States Air 
Force Academy.
  On April 1, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into the law 
a bill that established the United States Air Force Academy; and this 
Thursday, April 1, 2004, the Nation will recognize the 50th anniversary 
of this Academy and its efforts to inspire and develop outstanding 
young men and women as Air Force officers.
  However, the history of the Academy began long before the bill was 
signed by President Eisenhower. One of the first to recognize the need 
and to advocate for an air service academy was Brigadier General Billy 
Mitchell, often considered to be the father of the United States Air 
Force. He was an outspoken advocate of strategic air power, and he had 
attempted to establish an air school for many years.
  Progress on the Air Force Academy began in 1949 when Secretary of 
Defense James Forrestal established a board of military and civilian 
educators to recommend a general system of education for the services. 
The board, which was headed by Dwight D. Eisenhower, then president of 
Colombia University, and Robert L. Stearns, then president of the 
University of Colorado, recommended that an Air Force Academy be 
established; and this was done in 1954 under President Eisenhower's 
signature.
  The Academy's commitment to excellence began with its first class in 
July of 1955, which was comprised of 306 men who lived in temporary 
facilities at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado. Lieutenant 
General Hubert R. Harmon, recalled from retirement, became the first 
superintendent. The Cadet Wing moved to its current location 3 years 
later in 1958, and the first class graduated in 1959.
  In 1964, the academies were allowed to nearly double their enrollment 
to over 4,400 cadets. In 1976, the first class of women was allowed to 
attend the service academies, including the Air Force Academy. Since 
then, more than 35,000 cadets have graduated from the Air Force 
Academy, including 196 international cadets.
  The gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Wilson) recognized several of 
the scholarly attributes of cadet graduates, including 32 cadets who 
have been selected as Rhodes Scholars. I want to call attention to the 
fact that one of those is my colleague, the gentlewoman from New Mexico 
(Mrs. Wilson), who was also a Rhodes Scholar.
  I also want to recognize 31 cadets have accepted Fulbright-Hays 
scholarships. Probably even more importantly, Air Force cadet graduates 
are not only accomplished scholars but have also distinguished 
themselves on the battlefield. One hundred and twenty-nine graduates 
have been killed in combat; 36 graduates were prisoners of

[[Page H1694]]

war; two were combat aces; and one academy graduate, Captain Lance P. 
Sijan, received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his extraordinary 
heroism in Vietnam.
  Mr. Speaker, let me congratulate the United States Air Force Academy 
on its 50th anniversary and recognize the outstanding service that 
these graduates have provided to our country's defense.
  Once again, Mr. Speaker, let me thank my very special colleague, the 
gentlewoman from New Mexico (Mrs. Wilson), for her efforts to bring 
this bill forward as an Air Force Academy graduate.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1445

  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume, and I thank my colleague for his kind words.
  This resolution is cosponsored by 22 Members of the House, including 
the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Hefley) in whose district the academy 
is located, and a man named Sam Johnson who was honored in the library 
of the academy. It is a very young version of Sam Johnson that is 
honored there because he was one of the prisoners of war who served in 
the Air Force and was a prisoner of war during Vietnam; and, of course, 
the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Sam Johnson) is now one of our colleagues 
here in the House of Representatives.
  The gentleman from California (Mr. Hunter), who is chairman of the 
Committee on Armed Services, and the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. 
Murtha) has been a long-time leader in defense in the House of 
Representatives, and of course, the gentleman from California (Mr. 
Cunningham). I was a little surprised that the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Cunningham) cosponsored with me because he has always 
given me a hard time for being, I think he calls me an Air Force puke, 
which I take in a polite way. Of course, Duke was one of only two aces 
in the Vietnam War. Duke was a Navy pilot. The other one was Steve 
Ritchie, a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy.
  Thursday is the Air Force Academy's golden anniversary. It has been 
50 years since the President of the United States, Dwight David 
Eisenhower, established the Air Force Academy. It is in the Rampart 
Range of the Rocky Mountains at over 7,000 feet of altitude, over 
18,000 acres of campus in that beautiful State; but it was not for sure 
that it was going to be located in what seems now the perfect location 
for an air academy. St. Louis and Wisconsin were also finalists, and I 
think Colorado is now glad that they agreed to have the Aluminum 
University north of Colorado Springs.
  The mission of the Air Force Academy is to inspire and develop 
outstanding young men and women to become Air Force officers with 
knowledge and discipline, motivated to lead the world's greatest 
aerospace force in service to the Nation; and for 50 years, that is 
what the Air Force Academy has done.
  It has given us graduates who have known that maybe the real mission 
of the Air Force is to fly, fight, and win. It has given us graduates 
who have been distinguished in science, graduates who have earned the 
Medal of Honor, graduates who have been prisoners of war and returned 
home, graduates who did not return home.
  There are 4,000 cadets in the corps of cadets at the Air Force 
Academy, and every one of them applies to Members of this body, to the 
people's House, for the opportunity to attend that great institution 
and to become part of the long blue line. They accept the challenges 
not only of academics and of leadership, but also of ethics and 
character embodied in the honor code; and among graduates of the Air 
Force Academy, it is the honor code which to us sets the academy apart. 
We will not lie, steal, cheat, or tolerate among us anyone who does. 
That standard of ethics is the foundation of character for our military 
officers, and it is something that all of us as graduates are proud of.
  So, today, I hope that this House will join me and my colleagues in 
congratulating the Air Force Academy on its 50th anniversary and 
recognizing its service to the Nation. They have given us leaders of 
character for the Nation. I thank all of them for their service.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SNYDER. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the 
gentleman from Texas (Mr. Reyes), a member of the Committee on Armed 
Services and a Vietnam veteran helicopter crew chief.
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the 
time, and I am here to support and endorse this bill to congratulate 
the Air Force Academy.
  My first term in Congress I was a member of the Visitors Board of the 
Academy; but most importantly, the Air Force Academy offered my son an 
appointment. He wound up going to West Point, but it was not an easy 
decision for him to make; and it was always, for us, a great point of 
honor to have that offered to my son and, also, more than that, to see 
the quality of young men and women that come through that great 
facility.
  The academy, I think, symbolizes the best that this country has to 
offer through its national defense and its military.
  I also, if I could, would like to mention that I strongly endorse the 
bill that reimburses our military personnel for their R expenses, 
travel expenses here as they come back from Operation Iraqi Freedom and 
the operations in Afghanistan; and in addition to that, I think it is 
vitally important that this people's House endorses and supports 
awarding a different campaign medal for Afghanistan from one for 
Operation Iraqi Freedom and the battle in Iraq. Those are all important 
issues for all our military personnel.
  With that, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the time.
  Mr. SNYDER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. I 
have no further speakers and would close if it is appropriate.
  Mr. Speaker, I think this must be a special day for the gentlewoman 
from New Mexico (Mrs. Wilson) today, as an Air Force Academy graduate, 
to be able to carry this bill on the House floor commending the 50th 
anniversary of the Air Force Academy; and it is a pleasure to be here 
with her.
  I recognize the strong tradition of service that the Air Force 
Academy has had to this country, and I am proud to support and endorse 
this bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  On Thursday, at the Air Force Academy, the cadet area of the Air 
Force Academy is going to be designated as a national historic 
landmark; and for the 35,000 Americans who have walked around the 
corners of that terrazzo, it will be a special day.
  It is really a privilege and an honor to be here today to honor the 
Air Force Academy and to wish them all the best on the next 50 years.
  Mrs. MALONEY. Mr. Speaker, at a time when our men and women in 
uniform are deployed overseas, it is especially appropriate to 
acknowledge the contributions of the institution that has trained so 
many of our Air Force leaders. I join my fellow Americans in 
celebrating the United States Air Force Academy on its 50th 
anniversary.
  While the vast majority of cadets at this institution have gone on to 
distinguished careers of service that have made us all proud, it is 
unfortunate that the Academy's ineffective approach to the problem of 
sexual assault has tarnished the reputation of the Air Force Academy in 
the past decade. An investigation commissioned by Congress--chaired by 
former Congresswoman Tillie Fowler--made recommendations less than a 
year ago on how to improve the culture at the Air Force Academy to 
support victims of sexual assault.
  Mr. Speaker, the report makes clear that the recommendations made in 
the report are only a beginning to solving the problem of sexual 
assault at the U.S. Air Force Academy. It states that the common 
failure in each of the many efforts made to address this problem over 
the past decade was the ``absence of sustained attention to the problem 
and follow-up on the effectiveness of the solution.''
  It is essential that we, as Members of Congress, follow up on the 
recommendations made to ensure that the

[[Page H1695]]

culture of the Air Force Academy does not tolerate sexual assault, 
perpetrators are punished, and victims are supported. The reputation of 
such a distinguished institution should not continue to be frayed by 
its failure to effectively address this one important issue.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of our time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Whitfield). The question is on the 
motion offered by the gentlewoman from New Mexico (Mrs. Wilson) that 
the House suspend the rules and agree to the concurrent resolution, H. 
Con. Res. 386.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds of 
those present have voted in the affirmative.
  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and 
nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX and the 
Chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be 
postponed.

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