The Air Force Academy


When Secretary of the Air Force, Harold E. Talbott announced on 24 June 1954 that the permanent home of the soon to be United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) would be at Colorado Springs, Colorado, came the word that the interim site for the USAFA would be Lowry AFB. Further, it was stated that the first cadets would enter training at Lowry in July of 1955. The first class of 306 young men started on July11, 1955 and thus began the tradition and honor of the Air Force Academy at Lowry AFB. The cadets were to call Lowry home for the next four years.

Lowry AFB’s USAF Academy “Doolies, ”first-year (freshmen )cadets in formation. Cadets would fallin, line up at arm’s length, and march in step “en masse” to school, dining, or other activities where their presence was required as a group. The origin of the term “doolie” may have originated from the Greek language word “doulos,” translation “slave.”
Doolies in formation near the original USAF Academy school buildings at LowryAFB, including Bldg. 905.
Cadets marching out of Bldg. 905 to their next designated location (dinner?).
Doolies marching to the Mess Hall (AKA“ Dining Facility,” “ChowHall”). Given the length of the shadows, this would be early morning at first daylight or late evening.
Doolies experiencing their first meal after having received a proper haircut at the Base Barber Shop. Utensils are all properly lined up along side the plates…one of the first demonstrations of discipline in every aspect of their lives to be experienced over the impending next four years of their lives at the Academy.
Cadets preparing for a meal, wearing their newly acquired uniforms and sporting a proper head of hair. Cadets would gather around their respective designated tables, then, after having assumed a position of attention behind their chairs, would sit in unison upon command to consume their meal within a given time frame.
Cadets having been properly seated in the dining hall would attempt to sit at attention, properly wielding their eating utensils while politely masticating their properly prepared and served food. NO slouching permitted! Proper posture was to be maintained at all times! Most comply. Those who don’t would receive demerits (gigs) and suffer the consequences.
Cadet Dale Griffin (circa1955-1959) with his issued footlocker. Footlockers contained the entirety of one’s personal possessions while in attendance at the Academy. Footlockers were usually located in a permanent position at the foo t of one’s bunk, and often opened during inspections. There was also a dedicated room in the barracks utilized for the storage of one’s personal baggage as well, typically located on the top floor of a two-story barracks building.
Jack Kieder and Robby, August 1955, in front of student barracks building 892. Upperclassmen would keep the underclassmen standing tall and would ensure their charges were also impeccably dressed I/A/W the uniform code!
A side-note: Walt Disney Studios were contracted to design the original USAFA student uniforms!
Individual fitness in terms of mind, body, and soul were provided for at the academy. Believing that physical fitness is the key to success at the Academy, especially during Cadet’s Basic Training while in their freshman year, regular exercising activities were a part of a cadet’s daily life. This photo depicts the Doolies participating in such exercises!
Cadets are presented the opportunity to specialize in various fields of endeavor while students
at the Academy. Having endured the rigors of study involving the mechanics of flight, some USAF cadets become pilots. This photo depicts a cadet sitting in the cockpit of a Lockheed P-80/T-33 “Shooting Star.”
Instructor and student returning from a training flight in a T-33 Shooting Star.