Thousands of loved ones fill Falcon Stadium as Air Force Academy Class of 2017 graduates

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Thousands watched the Air Force Academy Class of 2017 graduate on Wednesday, May 24.

It’s the moment they’ve been waiting for most of their young lives.

Since the summer of 2013, nearly a thousand Air Force Academy cadets have gone through grueling training that’s prepared them to continue their service and commitment to our country.

Loved ones filled Falcon Stadium as their cadets marched onto the field.

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Robert Farley said, “Mom, dad, I love you mom! I love you dad! Two sisters, grandmother, two aunts, an uncle, and my five best friends from back home came out.”

“It’s incredible, they supported me all these years and just to see them out here, sitting up there in that section is so great,” U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Levi Hilgenhold.

While it’s a day filled with tears of joy, the reality of war is still recognized.

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Hayley Weir said, “I think it’s amazing but I have to remember that it comes with a heavy responsibility so I think as long as I keep that in mind.”

Thanks to their time at the Academy, these outstanding men and women are ready for what’s next.

Hilgenhold said, “I’ll be going to Sheppard Air Force Base for pilot training. I want to be an astronaut.”

“I’m going to Clemson to go to grad school,” said Weir.

Farley said, “Then end goal is basically just to serve my country as best as I possibly can to inspire the youth and keep them going, that’s what it’s all about.”

With one final message and a salute from the nation’s highest ranking military officer, General Joseph Dunford Jr., Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, it was hats off to the Class of 2017.

“So many early mornings, so many late nights, so many hours of sleep that I wish I could get back but I mean the work that we put into it, this is what it’s all about right here, tossing that hat, as soon as they say we’re dismissed like that’s what it’s all about,” said Farley.

Many of them will go on to pilot training and even more will enter active duty but this milestone means they’re no longer cadets. They are dedicated to fighting for our freedom as United States Air Force officers.

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