Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Air Force Academy Spirit

Former superintendents return to Academy

Former Air Force Academy superintendents stand at attention for pass and review during a noon meal formation at the Academy Feb. 2. Photo by Rachel Boettcher

Former Air Force Academy superintendents stand at attention for pass and review during a noon meal formation at the Academy Feb. 2. Photo by Rachel Boettcher

By Steve Simon

Academy Class of 1977

In Major League Baseball, teams will occasionally bring back their retired superstars for “Legends of the Game” events. The all-stars return to the scene of their heroics and visit with current talent, touring the facilities, catching up on the latest happenings, and sharing their secrets and wisdom. These events are always popular with the fans, who enjoy seeing and visiting with the people who played such prominent roles in the history and the overall success of the organization.

Something very similar took place at the Air Force Academy Feb. 1-3 when Lt. Gen. Mike Gould hosted his predecessors at a former superintendents’ conference. Seven of the nine living former superintendents attended, most accompanied by their wives.

Attending were:

– Lt. Gen. Robert Kelley, ninth superintendent (June 1981 – June 1983)

– Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott Jr., 10th superintendent (June 1983 – June 1987), and Mrs. Scott

– Lt. Gen. Charles Hamm, 11th superintendent (June 1987 – June 1991) and Mrs. Hamm

– Lt. Gen. Bradley Hosmer (Class of 1959), 12th superintendent (June 1991 – June 1994) and Mrs. Hosmer

– Lt. Gen. Tad Oelstrom (Class of 1965), 14th superintendent (August 1997 – June 2000) and Mrs. Oelstrom

– Lt. Gen. John Dallager (Class of 1969), 15th superintendent (June 2000 – April 2003) and Mrs. Dallager

– Lt. Gen. John Regni (Class of 1973), 17th superintendent (October 2005 – June 2009) and Mrs. Regni.

The visit was short but action-packed, starting with a mixer at the Carlton House Feb. 1. Guests particularly seemed to enjoy touring the superintendent’s quarters, reliving their time as residents of the historic and stately Carlton House.

After a relaxing first evening, they were put through their paces the following day, with an ambitious 14-hour schedule. After receiving briefings from the Academy senior staff, they toured some of the new facilities in the Cadet Gym. They then donned hard hats to tour Vandenberg Hall, first stopping by the gutted section, and then continuing to the remodeled section. Their tour continued with stops to learn about astronautics and language programs.

The Cadet Wing paid tribute to the former superintendents with a Cadet Wing parade. General Gould deferred reviewing officer honors to the retired generals, leading to the sight of the seven officers smartly saluting tomorrow’s leaders as they passed in review. The cadets gave the former superintendents a rousing ovation at Mitchell Hall.

Afterward, General Gould held a superintendents-only discussion. From there, the generals and their wives attended a retirement ceremony for long-time superintendent’s secretary Margret Ingle before the conference concluded with a dinner at the Falcon Athletic Center.

The last former superintendents’ conference was held in 2002.

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