Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Air Force Academy Spirit

Base picnic culminates end of school year

Barrett Giger takes a try at dunking Chief Master Sgt. Todd Salzman, Academy command chief, during the base picnic. Photo by Rachel Boettcher

Barrett Giger takes a try at dunking Chief Master Sgt. Todd Salzman, Academy command chief, during the base picnic. Photo by Rachel Boettcher

By Ann Patton

Academy Spirit staff


Perfect timing topped off the success of this year’s Academy picnic June 11 as threatening dark clouds held off pouring hail and rain on the Academy until it was over.

This year’s picnic pulled out all the stops with tons of food, games, displays and entertainment. Plus, it has a new home at Falcon Stadium which allowed events to be more evenly spaced and parking more convenient.

“We wanted to hit every age group this year,” said coordinator Master Sgt. Ernest Medina, superintendent with the Academy Preparatory School.

He called it an “awesome, very professional event” and credited the hard work of many to put it together.

“If it weren’t for the base agencies coming together, it would not have been possible,” he said.

Sergeant Medina said the picnic is in celebration of the culmination of school year events which began last year.

Tots to ‘tweeners had their choice of carnival games like darts, bean bag and ring toss to miniature golf. There was a climbing wall, bounce house, horseback riding compliments of the Equestrian Center, fishing competitions and a dunking booth. Grownup kids played tug of war, basketball, flag football and softball and competed in the Front Range adventure team challenge.

Also on hand were the Wild Blue Country band from the Academy Band, and the Wheels of Blue with sparkling, white-glove clean restored classic cars and trucks including a ’72 Corvette Stingray, a ’71 Mustang Mach 1 and a ’34 Plymouth Coupe.

Picnickers of all ages had the chance to meet The Girls of the West as they signed autographed copies of the Pikes Peak or Bust brochure, see Rocky and Kelly, military working dogs from the 10th Security Forces Squadron, demonstrate their prowess in patrol work and detection, ask questions from Academy firefighters from the 10th Civil Engineer Squadron and meet the falcon mascots from the Academy’s Cadet Falconry Team. The Wings of Blue dropped in promptly at noon.

And, of course, there was food and plenty of it. Burgers and dogs cooked on the grill, chips, salads, cookies and drinks chilled in canoes kept hunger at bay while picnickers enjoyed the activities.

Col. Rick LoCastro, 10th Air Base Wing commander, drove his ’71 Oldsmobile Cutlass to the picnic and put it on display as well. He has had the car since high school and estimates it has more than 160,000 miles on it, which includes miles he drove it as a cadet.

“It still purrs like a kitten,” he reported.

The colonel said the picnic is a good thing to do for the base, and he gave a hat tip to those who worked to make it “bigger, better and bolder.”

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