Academy releases security guidelines for graduation ceremony
The Air Force Academy released its security guidelines for the Class of 2019 graduation ceremony, May 30 at Falcon Stadium.
Earlier this month, 19,000 tickets to the ceremony were given to graduating cadets and their families and friends. Since then, all available tickets to the ceremony have been distributed to the general public. Service members and civilian employees at the Academy are encouraged to check at their place of work for extra tickets.
Service members, their families, civilian employees and cadets at the Academy are encouraged to return any extra ticket to their organization to be distributed.
The graduation ceremony is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. Due to security screening requirements for the Graduation speaker and the very large number of guests expected, those attending the Graduation Ceremony on May 30 are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to arrive as early as possible. The base gates will be opening at 6 a.m. to allow traffic to reach the stadium and begin parking. The stadium personnel gates will be opening at 7:30 a.m. to allow attendees to process through security. High volumes of vehicular traffic and long security wait times are expected, so please plan accordingly in order to be in your seat at the start of the ceremony.
Those attending the ceremony must possess a ticket. Tickets are required for all individuals, including children. All persons and their personal belongings entering the stadium are subject to an inspection, which may result in a search.
Guests may be asked to step through metal detectors and may have their bags, purses and other hand-carried items searched.
The Academy is not responsible for items left at the gates or in the trash receptacles. Entry into the stadium is not permitted once the ceremony begins, and guests may not depart the stadium until the Air Force Thunderbirds complete their aerial demonstration.
Tailgate parties are not allowed on base.
Storage of prohibited items is not available and security personnel will ask visitors to store the item in their vehicle.
Items allowed into Falcon Stadium
- Food is allowed, but must be displayed in a transparent 1-gallon Ziploc bag. Each ticket-holder may have only one 1-gallon Ziploc.
- Sunscreen is permitted but restricted to a 6-ounce or-less tube. Bottles and aerosol spray are not allowed into the stadium.
- Factory-sealed transparent soft plastic water bottles are restricted to 24 ounces in-size. Water is the only beverage permitted to be carried into the stadium. Exceptions may be made for visitors with medical conditions and for infants.
- Infant diaper bags and carrier packs are permitted when an infant is present
- Illegal substances, including Marijuana, which is illegal on federal property
- Firearms, knives, box cutters, scissors, or any weapon
- Alcohol, glass containers, bottles, cans, aerosol sprays, hard sided (or Nalgene) plastic bottles
- Hand bags larger than 12 by 12 by 12 inches
- Hard-sided containers or coolers
- Backpacks, including bota bags, wine-skins and camelbaks
- Laser pointers, fireworks, or any item deemed unsafe by security personnel
- Unapproved banners or signs larger than 18 by 24 inches
- Americans with Disabilities Act compliant service animals are allowed
- Sticks, bats, poles, umbrellas, footballs, Frisbees, or inflatable balls
- Any artificial noisemaker
- Baby seats or large strollers. Collapsible strollers are allowed.
- Any item that cannot be readily inspected
- Flash photography
- Any type of smoking or tobacco, including E-Cigarettes
- Seatbacks wider than 19 inches
In the event of severe weather or security response to a high-threat world situation, the ceremony could be moved into the Clune Arena, Cadet Field House. Because the Clune Arena has limited seating capacity, this would restrict attendance to the graduating cadets and only three of their guests. For this reason, we make every attempt to hold the graduation ceremony outdoors in Falcon Stadium, even in less than ideal weather conditions.
The change in location will be announced by 7 a.m. May 30 by local news outlets, and USAFA’s social media sites.
During Graduation Week, visitors may enter the Academy through the North Gate with a valid driver’s license or military ID.
Standard base visitor hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., daily. During Graduation Week, the North Gate will open to guests for early or late events. North Gate times are: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., May 25 and May 26; 6 a.m.-10 p.m., May 27, May 28 and May 29; and 6 a.m.-5 p.m., May 30.
A Defense Department identification card or base visitor pass is required to enter the South Gate and the secure areas of the base. All vehicles entering the base and on the base are subject to an inspection which may lead to a search, by security personnel. Drivers may be asked to show a driver’s license, proof of insurance, and a valid vehicle registration or rental car agreement.
Visitors should not bring large bags, coolers, backpacks or items that require additional scrutiny or inspections by security personnel. The South Gate will open for visitors on graduation day for travel to the stadium.
Parking for the May 28 and May 29 Graduation Week events are in the Cadet Field House, Stillman Parade Field and cadet parking lots. Shuttle buses are scheduled to run from these parking areas throughout the cadet area.
All parking for the May 30 graduation ceremony is at Falcon Stadium.
Cadet Area Access
Visitors and guests in the cadet area must be escorted by a cadet or Academy staff member with a cadet area badge.
Guests should not bring large bags or backpacks into the cadet area. These bags will be inspected at the bus stops and at the parades, potentially delaying arrival.
Events in Secure Areas
For Graduation Week events outside the immediate cadet area or after visitor hours, all non-DOD guests must be escorted through the entry control point by a DOD ID card holder. These events include those at the Carlton House, such as commissioning ceremonies.
Cadets are strongly encouraged to meet their non-DOD guests either off base or at the Field House and carpool or caravan to their destination. Any DOD ID cardholder, cadet or base contractor may vouch for non-DOD affiliated people in the vehicle and one additional vehicle.
Visitors should arrive early for Graduation Week activities to have sufficient time to get through security to their event.
The Academy does not issue handicapped or special parking passes. Handicapped visitors should bring their own placard to access the cadet area handicapped lot, immediately north of Stillman Parade Field, and handicapped parking at the stadium on graduation day. Handicapped shuttles are scheduled to operate throughout the cadet area during grad week.
General Base Driving Information
- Drivers must follow posted speed limits on base. Seatbelts must be worn by all vehicle occupants at all times.
- Drivers may not use handheld cellular phones while the vehicle is in motion. Calls should be made or taken with a hands-free device or on the side of the road.
- Radar detectors are not allowed on base
- Wildlife, including deer, elk and wild turkey, can be a driving hazard. Be alert as wildlife has the right-of-way.
- If the base’s threat-level conditions change, some scheduled events may change or require additional security precautions. Any event change will be publicized by the local media, and on the Academy website and Facebook page.
Emergency Phone Numbers
To report a medical, fire or police emergency, immediately call 911.
Other emergency phone numbers:
- 10th Security Forces: 719-333-2000 or 333-4100.
- Memorial Hospital Central: 719-365-5000
- Memorial Hospital North: 719-364-5000
- Penrose-St. Francis Hospital: 719-776-5000