National Geographic : 1969 Aug
KODACHROME BYGARYGUISINGER plane that commemorates academy graduates killed in Viet Nam, blue-clad cadets drill for June Week parades. In the background, 17 tetrahedral spires soar 150 feet above the all-faith chapel, shadowed on the west by the rugged and aptly named Rampart Range. making it the single most popular attraction in Colorado.* I arrived there on a Saturday afternoon, and Capt. Michael P. McRaney, community relations officer, graciously left unfinished a trout fly he was tying and showed me around. Only 15 years old, the academy is scaled to fit the Space Age. In the shadow of the beautiful Rampart Range, it occupies part of an 18,000-acre tract threaded by 100 miles of road, and cost $200,000,000 to build. A single dormitory, Vandenberg Hall, has 1,328 *See "Where Falcons Wear Air Force Blue," by Na thaniel T. Kenney, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, June 1959. rooms. The famous Cadet Chapel, with its striking aluminum-and-steel spires, soars 150 feet into the Colorado sky (above). The academy teaches some 3,200 cadets subjects ranging from astronautics to verte brate embryology, preparing them to become career officers in the Air Force. I discovered that it also raises chickens. The poultry constitutes the diet of eight feathered mascots, six of them prairie falcons. "These two are arctic gyrfalcons," said the base veterinarian, Col. James McIntyre, pointing out a pair of snowy, fierce-eyed birds. "There are only a few of them in captivity in 181 N.G.S.