Air Force Academy parade kicks off graduation celebration

Posted at 6:43 AM, May 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-22 08:43:03-04

The Air Force Academy will kick off the 2018 graduation celebration Tuesday with their annual parade.

The parade is one of the last events for the class of 2018 and it all starts when the Wings of Blue jump into Stillman Field.

The parade jump will be the last for the seniors on the team, and News 5 had the chance to speak with some of the senior cadets as they prepared for their last big jump.

Cadets said it takes hours of practice and commitment to be one of the Wings of Blue. Team members spend hours at the airfield practicing and are often on the road training in Denver or performing across the country.

Despite the rigorous schedule, the cadets said that it’s all worth it when you get to make jumps like the one they will make for graduation. "Its not easy in order to be able to jump into a stadium," said Alex Lesar, Wings of Blue member. "You have to have over 500 jumps and that’s countless time down here in the classroom training and learning the correct pattern."

Tuesday’s parade will also feature performances from the Cadet Falconry Team and Sabre Drill Team.

The Air Force Thunderbirds will cap off the graduation ceremony Wednesday, but their practice scheduled for Tuesday is still up in the air. The Thunderbirds are scheduled for a run through from 11 to noon Tuesday, but the team’s support staff plane broke down in Virginia Monday and was unable to make the trip to Colorado Springs. The team did a quick survey fly over on Monday, but it is still undetermined if they will do a practice run through on Tuesday.

Pre-parade activities kick off Tuesday morning around 7:30 at Stillman Field. Tuesday’s events are free and open to public. Those attending must use the Academy’s north gate.