Text Size
Increase text size
Increase text size

Air Force Academy


The Air Force Academy is located eight miles north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Pikes Peak rises more than 14,000 feet in the distance and the Rampart Range (6,000-7,000 feet) forms the Academy's western boundary. The Academy is one of the nations' highest (ranging between 6,380 and 8,040 feet) and largest (18,500 acres) campuses.


Air Force Academy Chapel

To inspire and develop outstanding young men and women to become Air Force officers with knowledge, character and discipline; motivated to lead the world's greatest aerospace force in service to the nation.


 2007 Air Force Academy Graduation Many of America's pioneer airmen advocated the creation of an academy to prepare officers for the air service. One of them, Brigadier General William "Billy" Mitchell, tried in vain to persuade the government or private interests to establish such a school. In 1948, the Air Force appointed a board of leading civilian and military educators to plan the curriculum for an Air Force academy. In 1949, Secretary of Defense James Forrestal appointed a board of military and civilian educators tasked to recommend a general system of education for the Army, Navy and Air Force.

In 1950, the board, headed by Dwight D. Eisenhower, then president of Columbia University, and Robert L. Stearns, president of the University of Colorado, found the needs of the Air Force could not be met by a desirable expansion of the older service academies. The board recommended that an Air Force academy be established without delay and proposed that, in peacetime, not less than 40 percent of the regular officers taken into each service should be academy graduates.


Congress authorized creation of the Air Force Academy in 1954, and construction began in 1955. On August 29, 1958, the wing of 1,145 cadets moved into the present site from its temporary site at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver. Less than a year later, the Academy received accreditation. On March 3, 1964, the authorized strength of the Cadet Wing was increased to 4,417 and later reduced to its present number of 4,000.

Current Activities

Environmental cleanup work remaining at the Academy is the long term monitoring of two landfills. Numerous investigations of the landfills found that groundwater was impacted, with the primary concern being metals contamination (arsenic, iron and manganese) in seep areas.


  • Old Landfill No. 1 (Site 6)

  • Old Landfill No. 2 (Site 7)

  • Asbestos in Building Demolition

    • Pine Valley Family Housing

    • Douglass Valley Housing Area



Historic Activities

A records search conducted in 1984 identified ten specific areas for further investigation, and three additional sites were added to the list as new information emerged. Field investigations began at the Academy in October 1987. Results of the sampling and monitoring through 1996 led to closeout of the following sites:


  • JP-4 Fuel Release (Site 1)

  • Farish Dredge Material Disposal (Site 2)

  • Farish Landfill (Site 3)

  • Fire Training Area (Site 4)

  • Dredge Material Disposal (Site 5)

  • Sewage Sludge Disposal Area (Site 8)

  • Firing Range (Site 9)

  • Old Visitor's Center (Site 10)

  • Civil Engineering Maintenance Yard Runoff Area (Site 11)

  • Drum Disposal Site (Site 12)

  • Golf Course Maintenance (Site 13)


The Academy published the Community Relations Plan in May 1996, outlining public participation activities. The Plan included formation of the Environmental Cooperation Council, the main forum for involvement in Academy environmental programs. The Council has not met since August 2006.


For more information on community involvement activities at the Academy, contact the Chief Civil Engineering / Environmental Flight at 719-472-4493 or the Office of Public Affairs at 719-472-2569.

Documents related to the environmental cleanup at the Academy can be accessed at the following locations:


U.S. Air Force Academy
Colorado Springs, CO


USAF Academy Library
2354 Fairchild Drive, Suite 3A10
USAF Academy, CO  80840


Civil Engineering Building
8120 Edgerton Drive, Suite 40
USAF Academy, CO  80840


Public Affairs Office


Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division Records Center
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, CO 80246


Air Force Academy

Chief Civil Engineering / Environmental Flight


Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Tracie White, State Remedial Project Manager
1-888-569-1831 Ext. 3452 outside the 303/720 area code


Jeannine Natterman, State Public Involvement Coordinator
1-888-569-1831 Ext. 3303 outside the 303/720 area code