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The 50th Anniversary Of
The United States
Air Force Academy
Since its founding, the United States Air Force Academy has trained and developed outstanding young men and women to be leaders for the United States Air Force and for the nation.
The Academy has consistently produced professional officers who possess the knowledge, character and motivation necessary to lead the world’s greatest Air Force. Men and women from across the United States have marched across the Academy’s Terrazzo, worshiped in the awe-inspiring chapel, trained in the shadows of Pike’s Peak in the Colorado Rockies, and graduated from the United States Air Force Academy possessing the training and confidence to serve in leadership positions. With an on-going Commitment to Excellence, Academy graduates have consistently excelled in both the military, as well as in the civilian realm.
In December of 1903, an event occurred that would revolutionize military history and tactics. With Orville and Wilbur Wright’s first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the stage was set for dramatic changes that would drastically alter the twentieth century.
America’s Air Force began in 1907 with the establishment of the Aeronautical Division of the U.S. Army Signal Corps. By World War II, military aviation was conducted by the Army Air Corps and later the United States Army Air Force. In 1947, the United States Air Force was established as a separate branch of the U.S. military.
As America’s commitment to air power grew, the need for highly trained personnel became evident. For decades, pioneering aviators had lobbied for an Academy to train Air Force officers, but without success. World War II proved the importance of air power, and after World War II, support for a new school to train Air Force officers accelerated.
On April 1, 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed Public Law 325, commonly known as the “Air Force Academy Act.” The bill stipulated that a location needed to be selected for the Academy. Many sites were considered for the new Academy, and a site near Colorado Springs was finally selected.
In 1955, ground was broken and construction began on the Air Force Academy. On July 11, 1955, the first class of Air Force Academy cadets was sworn in at a temporary site that had been selected – Denver’s Lowry Air Force Base. The Cadet Wing moved to the new campus in 1958. The Class of 1959 was the first class to graduate from the Air Force Academy, and graduation was held in Arnold Hall on June 3, 1959. It was a historic occasion, and the culmination of a decades-long dream for the proponents who had campaigned for a separate United States Air Force Academy.
On March 29, 1911, the Colt Government Model 1911 semi-automatic pistol, caliber .45 ACP, was officially approved by Jacob M. Dickinson, Secretary of War, as America’s official service sidearm. Powerful, rugged and impervious to abuse, it immediately started proving its worth in military battle. The pistol was an essential element in America’s many military campaigns, from World War I through World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Today, even after its “official retirement from active duty,” the Government Model .45 is still one of the most respected and most copied of all handgun designs.
For this historic Air Force Academy 50th Anniversary Tribute, we selected the legendary Colt Government Model Pistol. As the sidearm of choice for our armed forces for most of the 20th century, and for police forces and private gun owners as well, the Colt .45 combines attractive design with complete reliability. Collectors the world over recognize it as the classic automatic firearm. Each pistol is decorated by craftsmen specifically commissioned for this project by America Remembers, and features artwork in elegant 24-karat gold and nickel, with special blackened patinaed highlights capturing the spirit and commitment of all the cadets who have graduated from the United States Air Force Academy.
“The United States Air Force Academy 50th Anniversary Tribute Pistol” is certain to be a prized possession and cherished keepsake for graduates of the Academy, and for firearms collectors and military enthusiasts who appreciate the significant contributions made by the Academy and its graduates to our Nation’s security. Issued in a strictly limited edition of only 300 working pistols, the Tribute is available only from America Remembers, and is officially authorized by the Association of Graduates of the United States Air Force Academy.The America Remembers Air Force Academy 50th Anniversary Tribute .45 is designed and crafted to be a cherished heirloom. The frame is finished in a rich matte black. The slide is polished to a near-mirror finish and then decorated with artwork in 24-karat gold and nickel. Emblazoned on the left side are four cadets in parade uniform saluting the Thunderbirds. To the right, a member of The Wings of Blue, the Academy’s parachute team, prepares to touch down during training exercises at the Academy’s Airfield. On the far left, a training glider is featured. Cadets learn to soar during their sophomore year, and each year, over 25,000 sorties are flown in the beginning program. Prominently displayed are two banners which read “United States Air Force Academy 50th Anniversary Tribute” and “Established 1 April 1954” in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the bill which established the Air Force Academy.
Each Tribute’s grips are crafted of faux ivory and decorated with the crest of the Association of Graduates of the United States Air Force Academy on the right side, and with the United States Air Force Academy crest on the left side. As a final touch, the pistol’s grip screws, slide stop, hammer, sights, safety lock and magazine catch are polished an clad in lustrous 24-karat gold.
On the top of the slide, the Cadet Saber Award is displayed – the highest honor bestowed upon an individual at the Academy.
On the right side, a cadet color guard marches on the parade field, with the cadet area in the background, framed by the Rocky Mountains. To the left, a noble falcon – the Cadet Wing’s mascot – is proudly shown. Also featured at the front of the slide is the Prop and Wings insignia which is earned by Air Force Academy cadets during their freshman year. Decorative banners feature the words from the Academy’s Honor Code, which all cadets pledge to uphold – “We Will Not Lie, Steal Or Cheat, Nor Tolerate Among Us Anyone Who Does.”
At the rear of the slide, on both sides, the Academy’s Core Values of “Integrity, Service, Excellence” are featured in flowing 24-karat gold decorated banners. These Core Values set the standard for all those who serve in the United States Air Force – Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do. Beneath the recoil spring plug, at the lower front of the slide, is each pistol’s own special and certified issue number featured in gold. Only three hundred of the U.S. Air Force Academy 50th Anniversary Tribute Pistols will be issued and the pistols are individually numbered from 001-300. The artwork on both sides of the slide is framed with a nickel border designed to simulate aircraft rivets.
Displayed With Pride
In order to protect and display your United States Air Force Academy 50th Anniversary Tribute Pistol, you will receive an elegant display case. The case is luxuriously lined and will handsomely showcase your Tribute. A brass plaque confirms that the Tribute is issued by America Remembers and is authorized by the Association of Graduates of the United States Air Force Academy.
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