On the evening of October 21st the class of 2019 eagerly entered Mitchell Hall to attend their Class’s Exemplar Dinner honoring USAFA’s 20th exemplar, Astronaut Neil Armstrong. The purpose of the Class Exemplar Program is to provide a clear and visible attachment to the great leaders of the past for a new generation of air leaders who will face new challenges in the next millennium and beyond. The Class Exemplar serves as the honorary leader of the class, setting its personality and character. The Class Exemplar’s model of Innovative, pioneering leadership challenge cadets in each class to look forward into the Air Force they will soon be leading.
Cadet Third Class Jonathan Williams began the event by introducing the Head Table. After standard customs and courtesies the class was seated and was treated with the presence of the Class of ’69, their Legacy Class. Colonel (Retired) Mike Goode spoke on behalf of the Class of 1969 and their pride in the Class of 2019, as well as their approval of Neil Armstrong becoming their Exemplar despite him originally joining the Navy. Mr. Rick Armstrong followed Colonel Goode and spoke of his father, Neil Armstrong, and shared intimate family photos from the Armstrong family; some of which had yet to be seen by public eyes. 2019’s Class President, Jake Saucedo, gifted Mr. Armstrong with a USAFA Athletic Jacket. The USAFA Athletic Jacket is an equivalent to the Air Force’s Light-weight Blues jacket but is unique to the Academy. Most Graduates keep the Athletic Jacket as a token of remembrance, and pride, from their Academy days.
Colonel (Retired) Lars Hoffman, a class of ‘88 graduate, was the last guest speaker. He spoke of the importance of space travel and how Neil Armstrong was a more than appropriate Exemplar in that the Class of 2019 was on the forefront of major advancement in space travel. The Class of 2019 was then presented with the reveal of their Exemplar’s display case. The display case will include a biography of Neil Armstrong’s life, newspapers from the day after the Moon Landing, official Apollo 11 patches, a NASA Apollo Lunar Landing patch, a replica Lunar Landing Module, Apollo 11 coins, a replica Apollo 11 Landing plaque, a replica space suit and some items that Mr. Rick Armstrong agreed to loan from his personal collection.
General Stephen Williams, the Air Force Academy’s Commandant, delivered the closing remarks congratulating the Class of 2019 on their continued progress. He left them with question of how they will uphold the values that they had set forth for themselves, and to really aspire for the greatness that Neil Armstrong demanded of himself.
We would like to thank the Class of 2019 Class Cabinet: C3C Jake Saucedo – President, C3C Jericho Simmons – Vice President, C3C Ryan McKenna – Vice President, C3C Ketanny Alves – Secretary, and C3C Caston Casey – Treasurer. The 2019 Exemplar Committee: C3C John Bowes – Exemplar CIC, C3C Lucas Beissner – Vice CIC, C3C Ciera White – Speaker CIC, C3C Jared Kreuzer – Finance CIC, C3C Eric Menser – Display CIC, Major Andrew Clark – OIC, and Major Rikki Smith – OIC. We would also like to offer special thanks to The Association of Graduates, The Legacy Class of 1969, The Mitchell Hall Staff, Captain Steven Czack of the USAFA History Department, and The 2019 Parents Spirit Mission.