Despite fires, cadets arrive on time at Academy|
by Tech. Sgt. Chris Powell
Air Force News Service
6/28/2012 - COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AFNS) -- With fires still burning in the nearby Waldo Canyon and most of the base evacuated, about 1,000 new cadets of the class of 2016 in-processed on schedule June 28 at the U. S. Air Force Academy, Colo.
To minimize the amount of cadets on base, Academy officials relocated about 550 cadets with about 200 summer academics cadets relocating to the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. The remaining cadets have been released to their local sponsor families.
"The mission will continue," said John Van Winkle, from the Academy's Public Affairs Office. "We may have to alter it slightly if we do have to evacuate, but we do have plans for that for basic cadet trainees, the cadets and all the staff to evacuate to different locations."
If the fires force further evacuations at the installation, the new cadets and some cadre will be moved to Discovery Canyon Campus, northeast of the Academy, Van Winkle said, where the cadets will continue to receive their basic training.
"The wildfire hit really hard about 48 hours prior to in-processing, so with 1,045 people coming from 50 states and 20 countries, you can't do a stop-order movement effectively for that many people and stop them," Van Winkle said. "The best thing is to bring everyone in, have accountability and take care of everybody."
One cadet who came to in-process was Zachary Morrow, who said he had no trepidation about reporting while the fires burned nearby.
"It definitely makes things seem a little more intense, but it seems like everyone here is doing a good job," he said. "I'm from Idaho, and we get a lot of wildland fire. My dad is actually a wildland firefighter, so he actually would be here (fighting the fire), but he had to drop me off."
His father, Rob Morrow, is a U.S. Forest Service firefighter from Idaho, whose team is helping to fight the Waldo Canyon fire.
"He's my focus, and it's a very magical moment for our family, but a part of me is a fire guy, and I'm thinking, 'Wow, this is game on,'" he said. "The team's efforts have been so outstanding that they made today very doable for these young men and women. It's going to be carried off with a little logistical challenge I'm sure, but it's going well."