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Academy accepts 1,150 into Class of 2017

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AFNS) -- Approximately 1,150 basic cadets were accepted into the Class of 2017 during a ceremony at the Stillman Parade Field here Aug. 6.

Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould conducted the pass in review, and Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen. Greg Lengyel led the new cadets in reciting the Airman's Creed.

Retired Brig. Gen. Richard Carleton, representing the Class of 1967, addressed the cadets and visiting family members. The Class of '67 is the legacy class for the Class of 2017.

"Service to our nation involves risks that are worth taking -- indeed, risks that we are proud to shoulder as professional Airmen," said Carleton, a member of the Association of Graduates' Board of Directors.

Carleton offered the cadets four principles that he said stand as true today as they did in 1967.

"Keep your sense of humor," Carleton said. "The demands placed upon you will often seem daunting. You'll have good days and bad days. ... As many of us can attest, walking tours is a chance to meet your classmates in a controlled setting. Find humor in difficult situations and share it with others."

Second, Carleton said, cadets should challenge themselves and stretch their horizons.

"The Air Force Academy offers opportunities not found at other colleges or universities," he said. "If you are academically inclined, strive to gain acceptance in the Academy's scholar program."

In addition, the Academy offers one-of-a-kind opportunities such as gliding and parachuting as well as both intercollegiate and intramural sports.

"Do not be satisfied with just getting by," Carleton added. "See what you can achieve in different areas ... make the most of your four years at (the Academy). You will never recover from lost opportunities."

Third, he said, cadets should look out for one another, both on and off base.

"The standards expected of you do not magically disappear once you leave the Academy grounds," he said. "Stupidity can lead to punishment or disenrollment. The best advice I can offer is this: Always do the right thing, even when nobody's looking. Be a good flight lead and keep your wingman out of harm's way."

Fourth and most importantly, Carleton said, is that cadets should embrace the Honor Code: We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.

"Our Honor Code separates us from civilian institutions, and rightfully so," he said. "The consequences of not living up to the Code can be disastrous. Yes, it is tough -- especially the toleration clause, which demands you become involved if you suspect a fellow cadet has breached that code."

As an example, Carleton highlighted his class' sophomore year. An honor scandal erupted, leading to 109 disenrollments, he said.

"Only four of the 109 were guilty of toleration," he said. "The rest had cheated. I leave to your imagination what might have happened early on if one brave cadet had reported what was going on.

"The code does not -- repeat, does not -- end or cease when you leave. In fact, it is far more important in our Air Force, where an officer's word is his or her bond with superiors and subordinates alike," Carleton continued. Executing national strategy is based on absolute trust, he said, "and that trust rests on honesty."

Carleton served in the Air Force for more than 29 years, holding command positions at three U.S. Air Forces in Europe fighter wings. He worked for Boeing for more than 11 years after his military retirement.

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