Academy receives Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy from president

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Hailey Haux
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information
The U.S. Air Force Academy football team received the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy from President Barack Obama during a visit to the White House, May 7.

The coveted hardware, weighing 170 pounds, goes to the team that wins the most football games in a competition between the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Air Force Academy each season.

“This is the Falcons’ third trip in the last five years,” Obama said. “I am told it is a record 19 times that they have earned this unreasonably large trophy. But if anybody can figure out how to get this thing to where it needs to go, it is the Air Force.”

The Air Force Falcons claimed the trophy for the 19th time during their game against the Army Black Knights in November 2014.

“Last year at this time, most folks did not think that coach (Troy) Calhoun and the Falcons would be here today,” said the president. “They had just come off of a less than ideal season, but this year they came back determined to set a new tone. This was quite a season for the Falcons.”

During the ceremony, Cadets 1st Class Kale Pearson and Christian Spears presented the president with a football jersey and game football.

“I am extremely honored to come here and represent the Air Force as a whole,” Pearson said. “We had some success on the football field, and a lot of support behind us in order to get here today.”

After commissioning, the two cadets will go on to be graduate assistants for a year then Spears will become a personnel officer and Pearson will be a logistics officer.

“I am elated,” Spears said. “It is a huge honor and I am so thankful for a great season and for this opportunity.”

Combined with preseason training, the players completed service leadership training, which included volunteering more than 500 hours at local community organizations.

“I can tell you unquestionably the young men and young women who are with the United States Air Force Academy are absolutely what we want very soon serving on active duty,” Calhoun said. “In 20 days, we graduate a class of over 900 cadets to immediately take the reins that we want as the leaders and officers in the United States Air Force and to join a very fine squad as part of our armed forces.”

As future officers in the Air Force, the president said to the cadets that they will be part of “the finest fighting force in the history of the world.”

“As president, I have no greater honor or greater responsibility than serving as your commander in chief,” Obama said. “In the months and the years ahead these cadets will go on to become officers in the military. They will lead their peers and I will call on each of you to live up to the example of those who came before you, and wherever you are stationed, I want you to know this country stands behind you and will strive to serve you as well as you will be serving us. But in the meantime, congratulations on a great football season.”