A page from the 1980 U.S. Air Force Academy Yearbook highlighting the first female class the graduate. Ricki Selva was one of the 157 women in the Academy’s first female class and today she continues to lead while serving alongside her husband, Gen. Paul Selva, Air Mobility Command commander. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

The United States Senate passed a resolution on December 1, 2016 celebrating women cadets at the United States Air Force Academy. The Senate Resolution (S.Res.611) designated October 8th, 2016 as “40 Years of Women Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy Day”. Read full resolution. 

On October 7, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed into law House Resolution 6674 (Department of Defense Appropriation Authorization Act of 1976) which permitted women to be eligible for appointment and admission to the United States Service Academies for classes entering in calendar year 1976.

The new law established that women and men would be subject to the same academic and other relevant standards for appointment, admission, training, graduation, and commissioning. Read the White House Press Release from October 8, 1975 on the signing. 

The Air Force Academy had the first female cadets of the military schools enter in June of 1976 and graduated in 1980.

Of note, the first woman to hold the position of Superintendent of any United States Military Service Academy was Vice Admiral Sandra Leigh Stosz at the United States Coast Guard Academy in 2011. The second was  Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson who became the first female Superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy in 2013. Lt. Gen. Johnson had gradated from the Air Force Academy in 1981.

View the original 1980 USAF Academy Yearbook photo

Read more about “40 Years of Women Cadets at the Air Force Academy” at the Colorado Springs Gazette News


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