The day of the 2019 graduation ceremonies at the US Air Force Academy was a beautiful day when all was said and done.
Everyone in Colorado Springs knows that the Air Force Academy is a major driver of Colorado Springs growth.
When the President of the United States comes to attend the graduation ceremonies, it becomes the focus of the entire country.
In 2019, President Donald Trump shook the hands of all of the graduates
The US Air Force Thunderbirds put on a classic show for him and the graduates.
These are some pictures that I took of the Thunderbirds at the 30 May 2019 in Colorado Springs at the Air Force Academy graduation.
The jets are the Air Force Thunderbirds.
More specifically, this is the USAF Air Demonstration Squadron. The Thunderbirds are assigned to the Air Force's 57th Wing and are based at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
The 57th Wing (actually, its predecessor) was established on 20 November 1940 and thus served during World War II. See, I did manage to work in a World War II connection!
The 57th Wing provides training for composite strike forces. These include every type of aircraft in the Air Force inventory. These pilots all have one thing in common: they all came through the Colorado Springs Air Force Academy.
The Thunderbirds have been operating with the 57th Wing since 1974. You may be more familiar with the Navy's Blue Angels. Well, the Thunderbirds may not be as blue as the Blue Angels, but they are just as good.
It's easy to think that flying with the Thunderbirds is a cushy job and not too tough. However, planes in these demonstration squadrons do crash occasionally. In fact, one of the Thunderbirds crashed just south of Colorado Springs right after performing at the AFA graduation ceremony while Barack Obama was President.
President Donald Trump attended the 2019 Air Force Academy graduation ceremony. He gave a speech and then shook the hands of all 1000 graduates. It took about an hour and a half.
The weather at the 2019 graduation ceremony was sketchy. It didn't actually rain, but it looked like it might throughout the ceremony.
The Thunderbirds usually perform at 12:30 local time, but for some reason that was switched to 2:30 p.m. in 2019. This was probably due to the President's participation, but no official reason for the change was offered.
It was very cloudy throughout the Thunderbirds' demonstration. The clouds made filming the demonstration a bit trickier than usual. However, in some ways, having the clouds passing by made for more interesting shots.
If you are unfamiliar with Colorado Springs, the big mountain is Pikes Peak. Falcon Stadium, where the graduation took place, is to its right as we are looking at them. Cheyenne Mountain is to the left.
There has been a lot of development across the highway from Falcon Stadium. Only ten years ago, this was all barren ground. Now, they are building condos and hotels all across the prairie.
The temperature during the ceremony was barely 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The spring of 2019 was unusually mild. In fact, there was a snowfall in the Springs barely a week before the ceremony.
The Thunderbirds performance seemed a little different than in previous years. Perhaps that was just due to normal revisions. As usual, it lasted about half an hour.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!