Fall of our Firstie year, beginning of football season, a group of 16 Chickenhawk first classmen (you know who you are) had just enjoyed a “beer call” at the home of our AOC (who will remain nameless, though it is easy enough to figure out). We decided we were not in favor of changing the enrollment at USAFA to include women and thought we would make our feelings known with a small symbol of protest. Of course, change is inevitable, and this one has worked out just fine. But that was not the general feeling at that time.
The top westernmost sections of seats are painted with large block letters which spell out AIR FORCE at Falcon Stadium. These letters are large enough to be seen all the way to I-25. On this particular Friday evening, these Chickenhawks decided that the “O” in Force needed a large arrowhead in its upper right corner so everyone who could see Falcon Stadium would know how the Cadets felt about becoming a co-ed institution.
We wanted to make a statement without doing any permanent harm or damage to property. After all we were CADETS! It was looked upon as a “spirit mission” related to football. So we set out and purchased a whole roll of white butcher paper and several rolls of tape. Under cover of darkness we snuck into Falcon Stadium, climbed up to the section of seats bearing the large “O” and began to “carpet the seats and steps with the butcher paper. We made the arrowhead three widths of paper wide, about 9 feet, and it looked just like we had painted the male symbol with white paint.
It never occurred to any of us that the stadium would be guarded. None of us realized that the Chief of Staff would be attending the football game the next day and that OSI, Security Police and Secret Service would be watching our every move.
When we were done and had gone down lower in the bleachers to admire our work, I don’t think anyone even got the chance to take a picture, all these police people descended on us like we were terrorists! Fortunately they had figured out we were Cadets, but still didn’t know what we were up to. Each of us was handcuffed and led off and interrogated beneath the Press Box. They took our IDs and verified who we were and essentially scared the crap out of us. Eventually when all our “stories” matched and they figured out we were not trying to plant a bomb to take out the USAF Chief of Staff, we were allowed to go. All of us headed back to the Squadron having pretty much all the “party” squeezed out of us.
The next day we figured Command Post and everyone else would know of our misdeeds from the previous night. We all filed in to see our AOC and give him the “heads-up” on what would be coming down. He took it pretty well and said he would let us know what would become of us. To all our amazement, nothing ever came down and no one was the wiser. I have always thought, in the years since, that I owed one to the Security cops.
Bill Van Horn
9491 South Johnson Court
Littleton, CO 80127
USAFA Class of '74 - published a book of our experiences for our 40th reunion!