An amazing USAF flying demo in Colorado Springs

Two days ago, on 14th March 2023, two aircraft of the United States Air Force performed spectacular flyover and air demonstration at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The displays were held during traditional Noon Meal Formation event.

The Noon Meal Formation is the old tradition that began with the US Navy in 1905. Nevertheless, its origins date even a way back – to the Civil War years, when it was practiced in order to make sure every soldier was accounted for and received the noon meal.

In the US Air Force Academy, the Noon Meal Formation is scheduled every Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the school year, subject to weather conditions. After finishing their morning classes around 11:00 a.m., cadets prepare for having lunch together. At 11:30 a.m., the Cadet Wing of approximately 4,000 students march in a joint formation, squadron by squadron, towards the Mitchell Hall. They are led by Cadet Drum and Bugle Corps that plays official US military songs and anthems.

That tradition dates back to founding of the US Air Force Academy in the mid-1950s. The Noon Meal Formation can be observed by the public from the Honour Court wall.

Last Friday, the abovementioned celebration was enhanced by two air displays. A Raptor fighter aircraft of the F-22 Demo Team from Joint Base Langley-Eustis performed a flyover and then a full demonstration programme. The Raptor demo was supported by another flypast, done by a F-35 Lightning II assigned to Luke Air Force Base.

With reference to the airpower demonstration at the Academy, the US Department of Defence stated in the official announcement that ´Events such as these aim to cultivate warrior ethos, a future-focused mindset, and supplement existing character, leadership, and officer development efforts with the cadets´.

The US Air Force Academy, located north of Colorado Springs, was established on 1st April 1954. It is the youngest of the five United States military academies and educates cadets for service in the officer corps of the United States Air Force and the United States Space Force.

Besides its military role, the Academy and the surrounding area became also one of the largest tourist attractions in Colorado. Without any doubts, celebration of military traditions like the aforementioned Noon Meal Formation or occasional flying displays serve as an enticement for general public. According to Wikipedia, the US Air Force Academy attracts approximately a million visitors each year.

All photos © U.S. Department of Defence (DoD), by Trevor Cokley. DoD information materials and NATO press releases (source of quotations) were used, in compliance with Public Domain licence. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.