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Coming out of retirement in 1953 to take on the challenge of building the Air Force Academy from the ground up, Hubert R. Harmon became a semi-mythic figure to Air Force Academy cadets.  A West Point graduate from the illustrious class of 1915—called “the class that the stars fell on” for the number of men who rose to general officer from its ranks—Harmon was known for his honesty, candor, and integrity. These attributes served him well as he worked with military men of all ranks as well as civilians to create one of the most honored military institutions in the world. Embracing details large and small, from designing a campus to choosing new uniforms, Harmon turned out to be the ideal man for the job, and because of this is remembered as the Father of the Air Force Academy.

Hubert R. Harmon: Airman, Officer, Father of the Air Force Academy

  • Phillip S. Meilinger graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 1970 and over the next thirty years served in a number of operational assignments as an instructor pilot in Air Training Command and as a C-130 and HC-130 pilot in both Europe and the Pacific. He was also an action officer on the Air Staff in the Pentagon during Desert Storm. Meilinger earned a doctorate at the University of Michigan, taught in the History Department at the Academy, and was dean of the School of Advanced Airpower Studies at Maxwell Air Force Base, the Air Force’s only graduate school for the education of air strategists. He finished up his career as a professor of strategy at the US Naval War College in Newport, RI. Upon retirement as a colonel in 2000, Meilinger served as a defense analyst in the Washington, DC, area for six years. He is now a freelance writer living in the Chicago area with his wife, Barbara. Meilinger has written five books and seventy-five articles dealing with airpower theory and operations.

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