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Wild Pics: Everyone sat 6 feet apart at the Air Force Academy’s graduation

Cadets with the class of 2020 graduate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., April 18, 2020. Nearly 1,000 cadets commissioned into both the U.S. Air and Space Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dennis Hoffman)
April 20, 2020

The Air Force Academy held its Class of 2020 graduation on Saturday which consisted of an unprecedented virtual broadcast, no family or friends in attendance, and cadets seated six-feet apart.

The 2020 class consisted of 967 cadets and marked the Academy’s 62nd graduating class, the Academy said. No guests were in attendance, and only mission-essential staff were permitted on base.

Cadets with the class of 2020 graduate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., April 18, 2020. Nearly 1,000 cadets commissioned into both the U.S. Air and Space Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dennis Hoffman)

The graduation was originally scheduled for May 28, but was moved up to April 18, which coincided with the 78th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid of World War II.

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Cadets with the class of 2020 graduate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., April 18, 2020. Nearly 1,000 cadets commissioned into both the U.S. Air and Space Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dennis Hoffman)

Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria said, “Today, the 967 exceptional young leaders of the 62nd graduating class of the United States Air Force Academy started their careers as officers, and I am confident that they will take our Air and Space forces and make them their own.”

Cadets with the class of 2020 graduate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., April 18, 2020. Nearly 1,000 cadets commissioned into both the U.S. Air and Space Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dennis Hoffman)

Vice President Mike Pence delivered the Class of 2020 commencement address.

Vice President Mike Pence speaks to the class of 2020 graduates at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., April 18, 2020. Nearly 1,000 cadets commissioned into both the U.S. Air and Space Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dennis Hoffman)

“We gather at a time of national crisis as the coronavirus epidemic impacts our nation and the wider world,” Pence said. The American people, as well as members of the armed forces, have met this challenge with courage, resilience and strength, the vice president added.

Cadets with the class of 2020 graduate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., April 18, 2020. Nearly 1,000 cadets commissioned into both the U.S. Air and Space Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dennis Hoffman)

Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett and  Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein were also in attendance and seated at least six-feet apart from one another.

Cadets with the class of 2020 graduate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., April 18, 2020. Nearly 1,000 cadets commissioned into both the U.S. Air and Space Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dennis Hoffman)

Defense Secretary Mark Esper spoke to the cadets virtually from the Pentagon along with Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Cadets with the class of 2020 graduate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., April 18, 2020. Nearly 1,000 cadets commissioned into both the U.S. Air and Space Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dennis Hoffman)

Esper told the cadets to uphold the values instilled in them throughout the academy: “integrity first, service before self and excellence in all you do.”

Cadets with the class of 2020 graduate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., April 18, 2020. Nearly 1,000 cadets commissioned into both the U.S. Air and Space Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dennis Hoffman)

“Aim high, and congratulations, Esper added.

Cadets with the class of 2020 graduate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., April 18, 2020. Nearly 1,000 cadets commissioned into both the U.S. Air and Space Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dennis Hoffman)

“Your target is indeed in sight,” Milley said, “but your journey is just beginning. You will serve your country in a time of incredible challenge and increased complexity in the global strategic environment.”

Cadets with the class of 2020 graduate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., April 18, 2020. Nearly 1,000 cadets commissioned into both the U.S. Air and Space Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dennis Hoffman)

“You will be the leaders who lead our country into a distant future,” Milley added.

Cadets with the class of 2020 graduate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., April 18, 2020. Nearly 1,000 cadets commissioned into both the U.S. Air and Space Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dennis Hoffman)

The 2020 graduating class is the first to include cadets – 86 of them — who will enter the new U.S. Space Force.

Cadets with the class of 2020 graduate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., April 18, 2020. Nearly 1,000 cadets commissioned into both the U.S. Air and Space Forces. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Trevor Cokley)

Chief of Space Operations for the U.S. Space Force and U.S. Space Command commander Gen. John Raymond told the class that the new Space Force officers will “fight and win the battle for space superiority.”

Cadets with the class of 2020 graduate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., April 18, 2020. Nearly 1,000 cadets commissioned into both the U.S. Air and Space Forces. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Joshua Armstrong)

“You are our future and I need you to be bold,” Raymond added.

Cadets with the class of 2020 graduate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., April 18, 2020. Nearly 1,000 cadets commissioned into both the U.S. Air and Space Forces. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Ana Siqueiros)

Freshman, sophomore, and junior cadets had left the academy in March.

Cadets with the class of 2020 graduate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., April 18, 2020. Nearly 1,000 cadets commissioned into both the U.S. Air and Space Forces. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Trang Le)

The graduates will begin leaving the Academy throughout April, where they will either remain at home for 60 days, or travel to their new assignments.

Cadets with the class of 2020 graduate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., April 18, 2020. Nearly 1,000 cadets commissioned into both the U.S. Air and Space Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dennis Hoffman)