’76 – By the numbers

Unless otherwise stated, the calculations on this page are based on the data shown on the Key Data page for each class maintained by the AOG. See charts below.

’76 by the numbers

Photo graduating cadet yawns
Unnamed (but not unknown) cadet grabs some last Z’s as a zoomie.
  • We were the 18th class to graduate from the Air Force Academy. Through the Class of 2020, 44 classes have graduated since ’76.
  • The AOG reports that we had 1,507 appointed. The July 1972 Superintendent’s letter to parents gives the number as 1,505.
  • The AOG reports that we graduated 928, which included 5 foreign, 1 posthumous, and 1 not commissioned. Our graduation program lists 919.
  • ’76 was the first class to exceed 1,500 appointees and to graduate more than 900 cadets.
  • Therefore the attrition rate for the Spirit of ’76 was 38.4%, using the AOG numbers.
  • I distinctly remember sitting in Arnold Hall early the first week of BCT and someone telling us to look at the guys on either side of us … and that when we graduated, one of the three of us would not be there.

’76 numbers in context with other classes

  1. From the Classes of ’59 through ’75 (17 total), 9,359 cadets graduated from 15,024 appointed (37.7% average attrition).
  2. The 10,000th Academy graduate came from our class.
  3. After ’76 graduated, there were 10,287 total Academy graduates. At that time, our class accounted for 9.0% of all graduates to date.
  4. After ’20 graduated, there were 52,622 total Academy graduates. At that time, our class accounted for 1.76% (!) of all graduates to date.
  5. Prior to the Class of 1973, there were 6,946 Academy graduates. Our 4-year Academy career overlapped with the Classes of 1973–1979. Those seven classes included 6,089 cadets that would graduate. Therefore at the time we graduated, our 4-year career had overlapped with 46.7% of the cadets who had, or would, graduate through 1979. In other words, we occupied the campus with almost half of all cadets who graduated from 1959 through 1979.
  6. Since we graduated, 44 classes have graduated (through 2020), totaling 59, 217 appointed and 42,335 graduated (28.5% average attrition).
  7. Five classes have exceeded the ’76  number of appointments (’78, ’80, ’83, ’84, ’88) with the highest being 1,630 in ’78.
  8. Thirty-two classes have exceed the ’76 number of graduates. These 32 classes averaged 996 graduates, with the largest class (2012) graduating 1,083 – 155 more than ’76.
  9. Since ’76 graduated, the class with the fewest graduates was 1997 with 797.

  1. Prior to ’76, attrition rates ranged from a low of 28.0% (1970) to a high of 46.2% (1975). The low rate of ’70 was not bested until the 26% achieved by ’89, while the ’75 high has never been exceeded.
  2. The ’76 attrition rate was higher than 10 previous classes, and lower than 7 previous classes.
  3. The ’76 attrition rate was lower than the subsequent six classes, through 1982. However, since 1983, every class has had a lower rate than ’76, averaging 26.2% over those 38 years (1983-2020).
  4. The year-to-year drop in attrition from ’75 to ’76 (7.7%) was not bettered until the Class of 1998 improved 9.5% over the Class of 1997 (which had the fewest graduates since the Class of 1975).
  5. Prior to Class of ’88, only two classes had a lower attrition rate than the current overall average – Class of ’60 (28.4%) and Class of ’70 (28.0%); the Class of ’61 had a rate only .1% higher which would equate to less than a “whole man” (ahem) so in practical terms, they match the average .
  6. Since the Class of ’88 (33 years), only two classes have exceeded this overall average attrition – Class of ’93 (30.7%) and Class of ’97 (31.5%).
  7. The 62-year average attrition rate is 30.5%, based on 75,748 cadets appointed and 52,622 cadets graduated.
  8. The average for the first thirty-one classes (1959-1989) was 37.3%. The average for the next thirty-one classes dropped to 24.4%.

Data from AOG Key Data pages

Key Data page for each class maintained by the AOG – potential for (my) human error. To validate the Key Data numbers for each class, once you’re on the AOG Key Data page for 1976, change the url (web address) to the year of interest.

Data Table for Appointed Graduated

Appointed/Graduated stats for Classes 1990-2020

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