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Avery Vigneault applied to the US Air Force Academy in the fall of 2022 and earned a nomination as a member of the class of 2027 / Courtesy Photo

Avery Vigneault cheers for the US Air Force Falcons

By Bruce Auld News Review Staff Writer–  At the beginning of each NCAA Division I football season, 133 teams are undefeated. Approaching week ten, only eight teams, including the US Air Force Academy Falcons, remained undefeated. The Falcons incredibly lost to Brady Foisy’s (BHS 2000) US Military Academy Black Knights with a score of 23-3. Despite their loss, the Falcons (8-1) are ranked number one in the Mountain West Conference and 19th in the nation.

Avery Vigneault graduated from Burroughs in 2022. Avery received an Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) Command nomination to study at the University of North Carolina. She applied to the US Air Force Academy in the fall of 2022 and earned a nomination as a member of the class of 2027. Avery also earned a position on the US Air Force cheerleading squad. Given the rigorous demands of military training and serious academic studies (biomedical engineering), Avery’s extra-curricular adventure is a credit to her boundless energy and versatility. Avery may well be Burroughs’ only NCAA Division I cheerleader. Interestingly, her brother Grant (BHS 2018) was the US Naval Academy mascot “Bill the Goat.”

Forty Burros have received academy nominations. The first, Lindsay Claire Ives, attended Inyokern School K-10 with perfect attendance, transferring to Bakersfield High School as there were no grades 11-12 in the Indian Wells Valley. He graduated and received his nomination to the Coast Guard Academy in 1943. The first Burroughs graduating class was the Class of 1946. The first Burro to receive an academy nomination was Walter “Vic” Vieweg (BHS 1952), who gave up a professional baseball contract to attend the US Naval Academy.

To my knowledge, Liz Knemeyer Ruth (BHS 1977) was the first Burro to venture into university-level military training by being accepted into the University of Southern California (USC) Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), ultimately becoming the Corps Cadet Commander. In 1981, Liz attended the US Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training Program, flying T-38 and T-43 jets. After her Air Force career, Liz flew “heavies” for United Airlines on international routes, later flying the NASA Boeing 747 SP Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) “Vampire Jet.”

The first lady Burro to receive a military academy appointment was swimmer Amy Edman (BHS 1991). Amy elected to attend Brigham Young University. Leslie Stein was the first lady Burro to receive an appointment, attend, and graduate. After graduating from the US Military Academy, Leslie flew heavy helicopters in combat.

To my knowledge, in addition to Avery, four Burros are currently attending military academies: Brady Foisy (BHS 2020) will graduate from West Point this spring, Sam Quick (BHS 2021) is a classmate of Avery’s at the US Air Force Academy, Thomas Bui (BHS 2021) attends the US Naval Academy and Zoe Stanford (BHS 2023) is studying at the US Coast Guard Academy.