Cadet Chapel (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel

Considered to be one of the best examples of modern American architecture, the Cadet Chapel in Colorado Springs is the most recognizable building at the United States Air Force Academy and the most visited man-made tourist attraction in Colorado. With spires reaching 150 feet in height, the Cadet Chapel looks something like giant metal accordion placed on a rolling lawn. Created in 1959 by Walter A. Netsch Jr., the Cadet Chapel was designed to combine the moving feel of a plane in flight with the tranquility of a place needed for worship and reflection. The 17 spires fill the landscape and give the impression that a line of planes are ready to take off from the ground, but the interior is something completely different. It’s as if two beautiful buildings had an attractive child that looks like the best parts of them both.

Built to inspire all who worship in its halls, the chapel has a multi-religious approach with a Protestant chapel on the top floor, a Catholic chapel on the middle floor, a Muslim prayer room, and a circular Jewish chapel on the lower floor. Each of the halls has their own entrances and may be used simultaneously.

Serving as an all-faith center of worship for cadets, the Cadet Chapel includes Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist chapels, an All-Faiths Room, and a Falcon Circle, each with its own entrance. The Chapel is capable of holding services in all rooms at one time. Due in part to its multicultural mission, the chapel has developed the Cadet Inter-Faith Council (CIFC) that is comprised of representatives of different religious backgrounds focusing on religious education and discussion across the Cadet Wing.  The Cadet Chapel also hosts the Special Programs in Religious Education (SPIRE), which is the largest religious education program offered by the United States Air Force.

Interior of the Cadet Chapel
Interior of the upper floor at the Cadet Chapel.

Weddings at the Cadet Chapel

Plenty of people have been married at the Cadet Chapel but not just anyone is allowed to use the venue for the exchanging of vows.  To use the Cadet Chapel for a wedding you must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Graduates of the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Military Academy, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Coast Guard Academy, or the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
  • Active duty personnel currently assigned to the United States Air Force Academy, or active duty Air Force personnel stationed at Buckley Air Force Base.
  • Dependents of active duty personnel currently assigned to the USAFA who hold a valid military dependent ID card on the day of the wedding.
  • Purple Heart, Silver Star recipients and above.
  • ID card holding dependents of service members killed in action.

Cadet Chapel Facts

  • The Chapel is visible from Interstate 25 several miles away.
  • The frame of the entire chapel is constructed out of 100 identical tetrahedrons each weighing 5 tons.
  • It was finished in 1963 after four years of work and a budget of $3.5 million.
  • The Jewish chapel houses the famous “Holocaust Scroll” that was donated to the church after being found in an abandoned warehouse in Poland.
  • Online donations to the US Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel and the various Cadet Faith Group Programs/Services can be made via the Chapel Tithes & Offerings Fund Electronic Donations Page.
  • Visitor hours of operation for the Cadet Chapel are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.