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The Latest: Joint Chiefs chairman addresses Air Force cadets

May 24, 2017 GMT

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) — The Latest on the Air Force Academy graduation (all times local):

1:40 p.m.

Nearly 1,000 cadets are beginning their military careers after graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The Gazette reports that the nation’s top general, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Joseph Dunford, told graduates on Wednesday that their accomplishments at the school mean little in the world they’re about to enter. He said excellence is expected of them and that “it is time to lead.”

The Class of 2017′s 979 cadets were officially commissioned as Air Force second lieutenants during the commencement ceremony at Falcon Stadium near Colorado Springs.

It ended with a traditional flyover by the Thunderbirds and cadets tossing their hats into the air.

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8:30 a.m.

Nearly 1,000 cadets are graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy, including one of the largest groups of women ever.

The Gazette reports that there are 227 women among the group of 979 cadets who will be officially commissioned as Air Force second lieutenants during Wednesday’s ceremony. The Class of 2017 started with 1,190 cadets but a number of them usually don’t make it through all four years.

The nation’s top general, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Joseph Dunford, will address the graduates.

The ceremony at Falcon Stadium ends with a traditional flyover by the Thunderbirds just as the cadets toss their hats into the air.