More on “Rubbing Our Noses in It”
We reported that Obama had delayed the Thunderbirds show at this year's USAF Academy graduation, and now Chuck Rogers of ConservativeFactCheck.org (UPDATE 12/7/2016: Site no longer exists) tells us this story is FALSE.
Even though we attempted to fact-check it when we received the story, no information was available at that time.
Rogers quotes left-leaning fact-check website Snopes:
"According to Tech. Sgt. Raymond Hoy, a Social Media Manager with HQ/USAFA Public Affairs, the delay in the Thunderbirds' air show was due to a refueling stop and had nothing to do with President Obama's departure.
"Moreover, he (Hoy) added, it is common for presidents delivering commencement speeches at USAFA graduation ceremonies to leave prior to the air show…
'We've received a lot of queries on this. The president's departure had nothing to do with the delay in the Thunderbird's (sic) show, as has been reported.'
"'The Thunderbirds had to complete an aerial refuel after their initial flyover; this was planned from the start. They had been flying for a while before that single flyover. I was also told they had new engines and that had something to do with it.'
"'While they were completing this [refueling], the president took the opportunity to leave. The official ceremony is complete after the hat toss/initial flyover.'
"'Also, presidents typically don't stay for the Thunderbird air show. President Bush didn't stay for the show during either of the graduations he attended. Some previous presidents didn't even stay for the entire ceremony, leaving after their commencement speech.'"
INTERESTINGLY, however, fact-check website TruthorFiction.com (by the late Rich Buhler) says:
"There was a delay between the Thunderbird flyover and the scheduled air show that followed the graduation ceremony according to a May 23, 2012 article in the Colorado Springs Gazette, but the delay happens every year.
"A Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs told TruthorFiction.com that the delay was normal and had nothing to do with the President's departure from the area.
"….At the very end of the graduation ceremony the Master of Ceremonies announced that the Class of 2012 was dismissed. At that moment the graduates tossed their combination caps in the air and the Thunderbirds perform their flyover. Once the caps are in the air children from the audience are released into the graduate area to retrieve the tossed caps and are allowed to keep them as a souvenir. The children are then escorted to an area where their parents can meet up with them to return them to their seats.
"An information page showing the scheduled events involving the graduation is posted on the Academy web site, which shows the air show beginning approximately thirty minutes after the close of the graduation ceremony.
So we still wonder about whether this happens at every graduation ceremony at the Academy, or whether it had to do with new engines and refueling?