Fort Belvoir, Virginia –
The McNamara Headquarters Complex cafeteria came alive with the sounds of the Air Force Brass Quintet ushering in the 72nd Air Force birthday celebration Sept. 12 as Air Force personnel and civilians gathered.
Following a performance by the Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team and a video presentation, Defense Threat Reduction Agency Director Vayl Oxford, a former airman, spoke about the Air Force’s proud history and future.
“Since the end of the Cold War, we’ve not only had air supremacy, we’ve had air dominance,” he said. “That’s something we’ve cherished, but now we need to think about retooling, revectoring our thoughts about our competition. We’re going to have a better equipped, better trained adversary that we need to be prepared for — that is our future.”
Oxford introduced guest speaker Air Force Maj. Gen. Ricky Rupp, commander of the Air Force District of Washington. Rupp is a former command pilot who served in Operations Desert Storm, Provide Promise, Allied Force, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
The general encouraged audience members to value their connections to warfighters.
“Our air power cannot deliver without you,” Rupp said. “The things you do every day to reduce threats and get the parts to the airplanes when they need them. There is no other country in the world that has the ability to project and sustain combat power like the United States.
“As we celebrate the Air Force birthday today, that’s what we should be thinking about — the lengths we go to protect and defend our folks who are in harm’s way.”
The celebration concluded with the presentation of a plaque to Rupp, the ceremonial cake cutting and a rousing chorus of the Air Force song.