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News | Sept. 20, 2019

Ohio Airmen celebrate 72 years of aerial support

By Kristin Molinaro DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

The senior Air Force officer in command of The Ohio State University’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps highlighted the Defense Federal Community’s 72nd Air Force birthday Sept. 18 at the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime Operations Center Auditorium.

Col. Kevin Cullen, the university’s professor of aerospace studies, delivered the keynote address to a crowd of active, retired and veteran Airmen serving at the Central Ohio logistics hub.

“Today we celebrate 72 years of heritage, 72 years of heroes, 72 years of victories and 72 years of sacrifice,” Cullen said. “Our Air Force story and the birth of aviation began just a few miles away with two bicycle mechanics and an airplane.”

Those bicycle mechanics were brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright, who worked in a Dayton, Ohio, bicycle shop where historians believe they researched, designed and created the first powered aircraft before launching it at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903. Congress officially declared Ohio as the birthplace of aviation in 2003 in recognition of the Wright brother’s roots.

Cullen shared with the audience that breaking barriers takes innovation and top talent and tied the day’s military celebration to a Constitution Day observance the day before which honored another group of innovators – the country’s founders.

Cullen also spoke of key moments in his 27-year career and what he’s learned as OSU’s senior Airman tasked with leading the cadre responsible for developing high quality leaders for the Air Force. The ceremony marked Cullen’s final birthday celebration as an active-duty Airman. 

Following the remarks, Cullen joined DLA Land and Maritime’s Chief of Staff, Air Force Col. Janette Ketchum, for a cake-cutting with a ceremonial military sword.

Ketchum concluded the program and presented a framed poster to Cullen for his participation.

“The Air Force birthday, like all of our military celebrations, serves to remind us of where we came from and help us better appreciate the sacrifices of those who went before us,” she said.

Master of ceremonies Air Force Master Sgt. Scott Seymour narrated the event and Air Force Maj. Jody Schweickart provided National Anthem vocals. Seymour is a business process analyst with DLA Land and Maritime and Schweickart is the wing executive officer for the 121st Air Refueling Wing at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base.