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News | Sept. 20, 2022

McNamara Headquarters Complex employees mark Air Force’s 75th birthday

By Nancy Benecki

Employees at the McNamara Headquarters Complex celebrated the Air Force’s 75th birthday during a ceremony in the auditorium Sept. 16.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Peter Bonetti, director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Nuclear Enterprise Directorate, was the event’s keynote speaker.

“It's a special milestone because it marks our 75th birthday as the greatest service around,” Bonetti said. “Our Air Force has a proud history. For three quarters of a century, we’ve flown, fought and won wherever and whenever we've been asked to. And even as threats continue to expand into space and cyberspace, airmen expertly defend our nation with great substance.”

He described key moments of the Air Force’s history, from the first military flight over a century ago to President Harry Truman signing the National Security Act of 1947, which established the Air Force as a service separate from the Army.

“Finally, we were our own service branch,” he said.

He also highlighted airmen like the Flying Tigers, Tuskegee Airmen and Mighty Eighth Air Force.

“Legends like Eddie Rickenbacker, Billy Mitchell, Thomas McGuire, Jackie Cochran, Nancy Harkness Love, Chuck Yeager, Eileen Collins, Gen. Winston Marshall and countless more committed their lives to the advancement of airpower, and they shine brightly among our nation's vast collection of heroes today,” Bonetti said.

A video called “Innovate, Accelerate, Thrive: The Air Force at 75” played at the start of the ceremony. Air Force veterans in attendance were asked to stand for recognition.

The Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Color Guard from the University of Virginia presented the colors at the event. As the youngest airman at the ceremony, Cadet Jason Stout helped Bonetti cut the ceremonial birthday cake and received the first piece.