Richmond, Va. –
Airmen and Defense Logistics Agency Aviation employees celebrated the Air Force’s 71st birthday Sept. 18, with a ceremony at Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia.
Air Force Commander Col. Terrence Kilgore, 345th Training Squadron, Fort Lee, Virginia, was the guest speaker. In his speech, he highlighted the Air Force’s 71st birthday theme: “American Airman … Wingman, Leader, Warrior.” He called the theme befitting for a service that encompasses all three character traits.
“We are all leaders,” Kilgore told the audience of roughly 100 people. “As leaders, we must be respected for our honesty, our compassion and our understanding of mission first but people always. This is the difference between being tolerated or celebrated by your troops.
“As airmen, our service is young in its age but unrivaled in its ability. We are part of America’s warrior team; yet,” Kilgore said, quoting Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper, “‘our warriors are no longer limited to the people who fly the airplanes. Our entire force is a warrior force. Being a warrior is not an [Air Force specialty code], it’s a condition of the heart.’”
In its seven decades of existence, the Air Force has become the world’s premier aerospace force. The National Security Act of 1947 reorganized the national security apparatus of the United States, separating the Army Air Forces from the Army and making it an equal branch of the military. The U.S. Air Force was officially founded on Sept. 18, 1947; notably, Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 into law on what would become the first plane to be designated as Air Force One.
Interestingly, the Air Force shares a birthday with another venerated government group: the Central Intelligence Agency. Also created under the National Security Act of 1947, the CIA welcomed veterans from the Office of Strategic Services —the World War II-era intelligence service—who made up one third of the inaugural workforce.
“Let us never forget that we are all Americans first - united in cause, connected by our heritage, humble for our blessings and proud of who we are. God bless the United States of America and its Armed Forces,” Kilgore said. “We always aim high … never go low. We are the Air Force. All airmen always, and always proud of who we are. From the air, the ground, a silo, a bunker, a foxhole or while standing post, we are always ready to deliver America’s compassion—or its fist.”
Five things you might not know about the U.S. Air Force (Facts taken from military.com, historyinorbit.com, and uso.org)
An airman was the first to break the sound barrier. In 1947, then-Air Force Capt. Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in a Bell X-1 rocket powered aircraft.
Airmen welcome new commanders with a “roof stomp”—climbing on the roof as well as banging on windows and doors.
Airmen grow mustaches in the month of March every year to honor Air Force legend Brig. Gen. Robin Olds, a WWII and Vietnam War veteran, and triple ace.
At the height of the Cold War, the Air Force managed so many nuclear weapons in North Dakota, if the state had seceded it would have been the third largest nuclear power in the world.
1958 - 1962: Chuck Norris wouldn’t be Chuck Norris without the Air Force. He developed an interest in martial arts while serving as an air policeman (now security forces) in Korea in order to be better at his job.
The Air Force is responsible for tracking Santa. The North American Aerospace Defense Command – better known as NORAD – fires up its Santa tracker each December.