‘Always an airman’ at 69th Air Force birthday

By Christopher Goulait

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Employees from across the McNamara Headquarters Complex celebrated the Air Force’s 69th birthday with stories and performances at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Sept. 22.

Defense Logistics Agency Director Air Force. Lt. Gen. Andy Busch hosted the event for members of the Air Force, past and present, to look back on their experience in the service and welcome more years to come.

Busch noted that his 41 years in the Air Force, four years at the Air Force Academy and 37 years commissioned, represented about 60 percent of the total lifespan of the Air Force. His history with the Air Force also came up in a recent trip to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, where he spoke to 800 graduates of basic military training.

“I’ve served just about 41 years in uniform, and I want to tell you a few things about your service. You are going to treasure the relationships you form when you serve in uniform like nothing else, and you will always remember them. You will also do some of the coolest things you will ever do in your life.”

As an example, Busch shared stories about some of his most notable experiences in the Air Force, such as his time in the F1-17 program. He reflected on the service’s innovation in the past and looked forward to seeing the graduates carry that innovation into the future.

“Like I told the airmen at Lackland, ‘Our time … in the Air Force is characterized by great relationships and cool missions. And you will always be an airman,’” Busch said.

The ceremony included a video timeline of the history of the Air Force, as well as a performance from the U.S. Air Force Drill Team. Songs capped the event, beginning with Billie Goff singing the national anthem and ending with the audience singing the Air Force song.

The event concluded with Busch performing the traditional cake cut with a military sword, along with recognition of DLA’s youngest airman, Capt. Shane Perry, and the oldest airman attending, Col. John Martin.