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NEWS | Sept. 14, 2016

Happy 69th Birthday, Air Force!

By Col. Jimmy Canlas 437th Airlift Wing

On September 18, 1947, President Truman signed the National Security Act creating a separate service and signifying the birth of the United States Air Force. Prior to this act, our organization’s origins could be traced back first, to the U.S .Army Signal Corps and then, the Air Corps.

Even before we were recognized as a separate service, there were early airpower proponents like Billy Mitchell, who documented and demonstrated airpower’s lethality and potential to revolutionize warfare. During World War II, we witnessed brave Airmen, such as Richard Bong, the Doolittle Raiders, and the Tuskegee Airmen, demonstrate mastery of their craft. They showed our nation and the rest of the world what it meant to Fly, Fight and Win.  Our Air Force was built upon the shoulders of these giants.

Since 1947, our Air Force has found itself engaged in actions across the spectrum of military operations, answering our nation’s call time and time again. The Berlin Airlift, the Cold War, Korea,  Vietnam,  Operations DESERT SHIELD/STORM, JUST CAUSE, ALLIED FORCE, ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM, ODDESSEY DAWN, INHERANT RESOLVE and FREEDOM’S SENTINEL -- we can go on and on.  The B-29, F-86, SR-71, F-4, C-5, F-117, C-17, B-2 and Minuteman ICBMs -- are all examples of revolutionary platforms employed to contain, deter and dominate our enemies.  In the short span of 69 years, the nation witnessed our growth and development beyond the traditional roles of an air force, transforming into the world’s premier air, space and cyberspace force. 

Our technological advantage over our foes continues to be a major factor in our success as a service; though we know the real driver behind our success is not the iron on the ramp, missiles in the silos or satellites in space. Our success is due to the amazing Airmen serving on active duty, in the reserve and  guard components, and in the civilian workforce validating the same grit, innovative spirit and resolve demonstrated by the pioneers who paved our Air Force’s past.  We have outstanding commanders, courageous chiefs and an incredible NCO force envied by nations.  Aware of the weight of our legacy, our Airmen continue to deliver, through the sacrifices made to our country for over a quarter century.

Our history is the shortest amongst the services -- nevertheless, a proud history to be celebrated.  We recognize that our boundless future builds on our glorious history, and continue to champion the bonds between our pioneering Airmen and today’s warfighters.   It never ceases to amaze me how far our service has come in such a short period of time. It is a great time to be an Airman, and I am proud to serve with each of you, every day. 

Happy Birthday, Air Force!