American Airmen … Happy Birthday

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Mark Dillon
  • 86th Airlift Wing commander
Today, the U.S. Air Force celebrates its 62nd birthday and its proud heritage of providing unrivaled air, space and cyber capabilities to our Nation.

On September 18, 1947, our Air Force became a separate branch of the military, signifying the commitment of the American people to leverage the most precise and reliable technology available for our defense in the air.

Throughout our rich history, our core functions have evolved, but our responsibility to project America's strength and compassion remains. Today, America's Airmen employ new technology and deliver global vigilance, reach and power for the joint team in responding to a changing world.

Our Airmen are doing an incredible job in Overseas Contingency Operations and continue to add to the legacy of those who came before them. They have continued to fight with courage and distinction from the mountains of Korea, to the jungles of Vietnam and the hot sands of Kuwait and Iraq during the first and second Gulf Wars.

Today, more than half of the nearly 40,000 Airmen currently deployed are supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, and due to the surge of approximately 21,000 troops to Afghanistan, Kandahar Air Base recently surpassed London's Gatewick Airport as the busiest single-runway airport in the world.

Our Air Force is built on the proud heritage of these warriors who have answered our nation's call and have pledged to defend her with their lives. As we continue to fight today's fight, I am proud to be part of the greatest Air Force the world has ever known, and all Airmen -- active duty, Guardsmen, Reservists, civilians, retirees and veterans -- should be proud of their contribution to our nation's security.

Take time today to remember and recognize the superior contributions our Air Force has made to our great nation. Also take time to remember the sacrifices that Airmen and their families have made to found the freedoms that we enjoy today.

And, as always, thank you and your families for serving.