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Celebrating 95 years in 2012!

  • Published
  • By Col. Mike Hornitschek
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing commander
This year marks the 95th Anniversary of the establishment of Scott Air Force Base, and we've got great plans to celebrate!

Our beginnings date back to World War I as our nation was looking for new "flying fields" to expand the role of aviation, and because of strong community advocates, the War Department leased what would become "Scott Field" on June 14, 1917.

Corporal Frank Scott, for whom the base is named after, was killed in an aviation accident five years earlier at the age of 24. The naming of the field is a lasting tribute to those who lost their lives during the early years of military aviation.

Since those early beginnings when we flew the Curtiss JN-4D "Jenny," which was an 8-cylinder, 90-horsepower aircraft used as the primary trainer, and creating the initial stages of aeromedical evacuation, this base has seen unprecedented growth and numerous changes in missions. We plan to focus on those achievements throughout the year as we highlight the people and missions that have made Scott AFB what it is today!

For starters, we plan to beautify this base with 95 trees! Actually, there'll be more than 95 trees planted--145 by April 19--but the first 95 are symbolic for each year of our existence, and this is being planned in addition to other Earth Week activities that are approaching. We plan to plant this first set of trees in key locations throughout base by April 6, with the rest saved for near Arbor Day on April 19. We've been recognized the past 18 years as a "Tree City USA" community, so we're excited to continue this tradition of excellence. A green, tree-filled community is a great way to visibly associate our heritage with our commitment to "leaving the base better than we found it" philosophy.

Our celebration continues into the summer as we plan our base-wide summer picnic, scheduled for June 15, and then head in to what we'll be calling "Scott Week" in September beginning with our annual Air Force Ball Sept. 8, which celebrates the Air Force's 65th Anniversary, and concluding with our exciting "Airpower Over the Midwest" air show Sept. 15-16, featuring the USAF Thunderbirds.

As we take our 95-year journey back through time, I'd like to ask for your help with stories or vignettes about the base's history...whether you or a family member were stationed here during an eventful season in its history, or performed some of the various missions that have been replaced by newer technologies. Similar to NPR's "Story Corps", my public affairs team, along with the wing historian, will be point on this project to collect personal Scott AFB recollections and any suggestions, information, or stories you have should be sent to 375amw.pa@us.af.mil.

One thing that hasn't changed over the years is the great support we've always received from our community partners. Back in 1917, Aerial expert Albert Bond Lambert joined the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce, and directors of the Greater Belleville Board of Trade, to negotiate the lease agreement and said, "The establishment of this field adds greatly to the prestige of the St. Louis district and will undoubtedly play an important part in the development of aeronautics from a commercial standpoint after the war."

Indeed it has played an important role since its humble beginnings to a place that has more than 13,000 employees whose missions that span the globe and reach millions through airlift, transportation, mobility, and communications networking to name just a few. We have wonderful neighbors who support our military members on a daily basis, and for that we are grateful. We know much of our success--and continued existence as a base--is directly due to an involved citizenry who advocate for a strong national defense.

I look forward to re-discovering our past with you as we plan to celebrate our amazing 95-year history as one of the oldest installations in our country! Air power!