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Happy Birthday, Air Force!

  • Published
  • By Col. Kyle Kremer
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing commander
I want to start by thanking everyone who helped make the Air Force Birthday Ball this past Saturday a huge success. For those who were unable to attend, you will definitely want to clear your calendar for next year. The gala style affair celebrated the 66th anniversary of the Air Force as an independent military service with great food, entertainment and fellowship, and also offered us an opportunity to pay tribute to our rich heritage at Scott AFB dating back to 1917.

From its humble beginnings during World War I as an aviation training airfield, to later receiving the "lighter than air" missions of balloons and dirigibles, Scott Field played an important role in our national defense. During World War II, the field reverted to a training base featuring the communications and radio schools that trained many of our future leaders and heroes, including Medal of Honor recipient Forrest Vossler.

Fittingly, President Harry Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 while aboard the first Presidential Aircraft, a VC-54C named the "Sacred Cow"...a precursor to today's VC-25, "Air Force One"... establishing the United States Air Force effective Sept. 18, 1947. As a result, Scott Field was re-designated as Scott Air Force Base, and it was during this time that its aeromedical evacuation mission continued to grow. Through the 50s, 60s and 70s, numerous units were activated and reorganized to meet the growing needs of the service. During that time, Scott's medical personnel helped bring home more than 350 former Prisoners of War from Vietnam.

On Friday, Sept. 20, we will have the opportunity to once again remember and recognize all prisoners of war and those still missing in action at the annual POW-MIA recognition ceremony at 10 a.m. on the Parade Field (inclement weather plan is in the Global Reach Planning Center).

In the years since Vietnam, Scott AFB has grown to host over 30 mission partner units, including the Illinois Air National Guard's 126th Air Refueling Wing and the Air Force Reserve's 932d Airlift Wing. While not officially a "joint base," we are proud to support our sister service members from United States Transportation Command and the Army's Surface Deployment and Distribution Command. In combination with Air Mobility Command and enabled by the communications, cyber and supply chain warriors stationed here, Scott AFB has become the singular hub for providing rapid global mobility for our Nation. This, in my opinion, is the linchpin capability that sets the United States apart as the preeminent superpower in the world.

Through the years we've seen aircraft and missions come and go, but one thing has remained the same--the outstanding Airmen who continue to serve with honor and diligence. I certainly echo our Air Force Chief of Staff's belief that we have the "world's greatest Air Force ... powered by Airmen, fueled by innovation." He recently stated "every Airman matters, and delivering airpower requires all of us working together as an unbeatable team."

Our history is remarkable because of "ordinary Airmen" doing extraordinary things, and our future will be equally so for the very same reasons. I am incredibly proud to serve with you and look forward to sharing more of my thoughts and vision for the wing with you during my Commander's Call, also on Friday, Sept. 20, at the base auditorium. Thank you for your service and for what you voluntarily do to support and defend our great Nation.