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For U.S. Air Force, Older Means Better!

United States Air Force Thunderbirds
(Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Happy Birthday U.S. Air Force!  You’re 65-years-old, and as they say “you’re not getting older, you’re getting better!”  Heaven forbid you would be thinking about retirement!

During World War II, when you were known as the U.S. Army Air Corps, your superior air power helped swing the balance of the scales from tyranny in Europe and the Pacific to freedom for all.

When the National Security Act passed on September 18, 1947, you came into your own, known as the United States Air Force.  You went from khaki to blue. And what a beautiful blue it is!

Your  men and women in blue definitely captured my attention and passion as a teenager.    My dream was to become a fighter pilot.  I dreamed of  going the Academy.  I became an athlete and a scholar in order to “measure up” to the tough standards your Academy requires for entrance both academically and physically.

You have the only college or university system that I’m aware of that wants you to leave.  You wash out hundreds of candidates, to be left with only the “cream of the crop” on graduation day.  Newly commissioned officers capable of handling the rigors that today’s national security demands.

I’m proud to say I met the demands you asked for entrance.  However, while I was taking my physical for the Academy,  I was told I would never be able to fly.  My eyesight was not 20/20, a requirement for flying in the military.  In 1979, Lasik surgery wasn’t even a word, let alone a procedure.

Consequently, I listened to the wrong people who talked me out of going.  It was a decision I regret to this day.

But enough about me, let’s talk about your future, U.S. Air Force.  You have evolved into one of the most technologically superior fighting forces the world has ever known. You list as your core functions in your 2010 Posture Statement as:

  • Nuclear Deterrence Operations
  • Air Superiority
  • Global Integrated ISR
  • Space Superiority
  • Command and Control
  • Cyberspace Superiority
  • Personnel Recovery
  • Global Precision Attack
  • Building Partnerships
  • Rapid Global Mobility
  • Agile Combat Support

Whew!  What’s next?  I dare not ask.  You will rise to the test again and again.  You always have and you always will.

For the talented and capable young men and women you recruit will make it so to the relief and peace-of-mind of a grateful nation.  Happy 65th United States Air Force!  Here’s to you and many, many more years to come!

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