U.S. Air Force celebrates, honors 60 years of excellence

  • Published
  • By Amanda Creel
  • 78th ABW/PA
Monday evening as the duty day came to a close members of Team Robins joined together to celebrate 60 years of Air Force history.

The retreat ceremony was an opportunity to recognize the many accomplishments of the Air Force and its members over the past 60 years - just one day before the official birthday of the Air Force, Sept. 18, 1947.

"A retreat ceremony is a fantastic way to honor and celebrate our Air Force's 60th birthday. For six decades, we've had men and women from all walks of life who answered their nation's call to serve in a variety of ways - as active duty Airmen, as citizen Airmen in the Reserves or National Guard, as civilian employees or as community leaders who support the installation and our families. Even the newest and most sophisticated aircraft or weapons systems are ineffective without talented Airmen to operate and maintain them and the various systems and facilities that support them," said Col. Theresa Carter, 78th Air Base Wing commander.

Brig. Gen. Richard Severson, Air Force Reserve Command assistant vice commander, said celebrating the achievements of Airmen over the last 60 years is "important because of the proud heritage and legacy we have."

General Severson said it was amazing to see how far the Air Force had advanced since his own career began in 1971. "There is no question why we are the world's best Air Force," he said.

Maj. Gen. Tom Owen agreed the total force of Airmen of the past, present and future should be thanked for their contributions in creating the superb Air Force of today. General Owen said there are many benefits to looking back to the Air Force's beginnings when the first generation of Airmen were facing the challenges of the Cold War and an uncertain future, because today our Airmen are facing a similar uncertainty as they continue to fight the global war on terror.

"I think it is important to think back on our history when the Air Force started and the challenges men and women faced in 1947 and then think about the situation we find ourselves in today," General Owen said.

General Owen, General Severson and Colonel Carter all agreed the Air Force's focus on total force over the years was an important landmark that should be celebrated and acknowledged for its role in helping the Air Force become the dominant air and space power and is allowing the Air Force to attain the same excellence in cyber space.

"Today's formation was a visible reminder that the total force is what brought us to this point and what will continue to keep our Air Force the world's best in the years to come," Colonel Carter said.

As part of the ceremony, The 19th Air Refueling Group was honored for its more than 40 years of excellent service to Robins. The group was celebrating its last Air Force birthday, alongside the Robins community, before its deactivation in the summer of 2008.

During the ceremony, the group was touted for its role in every major operation since World War II.

The group's commander, Col. Chris Bence, was chosen as the commander of Airmen for the ceremony.

Colonel Bence said the recognition of the group during the Air Force's 60th Birthday celebration was an honor and the base's recognition of the group shows the true team spirit of Team Robins.

He said the group will continue focusing on its almost 80 years of service and its 40 years as part of the Warner Robins community during a celebration of the group's 80th birthday Oct. 18-19.

Though the group was highlighted for its contributions to Air Force history, the celebration was about all the contributions and achievements of Airmen around the world during the past 80 years. The retreat celebrated the commonalities that bind all Airmen together, whether they are active duty, reserve, guard or civilian. General Severson highlighted these traits, such as the Air Force core values, the Air Force mission and the recently pinned Airmen's Creed.

Colonel Carter said without the men and women who have served the Air Force over the past 60 years and those who will continue to don blue for generations to come, the Air Force would not be able to continue to achieve the Air Force vision of "Global vigilance, reach and power."

"As we turn the page and begin a new year, let us remember, and let us honor the service and sacrifice that all Airmen, past and present, have made to ensure our Air Force remains the best in the world and our nation continues to be the land of the free and the home of the brave," she said.