Frontiers of Blue: This is 72!

  • Published
  • By Col. J. Scot Heathman
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing

From the halls of the Air, Space & Cyber Conference in Maryland—the nation's largest annual Air Force gathering—Happy 72nd Birthday to our Air Force!

At AFA, we are rubbing shoulders with the Air Force’s top leadership, industry experts, and government officials and it’s exciting as we discuss the challenges and opportunities we face today and in the future.

But, facing challenges is something we’ve been doing long before the creation of the Air Force on Sept. 18, 1947.  For instance, Scott Field had long been established, 1917 be exact, when airships and balloons ruled the skies. 

Can you imagine the size of those mammoth airships, the hundreds of people it took to maneuverer those out of the world’s second largest hangar here at Scott—a building so large it was seen for miles in every direction?

The aviation pioneers of that day risked their lives on a daily basis as they climbed to new heights and expanded the capabilities of these ships. Then with the advent of the first aircraft which were literally held together by paper and wires, there were brave souls like Corporal Frank Scott, who were killed while testing, flying and pushing our capabilities to new heights.

Scott AFB can be proud of its role during its over 100 year history with contributions to aviation, aeromedical evacuation missions, airlift and aerial refueling, radio and cyber advancements.  And through it all, our team of Airmen made it all happen with their professionalism, dedication, resilience, skill, and heroism.

We’ve seen a lot in these past 72 years as a separate military force, uniquely qualified to bring stability to the world through air dominance and air superiority—saving lives on and off the battlefields. There is much to be proud of, and yet, much more work to be done to ensure we stay dominant in our domain.

Our Airmen and their families serve all over the world, sacrifice time with loved ones, all to ensure our nation’s security objectives are achieved. We recently remembered those events of 9/11 that forced us into action yet again, and we’re seeing how the nature of war continues to shift.

That’s why it’s so critical to keep improving and innovating. The status quo is not the goal.  To fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace, we must be present, be bold and be innovative to continue developing leaders who can deliver the competitive edge of tomorrow.

Let’s also take a moment to celebrate how far we have come, how high we’ve flown.  Let’s take a moment to raise a glass to toast the pioneers and legends who paved the way, to the honorable men and women we’ve lost, and to those who keep their legacies alive. Happy Birthday Air Force!

We are one team with one fight, and together is the only way to achieve this. I salute all those currently serving and consider it one of my greatest honors to serve alongside you.  Let’s keep this Air Force battle ready for the fight now and always! Happy Birthday Air Force and many, many more!