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“T-birds” and “Tigers” celebrate 100 years

Airmen and their families view a B-25 Mitchell bomber on display during the 34th and 37th Bomb Squadron’s 100th anniversary celebration at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., June 12, 2017. The squadrons are two of the oldest in the Air Force, with the 34th BS formed on May 10, 1917, and the 37th on June 13, 1917. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Donald C. Knechtel)

Airmen and their families view a B-25 Mitchell bomber on display during the 34th and 37th Bomb Squadron’s 100th anniversary celebration at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., June 12, 2017. The squadrons are two of the oldest in the Air Force, with the 34th BS formed on May 10, 1917, and the 37th on June 13, 1917. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Donald C. Knechtel)

Retired Col. Thomas Arko, a guest speaker during the 100th anniversary celebration, spoke on the 34th and 37th Bomb Squadrons in the Pride Hangar at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., June 12, 2017. Both the 34th and 37th BS have played significant roles in the nation’s defense dating back to the Army Air Corps and their involvement with World War I. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Donald C. Knechtel)

Retired Col. Thomas Arko, a guest speaker during the 100th anniversary celebration, spoke on the 34th and 37th Bomb Squadrons in the Pride Hangar at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., June 12, 2017. Both the 34th and 37th BS have played significant roles in the nation’s defense dating back to the Army Air Corps and their involvement with World War I. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Donald C. Knechtel)

A B-1 bomber conducts a combat departure at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., June 12, 2017. A combat departure is a tactic designed to defeat possible threats in the vicinity of the air field during takeoff. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Denise Jenson)

A B-1 bomber conducts a combat departure at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., June 12, 2017. A combat departure is a tactic designed to defeat possible threats in the vicinity of the air field during takeoff. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Denise Jenson)

Airmen and their families attend a static display at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., June 12, 2017. Two B-1 bombers, a B-52 Stratofortress and a B-25 Mitchell bomber were on display for the 100th birthday of the 34th and 37th Bomb Squadrons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Denise Jenson)

Airmen and their families attend a static display at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., June 12, 2017. Two B-1 bombers, a B-52 Stratofortress and a B-25 Mitchell bomber were on display for the 100th birthday of the 34th and 37th Bomb Squadrons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Denise Jenson)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --

More than 100 Ellsworth Airmen, family members and distinguished guest attended the 100th anniversary celebration of the 34th and 37th Bomb Squadrons, June 12, 2017.

The squadrons are two of the oldest in the Air Force, with the 34th BS formed on May 10, 1917, and the 37th formed on June 13, 1917. Both squadrons have played significant roles in the nation’s defense dating back to the Army Air Corps and their involvement with World War I.

“Today we honored two truly world-class bomb squadrons, the 34th and the 37th,” said Col. John Martin, commander of the 28th Operations Group. “I'd personally like to thank Capts Nathan Boyer, Josh Hall and all those who assisted them to ensure this milestone event was an unmitigated success.”

According to Martin, the 34th BS “Thunderbirds” and 37th BS “Tigers” have consistently proven themselves in combat, showing courage through airpower in the face of impossible odds; and in the process, cementing their place in history.

Now, a century later, Ellsworth celebrated this momentous occasion with retired Col. Thomas Arko as a guest speaker during the 100th anniversary celebration, a static display of two B-1 bombers, a B-52 Stratofortress and a B-25 Mitchell bomber, the same aircraft used to perform the famous Doolittle Raid.

“History is about events, it is the people in those events that demonstrated leadership, that demonstrated initiative,” Martin explained. “Getting to know those people--that gets you in touch with your heritage and having connections with those people develops a culture, the kind of culture that you have at this very special place with these two special squadrons—a deep and pervasive culture of excellence.”

With an impressive history to live up to, the current 34th and 37th BS aircrew and maintainers stand ready to continue a proud heritage.