Commander’s Corner: Anniversary celebration lived up to its promise

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, New Mexico -- Sixty years ago this week, the National Security Act of 1947 established the Air Force as an independent service. That independence marked a milestone in air and space history.

Born out of the lessons of World War II, the fledgling service stood on the shoulders of giants like Billy Mitchell and Hap Arnold, and demonstrated that Airmen bring a unique perspective to warfare that could only be fully developed in an independent service, the new U.S. Air Force. In the decades that followed, the Air Force grew into the most powerful military force the world had ever known.

Last Friday, men and women from New Mexico's three Air Force bases gathered to celebrate 60 years of heritage at the Sandia Resort. The day showcased the Air Force's history, present and future through exhibits, and both ground and aerial demonstrations.

Each and every day I am proud to wear the Air Force uniform, but I was particularly proud that day to stand side by side with other Airmen and the community and celebrate our Air Force.

I hope you took the opportunity to head out to Sandia Resort and celebrate in the Air Force's rich history, on both national and state levels. Many people worked very hard to put together the day of events and make the 60th anniversary celebration something the state of New Mexico would never forget.

I would like to thank Col. Mohsen Parhizkar, 377th Air Base Wing vice commander and New Mexico Air Force Bases 60th Anniversary Celebration planning committee chairman, for making this event one of the best the Air Force has seen. He put together a team of more than 100 volunteers who put more than seven months of effort into planning a memorable day.

Their efforts paid off and we had a tremendous turnout from the public to see exhibits put on by Air Force units and Department of Defense contractors. Those exhibits showed the amazing capabilities of our technologies and our people.

We got to see the discipline and showmanship of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team and see Air Force aircraft both up close and personal and in the skies. Our pararescue instructors parachuted from 5,000 feet above the resort into a clear blue sky, unfurled the American, state, Air Force, and POW/MIA flags, landed precisely on target in front of the crowd, and shook hands with entertainer Lee Greenwood who was waiting there to meet them.

The dinner reception at the end of the evening was a beautiful setting for over 1,000 members of the Air Force family, civic and business leaders, and congressional members. The evening was a fitting tribute to a glorious 60-year partnership between the Air Force and the state of New Mexico.

The entire day was a tremendous success, and it showcased our Air Force in way that should make us all proud. To all those who made this great event possible, well done!