Air Force, 68 years later--Recognize past achievements; vector for future success

  • Published
  • By Lt. Gen. Chris Nowland
  • 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander
With the establishment of the Air Force as a separate service, American leaders recognized the need for and value of a service focused on the invaluable effects that airpower brings to the fight.

While we make up the youngest of the American military services, the Air Force was born from, and continues to be, a beacon of innovation and change--the ability to assess, adapt and achieve has been a mantra since before we became a separate service. It's our heritage.

Sixty-eight years later, we continue this tradition. Our core missions haven't fundamentally changed since 1947. In fact, we've only added to them. Today we stand ready to fly, fight and win against threats in air, space and cyberspace. And while we are the most advanced Air Force in the world technologically, it's our Airmen both in uniform and out of uniform, who afford us this notoriety.

With names like Jimmy Doolittle, Benjamin O. Davis, Chuck Yeager, Jason Cunningham, our talented Airmen come from diverse experiences and communities throughout the United States, truly representing a cross-section of America. We operate across air, space, and cyber domains to provide the nation with unmatched global vigilance, global reach, and global power.

These pioneering and courageous Airmen set the stage for continued success and valor by today's Airmen. As we continue in their footsteps, we owe it to them and our country to ensure those who follow after us understand the great responsibility bestowed upon those who call themselves Airmen.

Now, more than at any other time in our history, we need bold leaders who encourage innovation, embrace new thinking and take prudent risks to achieve mission success.

As a service, we may not get more resources and we may not get more people. But I guarantee that we will continue to be looked to as the world leaders in employing and projecting American military power through the air, space and cyberspace. This is an edge we cannot lose, and it's up to us as Airmen to ensure we don't.

We cannot predict what will happen in the world in 5, 10 or 20 years. But we must stay flexible and agile to maintain our technological edge, to develop and educate Airmen, and to train and employ forces.

Sixty-eight years ago, the United States recognized the need for the Air Force to exist as a separate service. Since then we've made air superiority our hallmark through dedicated Airmen with innovative ideas. It's these ideals which make us unique and make us the best in the world. Happy Birthday, Airmen.