AETC continues to develop Airmen, celebrates 80th anniversary

  • Published
  • Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

Members of Air Education and Training Command celebrated the command’s 80th anniversary recently, honoring the Air Force’s oldest major command and all the students and trainees who have been recruited, trained and educated at First Command. 

Throughout 2022, members at AETC have plans to celebrate the 80th milestone for AETC with various events around the command.  

The first event to honor the anniversary was Jan. 22, when Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., provided remarks virtually. 

“The familiar torch of knowledge has been continuously passed and still lights our way in a complex world,” Brown said. “Everything the men and women of AETC do underpins the Air Force’s critical role in national defense and global security. We must never forget AETC is where we started, and where we came from. Your history is the Air Force’s history, and you chart our important path into the future.” 


Other events planned during 2022 to highlight the anniversary are the Wings Over Columbus Air Show and STEM Expo at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, March 26-27; Fiesta San Antonio, March 3-April 10; the Great Texas Air Show at JBSA-RandolphApril 23-24; and the Legacy of Liberty Air Show and Open House at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 7-8. 

“For 80 years, AETC has taken America’s sons and daughters – young men and women who have volunteered to serve their country in difficult times – and forged and developed them into professional Airmen and Guardians,” said Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, AETC commander. “Our legacy then and now is fighting through challenges. We must continue to invest in learning opportunities that allow Airmen to learn the way they live. Accelerating change starts with an empowered workforce that has the foundational competencies, the right skills and the drive to innovate.” 

Throughout AETC’s history, training to develop Airmen, and most recently Guardians, has been a priority. 

Our people, are our greatest weapon system, no matter the decade,” said Chief Master Sgt. Erik Thompson, AETC command chief master sergeant. “We celebrate in the fact that nearly all Airmen begin their careers in the First Command and continue to return to us throughout their careers for their development. We take pride in knowing that our people programs keep Airmen ready to meet the challenges of today and the future.” 

Feb. 20, 1910 – Wright Brothers open flying school at the future site of Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama 
March 2, 1910 – Lt. Benjamin Foulois teaches himself to fly aboard Army Aeroplane One at Fort Sam Houston 
Nov. 1, 1927 – Construction begins on Randolph Field 
Aug. 17, 1940 – San Angelo Air Corps Basic Flying School established (Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas) 
March 29, 1941 – Groundbreaking at Litchfield Park Air Base (Luke Air Force Base, Arizona) 
April 1, 1941 – First aircraft lands at Albuquerque Army Air Base (Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico) 
June 12, 1941 – Army Air Corps Station Eight established (Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi) 
June 15, 1941 – San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center established (Lackland Air Force Base, Texas) 
July 12, 1941 – Enid Army Flying School established (Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma) 
Sept. 12, 1941 – Construction begins for Kaye Field (Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi) 
Oct. 17, 1941 – Sheppard Field opens (Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas) 
Jan. 23, 1942 – Activation of Air Corps Flying Training Command 
March 15, 1942 – ACFTC redesignated Army Air Forces Flying Training Command 
June 17, 1942 – Altus Army Airfield established (Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma) 
March 3, 1943 – Establishment of Laughlin Army Air Field (Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas) 
July 31, 1943 – AAFFTC redesignated Army Air Forces Training Command 
July 1, 1946 – Air Training Command (ATC) organized as redesignation of AAFTC 
July 1, 1993 – Air Education and Training Command established, absorbing Air University, as redesignation of ATC 
For AETC’s complete history, please visit the Air Force Historian’s publications website.