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Air Force celebrates 60 years

WASHINGTON (AFRNS) -- A lineup of top military officials, musical entertainment and the chance to meet those who made early Air Force history drew representatives from each service to the Air Force's 60th anniversary celebration Sept. 18 in the Pentagon courtyard.

Members of the Air Force entertainment organization Tops in Blue kicked off the celebration followed by the reading of excerpts from the congressional resolution that marks Sept. 18 as the Air Force anniversary. Readers included Congresswoman Heather Wilson, Congressman John Spratt and retired Col. George "Bud" Day, a Medal of Honor recipient.

In keeping with the anniversary theme, "Heritage to Horizons... commemorating 60 years of Air and Space Power," heritage groups represented included Berlin Airlifters, Tuskegee Airmen, Women Airforce Service Pilots, Korean War veterans, Vietnam War veterans and Air Force astronauts. Also present were family members of Gen. Carl A. Spaatz, first chief of staff of the Air Force.

Gen. T. Michael Moseley, the service's 18th and current chief of staff, recognized these groups during his remarks.

"To all of the Airmen in our heritage groups, you each represent proud chapters in our rich Air Force history... . Our great pioneers and captains of air power -- represented by the Heritage Groups here today -- established our mission: to fly, fight, and win, first in the air, then air and space, and now in air, space and cyberspace," General Moseley said.

Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne recognized the contributions of Airmen who paved the way for today's Air Force and those who will serve in the future.

"It is the people who make our Air Force great," he said. "Each of our total force Airmen -- past, present and those who will follow us -- can take pride in their role in the Air Force's success."

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, who served at Whiteman AFB, Mo., as a second lieutenant 40 years ago, described the Air Force as the "sword and shield of the nation, its sentry and its avenger.

"Above all else, it is the men and women of the Air Force who have for so many years made this institution what it is," said Secretary Gates. (Courtesy of Air Force Print News)