Thursday marks the 61st birthday of the U.S. Air Force. It is amazing to think that in its relatively short life, the Air Force has emerged as the best – no doubt about it – air force in the world, with nary a peer against which to compete. That doesn’t matter, because the American Air Force competes against its own high standards, and just seems to get better.
While its arsenal is visible and effective, in recent years it seems that the Air Force has evolved into a force that you often don’t see…until it is too late.
The F-117A Nighthawk emerged from rumor to brutal reality during Operation Desert Storm, flying 1300 sorties and hitting some 1600 high value targets in Iraq. And you never saw them.
The B-2 Spirit came into our consciousness a few years later. “The combat effectiveness of the B-2 was proved in Operation Allied Force, where it was responsible for destroying 33 percent of all Serbian targets in the first eight weeks, by flying nonstop to Kosovo from its home base in Missouri and back.” (USAF) During Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, the B2 not only flew non-stop round trips from Missouri, it also deployed in theater.
The Air Force has a special operations branch too. They don’t get the publicity that other SPECOPS groups get, but that’s kind of the point.
Hurricanes are in the news this time of year – Air Force Hurricane Hunters are the ones who fly into the storms and send vital information back to the National Hurricane Center and its military counterparts to keep people and property safe.
Sometimes its actions are more visible – during relief operations, in direct support of combat operations, and in logistic support. But even then, the Air Force exhibits a quiet confidence in its abilities. There’s no need to blare your horn when you’re good.
When you talk about space, or satellites, or eye-watering technology you’re talking Air Force. It’s members are proud of their service, because it is the best in the world.
America is proud of them too.
Happy birthday, Air Force. No one does it better, and you’re our heroes of the week.