Tag Archives: heritage

Favorite fan going-away gifts, redeployment mementos

By Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

FB-post-giftsLast month, we asked you to share your most unforgettable going-away gifts or redeployment mementos, and you came through in grand fashion. We received more than 200 comments on our Facebook page with people sharing everything from plaques and retirement shadow boxes to custom, handmade keepsakes. Each item tells a unique story that connects an Airman with their flight, squadron, base and Air Force heritage. These particular gifts caught our eye. Do any of them spark a memory from your own military career?

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Every March, I mustache myself a question

By Capt. Zach Anderson
931st Air Refueling Group Public Affairs

The razor hovered just above my upper lip. The blade was suspended millimeters from my skin. The consequences of my next move would have lasting ramifications for at least the next thirty days. Even at this moment of reckoning, I wasn’t sure which path I would choose.

The day had started like any other Monday: Slap the alarm, get dressed, head to the gym, and then on to work. But this morning was different. This was Monday, March 2, 2015, the first official work day of “Mustache March 2015.” Today, the typical morning routine of gym, shower and shave was anything but typical. This morning came with the added weight of a decision that had to be made–a decision that was reflected in the mirror, literally staring me in the face as I stood there with razor in hand.

To shave or not to shave? That is the question.

The pull to drop the razor, rinse the shaving cream off my upper lip and “let it grow” was strong. After all, Mustache March is a part of Air Force heritage, the roots of which go back to the legendary facial hair of Brig. Gen. Robin Olds, a triple-ace fighter pilot attributed with shooting down a total of 17 enemy aircraft in World War II and Vietnam. Wasn’t it in some way my duty as an Airman to do my part to pay homage to this tradition?

Besides, I already had a weekend’s worth of stubble in place which made for the beginnings of what could possibly evolve into a truly glorious mustache. Visions of a perfectly waxed handlebar danced in my head as I imagined taking the top prize for the base “Mustache March Madness” competition. (Granted, the handlebar style wouldn’t be within Air Force regulations for dress and appearance, which would mean disqualification from the competition, but still, it would look fantastic!)

On the other hand, my track record for growing a mustache, or facial hair of any type for that matter, is less than stellar. Prior to joining the military, I made a few ill-fated attempts at a goatee, and during a deployment, I even sported a valiant attempt at what turned out to be a miserable excuse for a mustache. Unfortunately, all my attempts fell well short of the initial goal of growing luscious, full-bodied whiskers. (The results were bad enough my wife informed me that, should I return to the United States from my deployment with said mustache on my upper lip, I could find my own ride home from the airport…and I’d be sleeping on the couch until the growth was removed.)

Plus, I’m a public affairs officer. What if I’m needed to give a statement to the media or appear on camera for a TV interview?  Would I come across as a professional representative for the Air Force with a scraggly bit of peach fuzz resembling a severely malnourished caterpillar adorning my upper lip?

These thoughts coursed through my mind as I stood there, weighing the pros and cons of participating in the yearly tradition against maintaining my usual, freshly-shorn face. After several moments of agonizing, I made my decision. I pressed the razor to my skin and began to shave.

I simply have to face the facts: I’m no Tom Selleck. Even at the ripe old age of 35, I still can’t grow what can be even remotely considered a real mustache. For this reason, I regretfully will not  participate in Mustache March 2015. For those of you who can pull off the mustache, I salute you and give my full support to your brave, month-long endeavor.

May your whiskers sprout thick and true and may no inadvertent slip of a razor blemish their growth. A part of me envies your facial hair generation ability. In a way, I feel like I’m missing out on a part of Air Force heritage and tradition. But in another way, I’m quite pleased with my decision to remain clean shaven.

The fact is, I honestly couldn’t have taken sleeping on the couch for an entire month, not even for the sake of tradition.

Mustache March

by Maj. Jon Quinlan
507th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

mustacheSo it’s March, and what’s the first thing you think about in this glorious month? Mustache March of course! This year, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh issued a challenge to the force during the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium to grow our mustaches in honor of our aviation heritage and to remember those brave Airmen who fought before us.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had an all-in Mustache March, have we?” Welsh said. “I’m putting the smack down on you guys. Air Force-wide Mustache March, MAJCOM competitions.”

What’s the deal with Mustache March and the Air Force? Three-time ace pilot Brig. Gen. Robin Olds was one of those legendary Airmen and he sported an equally legendary mustache. He was a “triple ace” with a combined total of 16 victories in World War II and the Vietnam War. Every March, I see his picture with his handlebar “bulletproof” mustache that he flagrantly wore against military regulations. Some say he was one of the greatest aerial warriors America ever produced, a fighter pilot’s “fighter pilot.”

This brings us to today and our generation of Airmen. Sure there is plenty of frustrating news about lowered budgets, draw downs and Air Force reductions in force. But, as professional Airmen, we should stay away from that noise. One way for me, and maybe you, is to grow and be proud of your mustache. Be proud to be an Airman and have pride of our traditions and heritage.

Yes, your wives, significant others, co-workers and bosses may ridicule your sorry excuse for a mustache. That’s what makes Mustache March so great! We know mustaches are generally at a low point of acceptance in America. But, we can keep it real and proudly grow our disturbing facial hair in the name of tradition and in accordance with AFI 36-2903. Maybe some of our units can even set up fundraisers to donate money for a good cause while having some fun too.

In case you were wondering, here is a excerpt from AFI 36-2903. Mustaches. Male Airmen may have mustaches; however they will be conservative (moderate, being within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme) and will not extend downward beyond the lip line of the upper lip or extend sideways beyond a vertical line drawn upward from both corners of the mouth.

Our CSAF has thrown down the gauntlet. Let’s grow some mustaches.

“Belle:” An ageless beauty

By Tech. Sgt. Nick Kurtz
Defense Media Activity

Master Sgt J.T. Lock, Senior Airman Zach Lopez and I travelled to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to shoot some TV news stories at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. This piece is set in the restoration backshop, where a group made up almost entirely of volunteers is restoring what is perhaps the most famous plane in Air Force history.

This was an amazing trip and a fantastic learning experience for all of us. We wanted to try a different style of storytelling than we were used to, drawing inspiration from many of the wonderful videos we’ve seen on Vimeo. Two videos in particular that really inspired me for this piece were Coffer (by Lost & Found Films) and Shinya Kimura @ Chabott Engineering (by Henrik Hansen). Also, pretty much everything by the folks at California is a Place.

I hope you enjoy this piece, and I hope it sparks an interest for you in military history. I know working on it did for me. If you’d like to visit the Air Force Museum, you can take a virtual tour online at nationalmuseum.af.mil/virtualtour/index.asp


Video: As a retired aircraft mechanic, Roger has always loved airplanes. But he’s never met one like her. She’s a timeless symbol of World War II, and she’s come to him for help. She’s seen better days, and desperately needs his tender hands and passionate heart to help restore her to her former glory. This is the story of Roger Brigner, his love affair with “Belle,” and the lasting legacy their relationship will leave behind.