Tag Archives: history

HIStory’s affect on me

By Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information

What is history? What I remember from school is history is the study of past events; events such as the War of 1812, the fall of Adolf Hitler and the dropping of the atomic bomb by the Enola Gay. History is written documentation of events, people and places most of the time from eyewitness accounts.

Being an Air Force photojournalist, it is my responsibility to document, photograph and tell the Air Force story. In this particular case, the Air Force story was living, breathing and walking right before my eyes. On this day, I was exposed to history in a brand-new way.

Air Medal presentation photo
Retired Air Force Maj. Louis F. Tornabene listens to opening remarks from retired Col. Fred Borch, JAG Corps Regimental Historian and Archvisit, April 29, 2015, during Tornabene’s Air Medal ceremony held at the Hall of Heroes in The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School on the campus of The University of Virginia. Tornabene was recognized for his work in the Manhattan Project. The Air Medal was established by Executive Order 9158, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, May 11, 1942. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr./Released)

I had the opportunity to spend some time photographing and interviewing a 96-year-old World War II veteran, retired Maj. Louis Tornabene, at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia. Tornabene was awarded the Air Medal in 1946 for his work as a flight engineer on the top-secret Manhattan Project, but didn’t receive one at that time because of a shortage of medals. On April 29, 2015, almost 70 years later, the Air Force formally presented Tornabene the medal during a ceremony at the Hall of Heroes in the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School at the University of Virginia.

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What’s behind the name of an Air Force Base?

By Senior Airman Michelle Patten
Air Force Social Media

Unless you’re a history buff, you may serve for years at a location without thinking about the story behind your Air Force base’s name. You might have some vague idea that the name comes from some general who served long ago, but who was that Airman?

  • Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington
Base dedication ceremony
Gen. Nathan F. Twining, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen Gen. Curtis E. LeMay and Brig Gen. C. J. Bondley Jr. step off a plane at Spokane Air Force Base to attend the dedication ceremony July 20, 1951. Spokane Air Force Base was officially named Fairchild during the base dedication ceremony. The base was named for Gen. Muir S. Fairchild, former Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force and a Bellingham, Wash., native. (Historical photo)

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Doolittle Raiders: Place of honor

By Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Social Media

Pride, admiration and wonder.

These were some of the emotions I felt working on the Air Force public affairs team covering the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders’ Congressional Gold Medal ceremony April 18 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

My job that day was pretty straightforward — write social media posts and share imagery from the event to educate and inform the public about the significant contributions of these American heroes. When the day arrived, I was prepared to go out and perform my duties. But, I was unprepared for how awestruck I would be seeing the last two Doolittle Tokyo Raiders take their place of honor on the Wright-Patterson flightline as their Congressional Gold Medal was flown onto the base by a vintage B-25 bomber, the same aircraft used during the Doolittle Raid in 1942.

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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.

Just fly your airplane

By Bo Joyner
Headquarters, Air Force Reserve Command Public Affairs

Maj. Gen. Stayce Harris is the first female numbered air force commander in the history of Air Force Reserve Command, but it’s not easy to get her to talk about her groundbreaking career. She would much rather chat about the 15,000 Air Force reservists who keep 22nd Air Force flying and fighting every day in 23 locations.

“The 22nd has some amazing missions,” said Harris, who assumed command in July 2014 over the Reserve’s tactical air mobility operations and other vital mission sets like undergraduate pilot training, flight test operations and a highly mobile civil engineering response force.

Aircrews from the 22nd AF fly a variety of missions to include aerial spray, fire suppression, hurricane hunting and troop transport using the C-130 Hercules.

Gen. Darren W. McDew, Air Mobility Command commander, and Hillard W. Pouncy, an original Tuskegee Airman, pin stars on Harris during her recent promotion ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jaclyn McDonald/Released)
Gen. Darren W. McDew, Air Mobility Command commander, and Hillard W. Pouncy, an original Tuskegee Airman, pin stars on Harris during her recent promotion ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jaclyn McDonald/Released)

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