The Defense Information Systems Agency marked the U.S. Air Force’s 72nd birthday with a celebration hosted by DISA’s Assistant to the Director, Army Major General Garrett Yee on September 18.
The event, themed “Frontiers of Blue, This is 72,” featured guest speaker, U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General Jack Shanahan, director of Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), and offered employees a glimpse into the traditions, rituals, core missions and values upheld by the country’s aerial warfare service branch.
“There is this connection that the Army has with the Air Force,” said Yee during opening remarks and his introduction of Shanahan, before explaining that the predecessor to the Air Force was the Army Signal Corp Aeronautical Division, established in 1907 and the Army Air Corps, founded in 1926. “We’re great teammates on the battlefield today. We have a great military, and that’s because we have a great Air Force.”
During his remarks, Shanahan explained the qualities he thinks airmen possess — boldness, a caring nature, creativity, optimism, agility and the idea that nothing is out of the realm of possibility.
“These qualities are not inherently given to us as airmen in our DNA,” Shanahan explained. “We have to fight for those qualities — it’s not part of our fabric unless we make it that way every day.”
Shanahan further explained the importance of those qualities to the military services as a whole, and how the joint force relies on Air Force personnel and capabilities.
“When it comes to delivering capabilities to the joint fight, the Air Force is front and center,” said Shanahan. “There is nothing that this country has done in the last 18 years [since 9/11] in combat, peace time, crisis, humanitarian relief where the Air Force hasn’t played a central role.”
In closing he said, “I’m proud to be a United States airman. It’s important for those of us who serve in joint positions to think about our heritage, our culture, our legacy — to reflect back on where we came from, but more importantly, to think about where we need to go as the United States Air Force. Our airmen are shaping that future — where we will be the same dominant force we have always been.”
The celebration concluded with the traditional cutting of the birthday cake by the oldest airman and youngest airmen present. The audience also joined in singing the Air Force song and viewed videos celebrating the occasion and the U.S. Air Force’s heritage.
Initially part of the U.S. Army, as the Army Air Corps, the U.S. Air Force was formed as a separate branch of the military under the National Security Act of 1947.
Story by Alexandra Snyder, DISA Office of Strategic Communication and Public Affairs