News: Iraqi Air Force celebrates 76th anniversary
Story by Staff Sgt. Carlos Diaz
By Staff Sgt. Carlos Diaz
U.S. Central Command Air Forces Public Affairs
SATHER AIR BASE, Iraq – The 76th anniversary of the Iraqi air force drew a crowd of approximately 100 distinguished visitors, guests, and Iraqi and U.S. service members to New Al Muthana Air Base, Baghdad, Iraq.
The guests poured into the enormous C-130 hangar that was decorated with Iraqi flags, colorful balloons and a static display of their aircraft. Atop the stage, a table was stacked with gift-wrapped presents. Two podiums stood side-by-side with Iraqi patches stamped on the front.
As a light breeze entered and cooled the hangar, Iraqi Minister of Defense Abd al-Qadir al-Mufriji addressed the crowd and delivered a speech.
He expressed words of hope, prosperity and encouragement. He also shared his sincere gratitude toward U.S. and coalition forces and stressed the importance of a self-sustaining air force capable of delivering combat air power.
"To defend ourselves, we need a capable air force," Defense Minister Abd al-Qadir al-Mufriji said.
This partnership is a proud moment for U.S. Air Force members.
"We're very proud to partner with them to rebuild their air force," said Brig. Gen. Robert Allardice, Coalition Air Force Transition Team commander. "That partnership will eventually help them defend their country's democracy."
Allardice also added that this is a great opportunity to be a part of something good.
"We're making tremendous strides," said Master Sgt. Victor Chamberlain, 370th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron first sergeant.
Chamberlain alluded to the historical aspect of this event.
"It's a great honor to be at this juncture," he said. "They're writing a new chapter in their history books. It's a critical time because they're learning from us and turning that knowledge into a successful future.
"We're not only doing this with our heads and hands, we're also doing this with our hearts and minds," Chamberlain said.