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    Happy birthday to U(SAF)

    BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, East Granby, Conn. (September 10, 2017) – In basic military training, Airmen are taught to remember the date the Air Force was established as though it were the birthday of an old friend. September 18, 1947, is even an answer to a question on the end of course test required to leave Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and move up into the operational military. But what does that birthday mean to Airmen? This year, it means that for seven decades the giants whose shoulders we stand on today have worked to become the world’s greatest air power, and maintain that status indefinitely.
    In 1909, the Aeronautical Section of the Signal Corps was established as the first U.S. military aviation unit. The name was then changed to the Aviation Section in 1914.In 1918, the U.S. Army Air Corps was created. After a brief period without change, the U.S. Army Air Forces was established in 1941. It was not until World War II that the Honorable Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act, which established the U.S. Air Force as the fourth branch of the U.S. military September 18, 1947.
    On this date, the Air National Guard was also officially established. Although it wasn’t until 1947 that the Flying Yankees were made a component of the U.S. Air Force, they first came to Connecticut as the 118th Observation Squadron in 1923 with the unit’s first aircraft, the Curtis JN-4 “Jenny”. Nearly 60 years later, the Flying Yankees made Bradley Air National Guard Base their home in 1980.
    According to the 103rd Airlift wing historian, Maj. D. E. Draegor, the first person to enlist as a Flying Yankee was a man by the name of George P. Kane, who had a long career as a crew chief, aviator, and quartermaster before retiring on August 1, 1957, as a brigadier general. Little did Kane know, he would set the standard for the thousands of men and women who would swear in as Flying Yankees after him.
    As the 70th birthday of the Air Force approaches, Bradley’s Airmen both new and veteran are remembering what brought them here, as well as the sacrifice and service those who came
    before them gave to their country.
    “I joined the Air National Guard to be a part of something bigger than myself and to challenge myself,” said Airman 1st Class Alana Phillips, 103rd Comptroller Flight finance specialist. “The Air Force birthday is like a yearly reminder to live up to those who served before me.”
    Col. Roy Walton, 103rd Airlift Wing Vice Commander, made the decision to enlist in the Connecticut Air National Guard after being strongly influenced by several factors.
    “I met my wife at UConn,” said Walton. She was in the Air National Guard and so I found out more about it and decided to join. It was a no-brainer; I got my tuition paid for, I earned some extra money, and I continued to pursue this girl. That sealed the deal for me.”
    33 years later, Col. Walton is still married to the girl of his dreams and proudly serving in the Connecticut Air National Guard.
    Motivated by patriotism, MSgt Kevin Ruel, 103rd Airlift Wing administrative superintendent, joined the Connecticut Air National Guard in 1996
    “I joined the Air National Guard when I was 18 years old, right out of high school, said Ruel. “I joined to serve my country. I thought it was a very honorable thing to do. I followed in the footsteps of several family member, including my father, grandfather and uncles. I didn’t know that I would make a career out of it at the time, but today I love it. It is my passion to come her and work everyday.”
    In celebrating the 70th birthday of the United States Air Force and the Air National Guard, the Flying Yankees are able to reflect on the years of dedication that it took to become masters of their new tactical airlift mission. The 103rd Airlift Wing continues to showcase both mission-readiness and maximum efficiency in 2017, and will do so for years to come.



    Date Taken: 09.10.2017
    Date Posted: 01.03.2018 12:29
    Story ID: 261230
    Location: EAST GRANBY, CT, US 

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