Mr. Bishop (GA) – Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the United States Air Force for 65 years of innovative progress and strong, steadfast defense of our nation. Over the last 65 years, the brave men and women who have served in the Air Force have made significant contributions in defending our homeland and safeguarding our liberties.
A celebration commemorating the 65th Birthday of the Air Force will be held at the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia on Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. Lieutenant General Andrew Busch, Vice Commander of the Air Force Materiel Command will be the guest speaker for the evening.
The United States Air Force was officially founded on September 18, 1947. However, its history and legacy go back even further. Less than four years after the Wright brothers flew the world’s first airplane, the U.S. Army Signal Corps formed an Aeronautical Division in 1907. Known by several different titles and serving a number of purposes, the precursors of the Air Force were instrumental in World War I and especially World War II. Today, the United States Air Force, with its cutting-edge technology and distinguished manpower, is a superior and well-respected authority of air and space.
Shortly before the establishment of the Air Force, on September 1, 1941, construction began on the new Georgia Air Depot located sixteen miles south of Macon, Georgia. At the time of its dedication in 1943, the Depot Commander, Col. Charles E. Thomas, renamed it the Warner Robins Army Air Depot in honor of his mentor and the “father of logistics” of the Air Force, Brig. Gen. Augustine Warner Robins. Now known as Warner Robins Air Logistics Center and Robins Air Force Base, this former dairy farm pastureland would become the largest industrial installation in Georgia and one of the nation’s finest defense assets.
Robins Air Force Base employs a workforce of over 25,584 civilians, contractors and members of the military. It is a vital part of the economy in Middle Georgia and brings in billions of dollars each year to the surrounding communities. Through my ongoing interaction with Robins Air Force Base personnel, one of the things I have come to admire most is their remarkable interaction with the people of Middle Georgia.
Furthermore, Robins Air Force Base, along with the United States Air Force, is a strong advocate of diversity and hence is able to recruit and train the most talented men and women to become the most distinguished officers and personnel in the United States Armed Forces.
The vast success and numerous achievements and victories of the Air Force would not be possible without the talented manpower that drives (or rather, flies) it. The ideas that manifest into state-of-the-art technology, the hands that build and operate it, and the minds that make the decisions that impact one life or millions of lives are all due to the diligence, creativity, and dedication of a people united in sharing and protecting the ideals of America.
Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me today in paying tribute to the men and women who, over the last 65 years, have served or currently serve in the United States Air Force. Their outstanding valor and patriotic service have made the United States Air Force the best in the world.