On behalf of the men and women of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, we’d like to personally welcome you to the 2014 “Thunder and Lightning over Arizona” Open House. We are honored to have you here as our special guests and hope to make your visit with us as enjoyable and memorable as possible. Our goal is for you to leave today with a better idea of who we are and what our Airmen do every day.
This year’s theme, “Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future,” pays tribute to our veterans and heritage and looks to today’s Air Force and the exciting capabilities on the horizon. Here at Davis-Monthan, we have shared a long-standing strong community partnership with the state of Arizona, particularly with the residents of Southern Arizona. Our roots go back to 1927 when the Davis-Monthan Airfield was dedicated by famous aviator Charles Lindbergh. The airfield was renamed Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in 1948 when the U.S. Air Force was designated its own service, emerging out of the U.S. Army Air Corps. We are proud of our history and proud to be part of this community.
It is our pleasure to share with you a piece of our mission and the Air Force mission this weekend. Our team of Open House planners have arranged an impressive array of aircraft and equipment displays showcasing our nation’s combat and airpower capatility. We will have the opportunity to show you the Desert Lightning Team’s own para-rescue men, A-10s, HH-60 helicopters, and C-130s, as they demonstrate their unique capabilities during a Combat Search and Rescue Demonstration. Among the many other performances this weekend, you will get to see the U.S. Air Force Academy Wings of Blue Jump Team. I’m sure one of the major highlights will be watching the unparalleled teamwork of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds as they demonstrate the aerobatic capability of the F-16.
As you take in the excitement and awe that will surround you this weekend, you will also see many of your nation’s finest. I encourage you to take a minute to approach our uniformed service members and learn who they are and what they do each day. A large number of them will have recently returned from a deployment supporting combat opperations; as at any given time, the Desert Lightning team has approximately 500 men and women deployed throughout the world. Every one of them has a story and plays an important role in your United States Air Force. Our Airmen come from a long tradition of service to country, as our Airman’s Creed states: we are “faithful to a proud heritage, a tradition of honor, and a legacy of valor. I am an American Airman… I defend my country with my life.” We think we have some of the greatest Airmen here at Davis-Monthan and we think you’ll agree as you interact with them this weekend.
Again, we would like to welcome you to the “Thunder and Lightning over Arizona” Open House and to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. We want to thank you for your continued support of this base and of our great Airmen. We sincerely hope you enjoy the weekend with us as we display your nation’s combat air power.