Airmen from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., civilians and family members commemorated the Air Force’s 71st birthday in grand fashion with a ball event at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster, Calif., Sept. 8.
The theme of the ball was “Remembering Our Past and Forging Our Future.” The guest speaker was Chris Shank, the director of the Strategic Capabilities Office. During his address, he spoke about the importance of speed in the world of technology and defense.
“This is about speed; the speed of relevance that’s in the current parlance of the national defense strategy,” Shank said. “Building and testing new capabilities. Americans will need to wage war in the 21st century that will remain a dizzying progression of steps and ledges.”
Shank thanked the Edwards Airmen and civilians in attendance for their continued service to ensure the Air Force stays on task with technological advancements. He also left them with some food for thought regarding “forging our future.”
“It’s not simply the ‘what’ and ‘how,’ it’s the ‘who’ and the ‘why,’” Shank said. “Who do we want to build our future? Are we leaving the organization with better people than we found it?”
Brig. Gen. E. John Teichert, 412th Test Wing commander, reiterated Shank’s challenge to those in attendance.
“What can you do in an innovative way, with what already have, at the speed of relevance, to make an impact here, at the center of the aerospace testing universe?”
In addition to the speeches, the ball featured a traditional POW/MIA observance and the cutting of the birthday cake by Teichert and Edwards AFB’s most junior-ranking Airman.
n 1947, President Harry Truman signed the National Security Act establishing a new defense organization, which included the creation of the U.S. Air Force as an independent service from the U.S. Army. The official birthday of the Air Force is Sept. 18, 1947.