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Air Force Fall Tattoo: Celebrating 75 years of airpower

Thousands of people gathered to witness performances by some of the military’s most elite units during the celebratory Air Force 75th Anniversary Tattoo at Audi Field in Washington, D.C., Sept. 15.

The Tattoo featured performances by the United States Air Force Band, the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard and guest performer, multi-platinum singer-songwriter Andy Grammer. Attendees also had the opportunity to witness firsthand the Air Force’s air superiority during a flyover by U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

The United States Air Force Band and The United States Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team gather in formation during a performance for the Air Force 75th Anniversary Tattoo Sept. 15, 2022, at Audi Field, Washington, D.C. The military Tattoo is an historic tradition held worldwide, showcasing the excellence and readiness of service members. The members of the band and the honor guard share a common mission of representing Air Force values and fostering community across the nation and with international allies. (Air Force photograph by Airman Bill Guilliam)

“Air Force trailblazer Gen. Hap Arnold wrote, ‘We must think in terms of tomorrow,’” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. “For 75 years that’s exactly what our Airmen have been doing. By envisioning tomorrow, they have found new ways to make the impossible … possible.”

Distinguished guests in attendance included Brown, who was the evening’s host, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass, Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force Roger A. Towberman, 49 international air chiefs and other military and civic leaders. Also recognized during the Tattoo were the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2022.

Bass spoke about how much the nation demands of today’s Airmen, no matter their rank or specialty.

“It will be our Airmen who provide America with the airpower it needs to defend our nation, to deter or defeat our adversaries, to reassure our partners and allies, and help diplomacy proceed from a position of strength,” Bass said during her Tattoo remarks. “To our Airmen, and to our families, thank you.”

The band and honor guard, from Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, carried out time-honored traditions through artistic precision performances in a ceremonial display of heritage and excellence through military musical performances, and drill and ceremony.

“The outstanding 11th Wing flock spent more than a year organizing this historical celebratory event, and the Airmen in our band and honor guard spend their entire careers preparing for this moment to showcase the best our Air Force has to offer,” said Col. Catherine Logan, commander of JBAB and the 11th WG. “I am so proud we were able to show off their talents and professionalism to so many people, and I am humbled to think of how the 11th Wing will continue to expertly represent our country in global engagements for the next 75 years and beyond.”

The band and the honor guard are the premier musical and elite ceremonial units of the Air Force. Responsible for performing their respective missions year-round to honor the lives of fallen Airmen, as well as inspire audiences around the world, the Air Force’s 75th Anniversary Tattoo provided an opportunity to showcase their capabilities and inspire positive and long-lasting impressions of the U.S. Air Force and the United States of America.

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over the Air Force 75th Anniversary Tattoo Sept. 15, 2022, at Audi Field, Washington, D.C. The Thunderbirds serve as the Air Force’s precision-flying demonstration team, entrusted to perform for people all around the world to display the pride, precision and professionalism the Air Force represents. (Air Force photograph by Kristen Wong)

“Innovation is the foundation of the accomplishments of the past 75 years,” Brown said. “The joint force, our nation, and our allies and partners depend on the Air Force more than ever before because airpower has become the source of strategic advantage.”

The Air Force’s advantage in the air was on full display during an aerial parade which included P-51 Mustang, B-25 Mitchell, B-17 Flying Fortress, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II, KC-10 Extender and KC-46 Pegasus aircraft.

The Tattoo honored the proud heritage of the United States Air Force, fueled by the dedication and innovation of the generations of Airmen who have answered their nation’s call since 1947.

Since its inception, the Air Force has excelled at keeping pace with rapid changes in technology and in the demands placed on its core missions.

“We will make sure our Airmen and Guardians continue to thrive with the tools and technology they need to extend this unprecedented era of stability and prosperity well into the future,” Kendall said during his remarks.

Empowered Airmen continue to push technological and cultural boundaries to maintain the Air Force’s competitive advantage and thrive as the leaders in air and space power.

James H. Harvey III, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, greets attendees of the Air Force 75th Anniversary Tattoo Sept. 15, 2022, at Audi Field, Washington, D.C. Harvey was one of two veterans recognized during the Tattoo for his exemplary service as a pilot with first Black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps. (Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Nilsa Garcia)

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