Blog #008 US Air Force Birthday
US Air Force - Encounters that impressed me
During this week’s research for my blog, the US Air Force came to my attention. As a newbie blogger, I created an event calendar to keep track of all interesting worldwide events.
As it turns out on September 18, it’s the Air Force Birthday.
I had never heard of the event, but instantly I remembered my first vacation in Benidorm, Spain, way back in 1979.
On the second day of my vacation, a colossal ship, the USS Forrestal, anchored in front of the beach.
Besides the fact that I had never seen such a big vessel in my life, it also had Air Crafts on top of it. I could see the Air Crafts standing on the deck while lying on the beach.
Because the USS Forrestal visited Benidorm frequently, they even had postcards for sale in the local shops.
In 1979 we didn’t have digital cameras or social media, so I bought two postcards from the ship. One for my photo album and one to send to my little brothers.
In those days, I believed that all the fighter jets and pilots on the USS Forrestal were a part of the US Air Force. Therefore, I wrote, “The US Airforce is in Benidorm on an enormous ship in front of the beach!”
After seeing the movie “Top Gun” in 1986, I learned that the US Navy (USN) has a special training program for Navy pilots, which clarified that the USAF and USN are two completely separate divisions within the US Army.
USAF Birthday - September 18
As I already mentioned, I never heard of the event, and because it made me curious, I googled it. It seems that The US Army used to handle military flying operations on land and the Navy by sea. But on September 18, 1947, the US Air Force became an independent military service. President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act (onboard the first Air Force One, a VC 54C), So that’s why they call September 18 The Air Force Birthday.
The Air Force Birthday is not a national holiday like Memorial Day or Veterans Day. It is more a tradition to honor airpower creation, airmen’s fellowship across the service, and the force’s future. The celebrations consist of events with airshows, parties with promotion, and retirement ceremonies. They also can be thanking an Airman by flying the US flag at their homes or business. Or giving to a charity for veterans.
There is also an Air Force Ball, which I would love to attend to see all the handsome men in uniform and beautiful ladies in their ball gowns. I have always loved men in uniform.
USAF & 101st Airborn veterans
On September 17, 1944, the US army started operation “Market Garden.” The 101st Airborne Division assigned four drop zones to land paratroops and one landing zone for gliders. The main force of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment and elements of the 326th Airborne Engineers Battalion were the first to land at drop zone A at Eerde.
Exactly 75 years later, we had the honor to see a US Air Force demonstration by a squadron Thunderbirds, followed by a parachute invasion with veterans of the 101st Airborn Division.
im ‘Pee Wee’ Martin, age 98, and Vincent Speranza, age 94, attended this historical “jump event.”
This story was all over the news in Holland because it doesn’t happen every day that two veterans’ (way in their nineties) jump out of an airplane.
After they completed their historical jump Mr. Vincent Speranza started to sing “Blood On the Risers (Gory, Gory, what a hell of a way to die), it gave me goosebumps. This remarkable man (age 94) was still dancing and singing with children while holding a big cigar between his teeth.
A BIG HUG to all of you, and please STAY SAFE,