North Carolina ANG celebrate U.S. Air Force 68th birthday Published Sept. 21, 2015 By Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran 145th Public Affairs CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Members of the 145th Airlift Wing celebrate the 68th birthday of the United States Air Force, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, during a ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Col. Quincy Huneycutt, III, 145th Airlift Wing, vice commander, stood before his Airmen and stated, "Today we celebrate the 68th Birthday of the Air Force, the greatest Air Force in the world. The term Air Force is kind of an ambiguous one, kind of like "they". Who is the Air Force? We are, along with the ones who came before us, and the ones that will come after us! We are the ones that give up our holidays, our weekends, birthdays and other significant events to serve our state and our fellow country. So today, Col. Collins and I think you from the bottom of our hearts for the part each of you play in accomplishing our mission." In a long standing military tradition, Airmen joined Tech. Sgt. Mark Riddle, a member of the 145th Maintenance Squadron, as he led members in the singing of the Air Force song, followed by the presentation of the birthday celebration cake. From the time the U.S. military purchased its first aircraft in 1909 up to 1947, the U.S. Air Force did not exist as a separate and independent military service organization. It went through a series of designations: Aeronautical Section, Signal Corps in 1909; Aviation Section, Signal Corps in 1914; United States Army Air Service, 1918; United States Army Air Corps, 1926 and United States Army Air Forces in 1941. On Sept. 18, 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed into law the National Security Act, separating the Air Force from the Army. During the course of the next 68 years, the Air Force would achieve an unprecedented level of technological success in global air space superiority. Today's Air Force is comprised of more than 680,000 Airmen, made up of active duty, reservists, guardsmen and civilians, who support more than 5,600 aircraft, 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles and 63 satellites. The Air Force is the world's preeminent air, space and cyberspace force with an ability to rapidly adapt to uncertainty, ensuring future success. "Fly, Fight and Win" has been the mission of the Air Force for a long time. Whether Airmen are on a mountain in Afghanistan or helping to evacuate communities during and after a natural disaster, they have progressed into a ready and capable resource, leading the way as a total force. "Today we are celebrating the birthday of the United States Air Force and the heritage of 68 years," said Col. Marshall C. Collins, commander, NCANG. Just as importantly we are celebrating the heritage of past members of the North Carolina Air National Guard, and the current contributions of the men, women, and families who are serving in today's North Carolina Air National Guard. To all I say Thank You. I look forward to continuing to serve with you on behalf of our communities, state, and nation."