Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Sept. 30, 2021

PACAF Celebrates Air Force Heritage during 74th Anniversary Event

By Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Service members, civilians, and families gathered on Sept. 17 to celebrate and honor Air Force history in the Pacific during a 74th Air Force Birthday Celebration event hosted by Pacific Air Forces.

Starting from humble beginnings after World War II, the U.S. Air Force became an independent branch on Sept. 18, 1947, after the 33rd President, Harry S. Truman, signed the National Security Act of 1947.

The celebration included an opening ceremony, a cake-cutting ceremony, and various presentations by the 15th Wing and PACAF History Offices.

“The cake-cutting ceremony is one of my favorite traditions from the standpoint that we get our youngest Airman to help the most senior Airman cut the cake,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. Ken Wilsbach, PACAF commander. “We bring the youngest Airman up, and every one of us who’s been here, whether it’s me since 1985, or our youngest Airman who enlisted in 2021. It’s the symbol of how we’re passing the torch to the next generation.”

In addition to the cake-cutting ceremony, the event included five stages of presentations. Each representing different components of PACAF history that honored fallen heroes.

“It’s not the machines and the buildings that make history; it’s the people,” said Don Fenton, PACAF Command Historian. “The idea behind all of this is that you’re surrounded by history here day in and day out but we’re often times too busy to pause and read the storyboards or view the photos and artifacts.”

Fenton highlighted that participants were able to see physical representations of Air Force history while hearing the stories behind them. The relics of PACAF’s history consist of storyboards, plaques, artifacts and time capsules from the Dec. 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor attacks.

“You’ve got the bullet holes on the walls that you see every day; you have bullet holes inside the building,” Fenton said. “You’ve got over 450 pieces of Air Force artwork depicting history on the walls of this building and the Air Operations Center that we walk past every day.”

Additionally, the presentations told the stories behind the significant events and fallen heroes of PACAF’s history. They also educated participants on the collective strength of alliances and partnerships that PACAF & Far East Air Forces have amassed throughout America’s history.

Fenton added that a living example of the collective partnerships that developed throughout the last 74 years would be the recent Pacific Air Chief’s Symposium 2021 (PACS-21) that hosted more than 15 air chiefs and senior enlisted leaders throughout the Indo-Pacific region. PACAF also hosted a time capsule event to commemorate the location of the first bomb that hit the headquarters building during the 1941Pearl Harbor attacks.

“At the very end of PACS-21, we had our current PACAF commander, our previous PACAF commander, and the Australian Air Chief all right here at the time capsule encasement,” Fenton said. “And it just goes to show that right there is 70+ years of that one alliance built on what we began in WWII following the attacks.”

During the event, COMPACAF also highlighted how Airmen throughout PACAF’s history were able to break barriers through promoting a culture of leadership at every level.

“When you think about what’s happened in the Air Force in 74 years, it’s pretty amazing how we’ve transitioned,” Wilsbach said. “Now we’ve got [4th and 5th] generation aircraft. Weapons that they couldn’t have even imagined in the 1940s now are very commonplace.”

Wilsbach also highlighted how unmanned aerial vehicles such as the MQ-9 Reaper and the MQ-1 Predator would not have existed without the creative minds of Airmen.

“That was an innovation that Airmen thought of,” Wilsbach said. “Our service counts on the innovation of our young people.”

Before closing his remarks, PACAF’s commander had one final message of gratitude for his Airmen.

“As we celebrate our 74th birthday, I want to thank you for all of the members who are working here at PACAF for supporting all the Airmen that are out in the field and doing our nation’s business and sometimes putting themselves at risk to accomplish our objectives,” Wilsbach said. “Thank you for being a leader here at the headquarters, and thank you for coming to work and always trying to make it just a little bit better. It’s really awesome to work with you and be on your team.”


Like Us
Follow Us



U.S. Army Hawaii Breaks Ground on $80 Million Maintenance Hangar on Historic Airfield
From left to right stand Command Sgt. Maj. Leon C. Black III, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade senior enlisted advisor; Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Oliver, U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii senior enlisted advisor; Aaron Lane, Hensel Phelps; Jean McAninch, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Honolulu District; Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Lynn, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade chief warrant officer; Col. Rob Bryant, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade commander; Col. Cain Baker, deputy commander for support, 25th Infantry Division; Col. Dan Misigoy, U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii commander; Ron Mitchell, Hensel Phelps; Lt. Col. Eric Marshall, commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Honolulu District; James Knight, aviation division chief, U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii; and Kahu Hailama Farden.
Jan. 21, 2022 - WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii -- Army leaders from U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii, the 25th Infantry Division and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers broke ground today on a multi-year aviation maintenance project designed to replace...

Arctic Guardians Support Response to Yakutat Local Disaster
Alaska National Guard Soldiers and Airmen arrive in the Southeast Alaska community of Yakutat, Jan. 12, 2022, after the region received tremendous amounts of snow and rain over a seven-day period. Guard members serving on Joint Task Force-Yakutat will provide building safety assessments and emergency snow removal for Tribal, public and government facilities in the community following hazardous winter weather and heavy snowfall resulting in building damage and continued risk of unsafe conditions. Yakutat is in the Tongass National Forest, the largest National Forest in the U.S. and home to the largest population of bald eagles in the world. The Alaska National Guard is trained, equipped and ready to provide disaster response support for the State of Alaska when requested by civil authorities.
Jan. 21, 2022 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON (JBER), Alaska -- Alaska Air National Guardsmen of the 176th Wing worked late into the night of Jan. 11 to ensure 20 Alaska National Guard Soldiers and Airmen were ready to depart JBER on a...

Joint Statement on the January 11, 14, and 17 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s Ballistic Missile Launch
Joint Statement on the January 11, 14, and 17 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s Ballistic Missile Launch.
Jan. 21, 2022 - United States Mission to the United Nations -- The following is a joint statement as delivered by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Representative to the United Nations, on behalf of Albania, Brazil, France, Ireland,...

U.S., Indonesia, and Switzerland Celebrate Water and Sanitation Gains for Millions of People
United States, Indonesia, and Switzerland Celebrate Water and Sanitation Gains for Millions of People.
Jan. 21, 2022 - JAKATA, U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Indonesia -- As a result of a five-year partnership between the United States and Indonesia, more than 1.6 million Indonesians, including nearly 530,000 people from low-income communities,...

7th Fleet Destroyer Conducts Freedom of Navigation Operation in South China Sea
Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) conducts routine underway operations. Benfold is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Jan. 20, 2022 - SOUTH CHINA SEA -- On Jan. 20, USS Benfold (DDG 65) asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the vicinity of the Paracel Islands, consistent with international law. At the conclusion of the operation, USS Benfold exited...