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DISA and JFHQ-DODIN celebrate 70th Air Force birthday

Personnel from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and Joint Force Headquarters – DOD Information Networks (JFHQ-DODIN)  celebrated the Air Force’s 70 years of service on Sept. 15. 

The Air Force’s official birthday is Sept. 18. 

The event began with a reading of the Prisoners of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) recognition, as Sept. 15 is designated as National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “American Airmen: Breaking Barriers since 1947.” This theme was chosen because the Air Force prides itself on its leadership in breaking down physical, technological, and social barriers.  

DISA Vice Director Navy RADM Nancy Norton introduced the event’s guest speaker, Air Force Brig Gen Kevin B. Kennedy, principal director to the Deputy Chief Information Officer for Command, Control, Communications, and Computers and Information Infrastructure Capabilities, Office of the Secretary of Defense Chief Information Officer.

“Our Air Force, since its birth in 1947, has a rich heritage in defense of our nation,” said Kennedy, who explained that a World War II (WWII) message written by Army Air Corps GEN Henry “Hap” Arnold embodied the ethos and spirit of the Air Force. 

“Destroy the enemy air force wherever you find them – in the air; on the ground; and in the factories,” wrote Arnold.  

Kennedy spoke of the importance of joint operations planning and innovation, and described the operational challenges Army Air Corps LTC James H. Doolittle faced during his bombing raids of Tokyo, Japan, during WWII.  

The Doolittle Raid was an Army Air Corps and Navy operation designed to launch long-range bombers off the deck of an aircraft carrier measuring approximately 400 feet in length. Doolittle was given 91 days to select and modify an aircraft and train a team of airmen to takeoff from an aircraft carrier. 

Sixteen aircraft were selected for the mission, and all successfully launched from the flight deck of the USS Hornet (CV-8) on the day of the operation.

“If you want to take off in a bomber loaded with both fuel and bombs and then go strike on mainland Japan, that’s no small feat — even for a Cessna,” said Kennedy, who has logged more than 700 hours piloting the Air Force’s B-1 Lancer.

“The innovative spirit and warrior ethos embodied by [LTC] Doolittle and the 80 officers and enlisted airmen became a part of the enduring foundation of our service,” said Kennedy. “If you think about the Doolittle Raid, for me, it foreshadowed the [importance] of joint operations. I consider it to be one of the first joint-actions for the United States military. The first truly integrated planning and execution across service components from the beginning to end.”

Kennedy called the airmen who participated in the Doolittle Raid “giants,” because despite the barriers associated with launching heavy aircraft from an aircraft carrier, they successfully completed their mission in 91 days. 

“My challenge to the airmen in this room is to leverage the innovative spirit [of those giants] because that [spirit] is in the fabric of our service,” he said. 

“December 15 is 91 days from today. I challenge you on [December 15] to look back on today and see what progress you’ve made in 91 days. We can go faster, we can think more operationally, and I think that we can do more in 91 days, than I think we can do now.” 

Following Kennedy’s remarks, attendees stood and recited the Airmen’s Creed and sang the Air Force Song

“The strength of our Air Force comes not from the might of our [aircraft, satellites, weapons, or scale of our nation’s wealth]. [It comes] from the enduring power of our airmen, their innovative spirit, and their continued devotion to our core values of integrity, service, and excellence,” said Kennedy.   

Posted Sept. 18, 2017