September 18th, 2006 03:07 EST
Sergeant moving passengers on Air Force birthday
SAN ANTONIO (AFPN) -- The Air Force is 59 years old today. But Staff Sgt. Robert Thomas will not have much time to celebrate with the cake, ice cream and punch usually associated with birthdays.
Instead, like for the past 15 years, he and other Airmen around the world will report to work to fight or support the ongoing war on terrorism.
This war -- like all the ones before -- is taking Airmen to dangerous, far-flung locations to do their jobs. Some of those jobs they had never done before. Others at stateside bases provide the people and support needed carry on that war.
Sergeant Thomas is a passenger service specialist with the 730th Air Mobility Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Used to traveling worldwide on deployment, the sergeant will get to be home on this Air Force birthday.
"I'm celebrating by going to the Air Force ball," the 8-year veteran said.
The Air Force may be a year older, but it is doing more today, with a smaller force, than it did even five years ago. Since becoming a separate service in 1947, the Air Force has increased its capabilities and its global reach now stretches into space.
Today, the Air Force and its sister services are busy achieving what Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne called spherical situational awareness. This allows the U.S. military to take "a comprehensive, spherical view -- at once vertical, horizontal, real time and predictive, penetrating and defended in the cyber realm."
But in a message to the force, Secretary Wynne and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley said the Air Force is the globe's dominant force in air, space and cyberspace because of its Airmen.
"Our knowledge-enabled Airmen have revolutionized the way our nation defends itself and its allies across the full spectrum of threats," they said.
Yet the threats of terror attacks on the nation are still a reality. That makes the Air Force's role even more important. That reality is not lost on the sergeant from Bremerton, Wash., who is working as an air transportation specialist.
"We -- along with the other services -- are helping win the war on terror and protecting the United States," he said.
As Airmen continue to do their duty today, there are even more changes taking place. And each day new technology and smart processes make doing Air Force business smarter and more efficient. It is hard to predict where the service will be in five years.
But that is clear to Sergeant Thomas.
"We will be more powerful," he said.