Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Afghan Airmen host USAF birthday celebration

An Afghan dance troupe performs the Attan, a traditional Afghan folk dance, in front of an A-10 Thunderbolt II, September 19, 2010, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. The Kandahar Air Wing hosted Airmen from the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing and the 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group for a traditional meal and social event to celebrate the U.S. Air Force's 63rd birthday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Chad Chisholm) Hi-res

Note: It's A-10C 81-0963 from the 81st Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem AB, Germany, currently deployed with the 81st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. Please take a look on the new mission markings just below the USAF insignia.

by Senior Airman Melissa B. White
451st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

9/21/2010 - KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Afghans hosted an Air Force birthday celebration for their American counterparts Sept. 19 at the Kandahar Air Wing, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

"We are delighted to share this event with our fellow Airmen," said Brig. Gen. Paul Johnson, 451st Air Expeditionary Wing commander. "This is a special occasion for the U.S. Air Force; we are 63 years old and, like people everywhere, we enjoy sharing birthday celebrations with friends."

Afghan and American Airmen from various organizations throughout KAF came together for the anniversary celebration in the Kandahar Air Wing's hangar. Afghan officials decided to host the event a day after the typical Air Force birthday - Sept. 18 - due to the country's parliamentary elections being held the same day.

Having a belated birthday, however, didn't mean there was any less celebrating for both parties. The evening was full of traditions from both sides of the house, kabobs and meatballs, hot dogs and hamburgers, as well as an Afghan recitation of the Koran and an invocation by the U.S. Air Force chaplain. An Afghan dance troupe also performed the Attan, a traditional Afghan dance, for entertainment.

"I really liked when we presented arms during the ceremony because we had the American flag and the Afghan flag together," said Airman 1st Class Bryan Simms, a member of the Honor Guard, who is also assigned to the 451st Expeditionary Force Support Flight. "I also really liked the dance performance because it was really interesting. This was my first time being exposed to their culture like this and they're really friendly."

After the meal, General Johnson addressed the audience. He talked about the history of the U. S. Air Force and parallels with the developing Afghan Air Force, which will soon have a long history of its own. He also discussed how the 451st Bombardment Group of World War II came to be what the 451st AEW is today.

"Though we are young by some standards, we are very proud of the accomplishments of those Airmen who came before us, the history they made, and the history they changed," General Johnson said. "As our fellow Afghan Airmen, you are in a similar place today. You are laying a foundation for the Airmen who follow you and the strength of that foundation will determine their future success. We all hope Afghan Airmen, 60 years from now, we will be reciting the names of Sherzai, Yousef, and all the dedicated Airmen of the Kandahar Air Wing.

Maj. Gen. Abdul Raziq Sherzai, Kandahar Air Wing commander, followed the general by thanking the Air Force for sharing the celebration with them and congratulating them on a proud heritage for their 63rd anniversary.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, there was a presentation which displayed the history of the Air Force from World War II to today. It also included some images of the Kandahar Air Wing.

"I hope it sends a message to everyone here that there is little difference between an Airman working on a B-24, loading a C-130, or flying an MI-17," said General Johnson. "In spite of the differences in time and place, I hope we see the common theme in all the pictures: Airmen and their machines."


No comments:

Post a Comment