THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
Last week, commemorations across the UK took place to mark 80 years since the Battle of Britain. 2020 also represents the 73rd birthday of the United States Air Force (USAF), which was formally established on September 18, 1947, with the passing of the National Security Act. Paying tribute to both milestones, the US Air Force (USAF) in the UK hosted an event last weekend, on Sunday September 18, at RAF Mildenhall.
The day's events included a flyover by the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, better known as the Red Arrows. There were also flyovers featuring heritage aircraft, icons of the sky including RAF Supermarine Spitfires and Hawker Hurricanes, as well as a USAF KC-135 Stratotanker, MC-130J Commando II, and CV-22B Osprey, and F-15C Eagles.
The day also featured a traditional piano burning. The tradition, established in the RAF, pays tribute to lives lost. At Mildenhall, the piano burning took place to honor those based there who lost their lives during the Battle of Britain.
With the day also marking the 73rd birthday of the US Air Force, there were also cake, food, balloons and music. The "Birthday Bash" was opened with remarks from the 100th Air Refueling Wing commander, Col. Troy Pananon. Before the USAF's formation as a separate service in 1947, military aviation was divided between the Army, which was responsible for land based operations, and the Navy and Marine Corps which looked after operations from aircraft carriers and amphibious aircraft.
The day also featured a 5k 'color run', aimed at raising awareness of diversity. The concept, organized by the WayForward Committee, involved Airmen running through clouds of colored dye, to "advocate equality for all people regardless of their background".