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Veterans, Airmen celebrate 75 years of 8 AF heritage

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Erin Trower
  • 8th Air Force Public Affairs

On the morning of April 26, some of the very souls who survived numerous life-threatening operations to tell their stories, and make Eighth Air Force what it is today, met current Eighth Air Force Airmen at the Barksdale Global Power Museum Airpark.

Starting in the heart of the museum’s bomber aircraft that once flew alongside these veteran heroes, current-day “Mighty Eighth” members and their families ran in honor of former commanders, legends and veterans, both in attendance and in spirit, during the 2017 Mighty Eighth Heritage 8K held in commemoration of the unit’s 75th anniversary. 

“It’s an honor to be in their presence and a challenge to us as well when you meet folks who are part of the world’s greatest generation,” said Maj. Tiffany Johnson, chief of Operations Law and Mighty Eighth Heritage 8K project officer. “This is very special to us Airmen at Eighth Air Force because we get to meet with some of the heroes of our past. It really traces our history from our roots where we were born in World War II, to now.”

Approximately 100 participants ran in honor of Eighth Air Force veterans and were allotted the opportunity to meet them and hear their personal stories from WWII, Operation Secret Squirrel, the Cold War and Vietnam, to name a few.

Senior Airman Luke Hill, 2nd Bomb Wing photojournalist, the overall first place runner, ran in commemoration of Medal of Honor Recipient 2nd Lt. John C. Morgan.

“This event was definitely different,” Hill said. “Having the veterans out here that you get to run for almost makes you run harder when you know you’re running for something with so much history behind it. There’s a lot more pride than your normal race.”

One member in attendance was retired veteran Brig. Gen. George P. Cole, who witnessed former President Ronald Reagan pin on Gen. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle’s fourth star.

“Eighth Air Force has such a rich heritage,” Cole said. “It means a lot to me to see that our younger members of Eighth Air Force continue to look back on the heritage that they’ve inherited, and have events like this that they can remember and relate to. It’s important for the older guys like me to come back and see the younger generation, and realize the Air Force is still in really good hands.”

The heroes of Eighth Air Force’s past will continue to be recognized and highlighted during 75th anniversary celebrations throughout the year.