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DISA, JFHQ-DODIN mark US Air Force birthday with virtual ceremony

by Walter T. Ham IV
DISA Strategic Communication and Public Affairs

The Defense Information Systems Agency and Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network celebrated the 73rd birthday of the United States Air Force during a virtual ceremony, Sept. 18.

Air Force Col. Whitney P. McCloud, the director and commanding officer of the DISA Joint Spectrum Center, hosted the ceremony.

The Air Force Singing Sergeants and Air Force Band performed with DISA and JFHQ-DODIN Chaplain Col. Robert Nay giving the invocation. Lt. Col. Gabriel Avilla, the chief of the Fusion Operations Division at JFHQ-DODIN, served as the master of ceremonies.

Brig. Gen. Robert Lyman, the Air Force assistant deputy chief of staff for Cyber Effects Operations, was the guest speaker at the celebration. 

Lyman addressed the audience through a video that took him from the Pentagon to the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.

“We’re very proud of your service and that of your joint partners at DISA locations all around the globe, including in harm’s way,” said Lyman, who recently served as director for Command, Control, Communications and Cyber Systems at U.S. Transportation Command. “Our service birthday is a chance to reflect on where we’ve been: a proud history, a tradition of honor, a legacy of valor.”

On the Air Force Birthday, DISA’s African American Employee Resource Group also recognized retired Air Force Col. Merryl Tengesdal, the first and only African American woman to fly the U.S. Air Force's legendary U-2 aircraft. A former naval aviator who also flew the SH-60B Seahawk helicopter, Tengesdal transferred to the Air Force and flew the high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Air Force was established after World War II in response to the growing importance of air power on the battlefield. The air combat service has played a decisive role in every conflict since the Korean War.

The U.S. Air Force is America’s second youngest military service in the nation. Also a part of the Department of the Air Force, the Space Force, was established in December 2019.

DISA Director and JFHQ-DODIN Commander Navy Vice Adm. Nancy A. Norton talked about her father-in-law’s service in the Army Air Corps during World War II and Air Force service in the Korean War, Vietnam War and Cold War. She also emphasized the enduring importance of airpower.

“The Air Force and the airpower it delivers have never been more important than they are today during this era of great power competition,” said Norton. “To succeed on the modern battlefield, you must dominate the skies and that is exactly what our Air Force does. It flies, fights and wins, whenever and wherever our nation needs it.”

Norton thanked the airmen, at the agency and command, who operate and defend cyberspace and empower joint military operations around the world.

“Airmen also serve a critical role at DISA and JFHQ-DODIN, contributing their cyber expertise to connect and protect the warfighter in cyberspace while enhancing mission readiness and lethality across every warfighting domain.”

“You are the reason that our nation has the greatest Air Force in the history of the world,” said Norton.



Posted September 30, 2020