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Original song competition at MyAirForceLife.com

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- More than 70 years ago, Capt. Robert MacArthur Crawford, an Airman with the Army Air Corps, won an original song competition that eventually became the official song for the U.S. Air Force. Captain Crawford wrote the lyrics and music to "Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder."

Starting April 5 through May 23, Airmen and eligible patrons of Air Force MWR programs can compete in an original song category at MyAirForceLife.com as part of the Year of the Air Force Family.

While the winning entry will not become the official song for the Air Force, the adult winner will receive a live, one-hour professional coaching and mentoring Skype session with Thom Shepherd, an award-winning Nashville songwriter. In addition, the adult and youth winner will receive a $2,000 gift certificate to Musician's Friend, an online music store.

Contestants can upload a three to four minute original composition. Go to http://www.MyAirForceLife.com/contests/song_rules.html to choose from four themes.

Submissions can be instrumental or music and lyrics. Songwriters may choose to have someone else perform their original song for the recorded submission. Lyrics are not required for the instrumental version.

Once uploaded, visitors to the site can view and vote for their favorite compositions. The earlier the compositions are submitted, the more time it
can rack up votes.

Even though online voting will determine finalists, Mr. Shepherd will decide the winners of both categories.

Last year, Air Force Services Agency officials launched MyAirForceLife.com to help Airmen and their families stay connected, informed and engaged in programs as part of the Year of the Air Force Family.

"To date, we have awarded over 325 prizes, including Apple Macbook computers, Flip Video cameras, Sony eBook Readers, iPods, Acer netbooks, and more," said Ms. Debbie Karnes, Air Force Services Agency spokeswoman. "A list of winners can be found on the site. For each competition, we add new prizes. During the original song competition, those who register on the site are eligible to win iPod Nanos and iTunes gift cards."

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley designated July 2009 to July 2010 as the Year of the Air Force Family, a period to recognize the sacrifices and contributions of the diverse Air Force family including active duty, Reserves, Air National Guard, single Airmen, civilians, spouses, children, retirees, and community partners.

"Taking care of families is a solemn promise we make to each Airman and family member," said Secretary Donley. "Sense of community is a cultural trademark of the Air Force, and we will seek ways to nurture it as part of the larger 'Year of the Air Force Family' effort."

To find details on the competitions and to enter, Airmen and eligible patrons of Air Force MWR programs can log on to http://www.MyAirForceLife.com.