Vandenberg celebrates Air Force's 68th birthday
By Senior Airman Shane M. Phipps, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 22, 2015
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Members of Team Vandenberg recently gathered to celebrate the AF's 68th birthday with an Air Force Ball, here, Sept. 18.
Celebrating decades of air superiority and technological innovation, the theme of this year's event was "Back to our future", which aimed to highlight the connection between the Air Force's past and future - while building camaraderie among participants.
"I think when you're sitting in front of your computer you can lose track of why we're doing this," said 1st Lt. Christopher Huynh, 2nd Range Operations Squadron range control officer and president of the AF ball committee. "I know everyone joined for different reasons, but at the end of the day we're all Airmen and there's a legacy before us and there will be a legacy after us -- it's important for us to remember that. That's what we wanted to capture with the 'Back to our future' theme, the connection between our Air Force past and its future."
The ceremony's events included comments from guest speaker, Shawn Riem, 30th Space Wing historian, who highlighted some of Vandenberg's involvement in popular culture over the years and the significance of the base's history. Additionally, guests paid tribute to the U.S. flag, the President, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force and the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force through various toasts. The evening culminated in a three-course meal and a night of music and dancing.
"I like going to the Air Force balls because it's a great time to have fun and get to know people on a different level," said Senior Airman Andrew Tello, 30th Comptroller Squadron lead defense travel administrator. "It's also an example of how even though we're in the military, it's important for us to take some time to enjoy ourselves and build camaraderie. I think it was a great night, they did a really good job decorating and the theme fits really well with our mission at Vandenberg."
Led by Huynh, a committee of dedicated volunteers from around base proved integral to the logistical success of the occasion.
"As president of the committee, I was in charge of making the event a success," said Huynh. "I also had a team of 42 volunteers who helped with the decorations, fund raising, protocol and logistics. My team was fantastic. They all pulled together and really made this happen. I couldn't have done it without them. In fact, we raised so much money, we are leaving next year's committee with a good chunk of change."
For some, the opportunity was a valuable new experience and has been an inspiration to volunteer for future events.
"I really like the networking aspect and it means a lot to me to be able to experience this for the first time," said Airman 1st Class Tyrone Hilton, 30th Space Wing command post emergency actions controller. "I feel like I'm getting a better understanding of Air Force culture and traditions. I'm glad I was able to see what it takes to put on an event like this because I want to follow in the volunteers' footsteps and, one day, be up there leading the ceremony."
Those present had the opportunity to reflect on where the Air Force has come from, where it's at now, and where it's heading into the future.
"I feel like it was a time to reflect and think about those who came before us, who have sacrificed a lot for the Airmen of today," said Tello. "It's a good way to celebrate all the great things we've done, all the great things we're doing -- and all the great things we're going to do."