AFRH: Happy 70th Birthday U.S. Air Force!
By Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez, 11th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 14, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Joint Base Andrews members and veterans celebrated the 70th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C., Sept. 7.
The origins of the AFRH date back to the 19th century. The U.S. Navy first established the Naval Asylum in 1831. Soon after, the U.S. Army created the Soldiers’ Home in 1851. In 1991, the two homes merged as one to create the AFRH. Ever since, thousands of former service members have resided at the retirement home.
“The impact of us coming out here is monumental because it lifts the residents’ spirits and our own,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Moomaw, 89th Maintenance Group C-40B crew chief NCO in charge. “It bridges the gap between the past and the present. This is a great mentoring opportunity to learn and discover experiences from prior service members.”
More than 50 people attended the event. The celebration welcomed Chief Master Sgt. Nathaniel Perry, 11th Wing and JBA command chief, as the guest speaker.
“Our great Air Force has turned 70 years old, and in that short time, we have become the most dominate force on this planet,” Perry said. “I understand the only reason I’m able to wear this uniform and bask in a sense of pride is because of the giants that have come before me. [The AFRH residents] are those giants and [you all] have paved the way for our service to be what it is today. [You all] created the legend that is our Air Force.”
Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Herbert Simonds, AFRH resident, turned 96-years-old this past August. Simonds is the oldest Airman at the retirement home and was invited to the celebration as a special guest. He served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force for a total of 21 years. Some of the honors he received in his career include the French Croix De Guerre, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with ten service stars and the Air Force Accommodation Medal.
The event ended with a special cake cutting ceremony, which involved the Vanguard V-21 sword that symbolized the sacrifices made by our past Armed Forces members. The AFRH’s oldest Airman, Simonds, and JBA’s youngest Airman, Airman 1st Class Marshall Robinson, 89th Communication Squadron radio operator, were invited to cut the cake together.
This event brought together past and current generations to celebrate the Air Force’s 70th anniversary. Audience members may have differed in age, but were similar by their duty to respond, honor, defend, support and care for America.