7 Air Force Facts for the Service’s 67th Birthday

Members from the 36th Airlift Squadron walk Aug. 11 during Red Flag-Alaska at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Air Force photo

Members from the 36th Airlift Squadron walk Aug. 11 during Red Flag-Alaska at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Air Force photo

As the Air Force celebrates its 67th birthday, here’s seven things you may not know about the most recently formed branch of the U.S. military.

1. The Air Force shares its birthday with the CIA. Both were founded on September 18, 1947.

So, can we come in? A "roof stomp" (which is nowdays often a "porch stomp") at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. Air Force photo

So, can we come in? A “roof stomp” (which is nowdays often a “porch stomp”) at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. Air Force photo

2. A “roof stomp” is an Air Force tradition where airmen welcome new commander or celebrate a special occasion by climbing up on the commander’s roof and make noise while others are bang on the windows and doors. The commander then opens the door to welcome in the group for refreshments. (In recent years, some airmen have modified the tradition to a “porch stomp.”)

3. Before the Air Force became its own branch of the military, it was a part of the Army. On Aug. 1, 1907, the U.S. Army Signal Corps formed the Aeronautical Division, which later evolved into the Air Force.

Air Force combat ace Robin Olds and his famous 'stache. Photo via commons

Air Force combat ace Robin Olds and his famous ‘stache. Photo via commons

4. Each March, some airmen participate in a Mustache March, a tradition where airmen grow mustaches to honor Air Force legend and triple ace Brig. Gen. Robin Olds.

5. Johnny Cash, Morgan Freeman and James Stewert are just a handful of the celebrities who have served as airmen. Stewart – who won an Oscar for “Philadelphia Story” before flying missions in World War II and Vietnam – rose to the rank of brigadier general in the Air Force Reserve.

6. In 1947, then-Air Force Capt. Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in his Bell X-1 rocket-powered aircraft, beginning a new era of aeronautics in America.

7. Two U.S. presidents — Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush — served as airmen. Reagan’s service came when the branch was still the Army Air Force. Bush served in the Texas Air National Guard before transferring to the Air Force Reserve.

Fact or Fiction? On Patrol’s New Issue Tackles Things You May Not Know About the Military

Where did dog tags come from? What do all those statues with generals on horses signify? And how hard is boot camp, really?

ImageThere are thousands of things the average person – and even some members of our armed forces – don’t know about the military. On Patrol, the magazine of the USO, set out to change that in their Spring 2013 issue.

“After working with the military in some form or fashion for more than a decade, it hit me as long as I’d worked around the military there were still things about it that baffled or fascinated me,” said Samantha Quigley, the magazine’s editor in chief. “It seemed reasonable to think that other civilians might not understand what a soldier is saying if they’re not versed in milspeak, how much preparation goes into the military’s participation in a presidential inauguration or how prominent dogs’ roles in the military are.

“Despite some serious, and even heart-wrenching stories, this issue was fun from the perspective that even the staff learned something.”

The Spring issue – which arrived in USO centers and subscribers’ homes around the United States earlier this month – debunks military myths, shares some captivating stories and is filled with trivia that could win you a bet or two at the officer’s club.

The “Fact or Fiction” feature challenges basic perceptions people have about the military like the assumed cruelty of drill sergeants, the aforementioned question about boot camp and how hard it is for women to actually climb the ranks. There’s a look at how military operations actually get named, how to understand military speak, and a piece on celebrities who worked for Uncle Sam before they got their big breaks.

You can check out the full issue online here, get a free subscription to On Patrol here, follow them on Facebook here and on Twitter at @USOOnPatrol.

—Story by Eric Brandner, USO Director of Story Development

In the Name of Love, USO of Illinois Connects Military Couples

Long deployments away from home can put a strain on military marriages.

To help couples communicate and stay connected, the USO of Illinois wanted to provide an opportunity for some local troops to share a romantic getaway with their spouses.

This center, made up of six locations, came up with a video challenge.

The “How Do I Love Thee?” Valentine’s Day Getaway contest asked troops and spouses to create a creative, compelling video about why they love their valentine.  Contestants entered on Youtube, and the USO of Illinois put the top three videos online for voting.

Today, they announced the two winning couples on their website. Congratulations to Lindsey and Curt Borjas of the U.S. Marine Corps and Mindy and Mark Maroon of the National Guard!

Watch Lindsey and Curt’s winning video:

Watch Mindy and Mark’s winning video:

The lucky couples won a weekend getaway including a romantic carriage ride at the Eaglewood Resort and Spa in Itasca, Illinois.

Thanks to Media, Marketing, and Public Relations Director, Beth Polio and Programs Manager, Dayna Malow, for organizing the contest and making the arrangements with Eaglewood.

The USO of Illinois’ Valentine’s Day contest is just one example of how USO centers around the world work hard to keep military couples and their loved ones connected.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of America’s troops and families! – Sarah Camille Hipp, Communications Specialist