Pa. ANG's 111th ATKW celebrates Air Force birthday, pride with active-duty Airmen
By Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond, 111th Attack Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 19, 2016
HORSHAM AIR GUARD STATION, Pa. -- Pride was the overall theme as seven 111th Attack Wing members here represented the Pa. Air National Guard during an Air Force birthday celebration held at the Union League of Philadelphia, Sept. 16.
In marking the Air Force's 69th year as a military branch, the Guardsmen were part of a guest list that included active-duty Airmen from the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area.
"I was so honored to be there," said Senior Airman Xin Miao, from the 111th Comptroller Flight, who emigrated from China to the U.S. in 2009. "It was very emotional and moving to be around different people from different units who were all there because they chose to give back to their country and wear this uniform."
Miao stated that in 2012 he enlisted in the ANG to repay the country that afforded him freedom and possibility.
The event was presided over by retired Rear Adm. Joseph Hare, Union League Armed Services Council chairman. Gen. Robin Rand, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, was featured as the keynote speaker.
"I want the Airmen here to take home a sense of pride and gratitude," said Rand. "I want them to know that what they do matters; every day they are making a difference. So, if they feel a little taller today, that would be good."
Rand continued by saying that seeing the wide variety of Airmen in attendance not only made him feel honored, but also humbled by their duty, commitment and service. After his presentation, he was bestowed the Union League Bowl by Hare.
Also in attendance were the current Pa. ANG Command Chief Victor Guerra, of the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, and his successor Command Chief Master Sgt. Regina Stoltzfus, 193rd Special Operations Wing, Middletown, Pennsylvania. Both command chiefs commented on the importance of Air National Guardsmen acknowledging a sense of honor during the distinct observance.
"Today reminds our Airmen of their heritage and where they came from," said Guerra, who helped cut the official Air Force birthday cake. "This was absolutely a rebluing event for all of our Airmen by acknowledging those who laid the groundwork for us, recognizing the great things we are doing today and looking forward to what we will accomplish in the future."
Both command chief master sergeants regarded the event as a celebration of the individual components of Air Force service--commenting on how each job integrates to accomplish the mission.
"General Rand came out today and showed that it takes all the little pieces, working together seamlessly, to create one resilient force able to fight our nation's wars," said Stoltzfus. "It is extremely inspiring - and important - for our Airmen to see that they matter.
"I hope our Airmen leave here today very proud of who they are, what they do and what they represent as part of this superb team."