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Heritage, who cares about it?

  • Published
  • By Paula Taylor
  • 90th Missile Wing Museum curator
When was the last time you visited your Air Force Base museum or asked the wing historian a historical question? I realize many people do not like to learn about our past, but it is very important to understand what has happened in the past to better understand the present and then be able to predict the future. Heritage is an important part of each and every one of your careers in the military. This is not only true for the active duty, but civilians who work for the military. Maj. Gen. Everett Thomas, vice commander, Air Force Global Strike Command, has been concerned recently that the Air Force is losing our heritage and he has made heritage one of his special interests. So, when was the last time you took time to learn about your Air Force heritage?

You are stationed at the oldest continuously active base in the Air Force. As you know, we are listed on the National Register as a historic site, and we have several historic districts located on base. Not to mention that we have more than 200 structures listed individually on the national register. Heritage is easy to see on this base, and, I hope each and every one of you takes the opportunity to learn about the rich culture found here.

The Air Force is dedicated to heritage and has a separate civilian career field preserving what each and every one of you does daily. This small group of several hundred people attempts to preserve our written and artifact heritage for the Air Force. These few people document the events that will be remembered by future Americans. Surprisingly, many are tasked with deployments, just as the active duty members are deployed to the Middle East. Only 12 bases have an Air Force museum in which to preserve their artifacts. All of these dedicated people are interested in one thing, preserving our Air Force heritage.

Have you ever asked the question: "What does the 'Impavide' patch mean? What about 20th Air Force Patch, or even the new AFGSC patch?" If not, maybe you should. These are all good questions everyone should take the time to learn. All you need to do is call our wing historian, Mike Byrd, 773-2980, or email him as he is our keeper of heraldry.

There are all kinds of interesting things one could learn if one would only ask a question. Such as, Gen. Billy Mitchell was stationed here in 1912 when he was a captain. If you don't remember who he is, let me tell you he is known as the "father of air power" as he told the press the future of fighting wars would be fought in the air!

Did you know that Warren had a runway in 1919 for a U.S. airmail route? Eddie Rickenbacker, a World War I flying ace, crashed his aircraft on the dirt runway located here. Granted it only lasted one year, but still, we had a runway at Warren.

Please visit your heritage at the Warren ICBM & Heritage Museum, Bldg. 31, located at 401 Champagne Drive, or call 773-2980.