The Air Force Association commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Air Force Memorial Friday in Arlington, Va., with a distinguished group of guests. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein, among others, offered remarks at a ceremony led by television journalist and former airman Bob Schieffer. The program also featured a video message from former President George W. Bush, who led the 2006 ceremony dedicating the memorial, a performance by American Idol alumna Melinda Doolittle, and a poetry reading by radio personality Adrian Cronauer. Schieffer called the memorial “a reminder of what is right about America, that Americans are a great and good people.” Goldfein said the three arching spires of the memorial were built to commemorate “those who sacrificed everything so we can experience freedom.” AFA President Larry Spencer also offered a tribute to the Tuskegee Airman, three of whom were in attendance. James was named an honorary Tuskegee Airman and received an iconic red jacket from the group. In her remarks, James addressed the future of the Air Force, suggesting the memorial represents “the three domains in which we operate, air, space, and cyberspace.” In his video statement, Bush said the memorial cost $53 million to build and had received over 2 million visitors in its first 10 years.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.