Basic military trainees at Lackland AFB, Tex., now can see and walk across a new memorial dedicated to the enlisted airmen who have received the Medal of Honor, Air Force Cross, and Silver Star. With the first trainees to complete the Air Force’s extended 8.5-week BMT program, the service has created a new tradition in which newly minted airmen walk across the 1,024 stones (164 currently engraved) that comprise the Enlisted Heroes Walk. On hand at the Jan. 2 dedication was CMSAF Rodney McKinley, who helped conceive the walk and approved the design and location next to the Lackland parade ground. In remarks, McKinley said the day marked his “second proudest day” in the Air Force—the first was dedication of the Air Force Memorial—because the walk will “honor our enlisted heroes who have given so much, who still inspire us today, and will continue to inspire every airman who will march over this hallowed ground from this day forward.” Among the dignitaries in attendance at the ceremony was retired Maj. Thomas Newman, whose name appears etched on the walk for his heroism in the Vietnam War when he received the Air Force Cross as a sergeant in 1968. (Lackland report by Mike Joseph)
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.