When CMSgt. James Clemenson retires on Saturday, it will mark the end of an era for the Air Force. Clemenson is the last enlisted airman on active duty status who was stationed in Vietnam to retire from service, according to North Dakota Air National Guard officials. He’s been a member of the North Dakota Air Guard’s 119th Wing in Fargo for nearly the past 40 years, but during the last four of them, he’s been on active duty status with the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C., they said. Clemenson enlisted in the Army in January 1970 and did two tours during the Vietnam War from October 1970 through April 1972. After receiving an honorable discharge, he joined the Air Guard the following year. Only one other active duty airman, CMSgt. Jim Honeycutt, still remains in service who wears a Vietnam Service Ribbon, although it’s for temporary duty in country versus a mobilization, said the officials. (Fargo release)
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.