Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, were among the dignitaries who ceremoniously broke ground at the site of the future Education Center near the Vietnam Memorial Wall on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. “On this historic site, where we are today, an Education Center will honor the legacy of Vietnam veterans,” said Panetta in his address at the Nov. 28 ceremony. According to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s website for the future landmark, the Education Center at the Mall will be a 35,000-square-foot facility that uses state-of-the-art digital technology to “connect future generations to the lasting impact, the profound insights, and the individual heroes of the Vietnam War,” including the 58,000 Americans who died in the conflict whose names are etched on the nearby Memorial Wall. The center will also honor the sacrifices of the Americans who served in conflicts “from Bunker Hill to Baghdad,” states the website. The VVMF, in a Nov. 19 release, said it had already raised $47 million of the $85 million necessary for the center’s construction. (Includes AFPS report by Terri Moon Cronk)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.