HomeNewsArticle Display

47 years of 47, Laughlin's Air Force Ball

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Simon, 47th Communications Squadron knowledge management section chief, and his wife, Jasmine, pose for a selfie at Laughlin’s Air Force Ball in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 13, 2019. Selfies were in no short supply the night of Laughlin’s Air Force Ball, as mess dresses and semi-formal uniforms got pulled out of dry cleaning to celebrate the Air Force’s 72nd birthday, as well as the 47th year as the 47th Flying Training Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin N. Valmoja)

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Simon, 47th Communications Squadron knowledge management section chief, and his wife, Jasmine, pose for a selfie at Laughlin’s Air Force Ball in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 13, 2019. Selfies were in no short supply the night of Laughlin’s Air Force Ball, as mess dresses and semi-formal uniforms got pulled out of dry cleaning to celebrate the Air Force’s 72nd birthday, as well as the 47th year as the 47th Flying Training Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin N. Valmoja)

Laughlin’s Base Honor Guard posts the colors at Laughlin’s Air Force Ball in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 13, 2019. Laughlin’s Air Force Ball this year celebrated the Air Force’s 72nd birthday, as well as the 47th year as the 47th Flying Training Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin N. Valmoja)

Laughlin’s Base Honor Guard posts the colors at Laughlin’s Air Force Ball in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 13, 2019. Laughlin’s Air Force Ball this year celebrated the Air Force’s 72nd birthday, as well as the 47th year as the 47th Flying Training Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin N. Valmoja)

Before festivities began, Airmen assigned to the 47th Flying Training Wing set a table dedicated to America’s POW/MIA at Laughlin’s Air Force Ball in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 13, 2019. At nearly every wing level celebration, time is carved out to remember those who couldn’t be in attendance, and an empty table is ceremoniously set in their honor. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin N. Valmoja)

Before festivities began, Airmen assigned to the 47th Flying Training Wing set a table dedicated to America’s POW/MIA at Laughlin’s Air Force Ball in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 13, 2019. At nearly every wing level celebration, time is carved out to remember those who couldn’t be in attendance, and an empty table is ceremoniously set in their honor. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin N. Valmoja)

Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Robert Gaylor, fifth CMSAF shares stories from his days in the Air Force at Laughlin’s Air Force Ball in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 13, 2019. Gaylor spoke about some life principles that he found helpful, one being trust; something Gaylor said he and his wingmen had to earn. He went on to share how proud he is of today’s Airmen and the way they protect and build on that trust Gaylor worked so hard for. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin N. Valmoja)

Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Robert Gaylor, fifth CMSAF shares stories from his days in the Air Force at Laughlin’s Air Force Ball in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 13, 2019. Gaylor spoke about some life principles that he found helpful, one being trust; something Gaylor said he and his wingmen had to earn. He went on to share how proud he is of today’s Airmen and the way they protect and build on that trust Gaylor worked so hard for. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin N. Valmoja)

Airmen assigned to the 47th Flying Training Wing came out to celebrate the Air Force’s 72nd birthday, as well as the 47th year as the 47th FTW, at Laughlin’s Air Force Ball in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 13, 2019. This year’s ball was tightly knit with history and heritage; historical uniforms, facts and photos all gave a glimpse back in time for passerby. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin N. Valmoja)

Airmen assigned to the 47th Flying Training Wing came out to celebrate the Air Force’s 72nd birthday, as well as the 47th year as the 47th FTW, at Laughlin’s Air Force Ball in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 13, 2019. This year’s ball was tightly knit with history and heritage; historical uniforms, facts and photos all gave a glimpse back in time for passerby. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin N. Valmoja)

Airman 1st Class Justin Welch, 47th Flying Training Wing Command Post emergency actions controller, strikes a pose at the photo booth at Laughlin’s Air Force Ball in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 13, 2019. Laughlin’s Air Force Ball was in celebration of celebrate the Air Force’s 72nd birthday, as well as the 47th year as the 47th FTW. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin N. Valmoja)

Airman 1st Class Justin Welch, 47th Flying Training Wing Command Post emergency actions controller, strikes a pose at the photo booth at Laughlin’s Air Force Ball in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 13, 2019. Laughlin’s Air Force Ball was in celebration of celebrate the Air Force’s 72nd birthday, as well as the 47th year as the 47th FTW. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin N. Valmoja)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

Mess dresses and semi-formal uniforms got pulled out of dry cleaning to strut the red carpet at Laughlin’s Air Force Ball in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 13, 2019.

In celebration of the Air Force’s 72nd birthday, as well as the 47th year as the 47th Flying Training Wing, Laughlin Airmen smiled through the night full of fun, food and fellowship. They were joined by Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Robert Gaylor, fifth CMSAF —a familiar face to some at Laughlin.

Surrounded by hundreds of Airmen dressed to the nines, Gaylor shared how proud he is of Airmen across the world and how they build and protect the trust he and his wingmen worked so hard to build so many years ago.

As a widely-regarded success from many, Tech. Sgt. Brittany Barlow, 47th Contracting Flight superintendent and event coordinator, couldn’t be happier with the turnout.

“It went well overall, the road leading up to it was a little stressful but we got it done,” she said, laughing. “I think the way it flowed went well, and Mr. Marcell really kicked it up with the San Antonio crew on the history piece of it, which was important.”

Robert Marcell, 47th FTW historian, got some help from the Airman Heritage Foundation and the Airman Heritage Training Complex at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, who brought down numerous historical uniforms and items to bring the history aspect full circle.

Marcell also took attendees on a trip back in time in his own way, sharing the wing’s heritage and many of the great milestones that were passed as a team: graduating Laughlin’s first female instructor pilot, first female student pilot and the Air Force’s first African American female pilot—showcasing the proud roots that many forget exist.

“Our story is a cord that ties us all together," he said. “We don’t have the same Air Force that Chief Gaylor had, but we share the same history. Celebrating the Air Force ball keeps us connected to our predecessors and will continue to connect us to our successors. I hope we keep doing them.”