Laughlin culminates 80th Aniversario campaign with Del Rio community

  • Published
  • Laughlin Air Force Base Public Affairs

Laughlin culminated its 80th Aniversario campaign with the city of Del Rio, Texas, after a year full of events, commemorations, and partnerships.

The campaign celebrated 80 years of partnerships between the base and city.

Our neighbors within Del Rio have shown unwavering support to Airmen and their families throughout the decades. This interdependent relationship has created an environment where both entities thrive. Laughlin has generated employment opportunities and economic growth for the city, as service members and their families often live and shop within the local community.

In turn, the city has supported the base through various initiatives and programs, such as providing resources for military families and hosting events to show appreciation for the service members stationed at the base.

“The level of support and connection we have with Del Rio and the surrounding community is truly astounding,” said Col. Kevin Davidson, 47th Flying Training Wing commander. “Many of our members and their families have made Del Rio their home and are an integral part of the community. I can’t thank our civic leaders and supporters in the city enough for how much they do for our Airmen.”

Many of the community’s biggest events featured the 80th Aniversario theme to bring civilians and military members together, such as the George Paul Bull Riding Memorial, Military Affairs Association (MAA) Welcome Dinners for new student pilots, and a combined awards ceremony where community and service members were recognized for their achievements from the previous year.

Laughlin also brought local schools, community members, and community leaders on the installation to help them see what they are supporting and bring awareness to the base’s mission.

“It was really exciting to tour Laughlin and see, firsthand, the day-in and day-out operations of the best pilot training base in the United States,” said Al Areola, Mayor of Del Rio. “I hope to continue fostering the relationship with Laughlin and support their mission.”

The campaign concluded with a “Thank you Del Rio” event, which honored 10 members of the local community. These 10 members were nominated by the community for their contributions and service to Del Rio. During the event, members were taken on a tour and shown around Laughlin before being given an award for their service to the community.

The event also gave Honorary XLers the opportunity for a familiarization ride in one of Laughlin’s Aircraft or a chance to ride in the base’s flight simulators, showing them what Laughlin pilots go through on a daily basis.

Laughlin and Del Rio have been intertwined since 1942 when Laughlin was first created as a bomber training base for the B-26 Marauder. Even as 80 years have passed since its inception and the mission change, the bond between the two communities remains a cornerstone in Laughlin’s ability to produce the best pilots in the world.