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Laughlin Heritage Corner: August
This August we remember two major historical anniversaries. First, this month marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. The war, which had ended in Europe with the defeat of Nazi Germany back in May, finally concluded in the Pacific after the U.S.A. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.
Laughlin Heritage Corner: July
Happy birthday, Laughlin! This month we celebrate our 78th year as a base: The installation that would become Laughlin AFB was officially established as an Army Air Forces Advanced Flying School under the Army Air Corps, Central Flying Training Command, on 2 July 1942.
The Laughlin Heritage Corner - May
This May we celebrate two major anniversaries: The 50th anniversary of when the Air Force ROTC program first began accepting female cadets, and the 75th V-E Day. Here at Laughlin, we also have a big anniversary to celebrate this month: On the 25th, the 47 Comptroller Squadron (47 CPTS) celebrates 25 years at Laughlin!
The Laughlin Heritage Corner - April
April is notable for many reasons. In April 1989, for example, Congress designated Laughlin AFB a remote facility for Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR)—making it the only facility so designated in Air Training Command (now AETC). April also saw the opening, twenty years ago, of the First Term Airman Center in 2000, the arrival of the much-improved B-26B-10 in 1943 (which was much easier to handle than the unimproved B-26), and the renaming of the base paper in 1962 to “NOTAM.” Even back then, though, the base paper was still distributed on Fridays!
The Laughlin Heritage Corner with the 47 FTW Historian
Here at Laughlin, we started training pilots for the first time in February 1943. We had spent all summer and fall in 1942 constructing and preparing the base for occupation, and it was finally time to fly. These first classes were small and had irregular start dates, but this was the very beginning of our training mission. In these early days, we taught pilots and co-pilots how to fly bombers—WW2-era B-26 Marauders, to be precise—and these first classes lasted about four-and-a-half weeks. Over the course of World War 2, nearly 3,000 bomber pilots would graduate from Laughlin.
47 years of 47, Laughlin's Air Force Ball
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.
Airman Spotlight: Airman 1st Class Vernell Butler
Airman 1st Class Vernell Butler, 47th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment technician, said February, recognized as African American Heritage Month, gives him a chance to reflect on his heritage and be proud of the progress America has made.
Phoenix wings: Tradition carries on through third aviator
The World War II era conjures visions of monochromatic film flickering in sync with the distinctive pop of a reel-to-reel projector, coupled with a monotone voice-over description of planes roaring overhead, gunfire whizzing back and forth and explosions dealing real death and destruction. Those jarring images of WWII have a more grave meaning to the Byrd family. And for 2nd Lt. Colin Asbury, 47th Flying Training Wing pilot, the wings he now wears on his chest are a vivid reminder and direct link to those WWII sights and sounds. Asbury, who recently graduated the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training program at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, had a pair of aviator’s wings pinned by Lt. Col. (ret.) Thomas Byrd May 18, 2018, as the third pilot to wear the set dating back to 1941. Air Force pilots inherently ground themselves with their tradition, as does the rest of the aviation community. And the passing of wings is a time-honored tradition focused on the pedigree of pride and honor.
Airman’s Spotlight: William McEvoy
Without historians like William McEvoy, 47th Flying Training Wing historian, to take the time to formally document happenings and go through the process of securing them, officially nothing takes place in the business of fly, fight, win.
The 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing reunites at Laughlin
Members of the 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing and their spouses returned to Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 22, 2017; the base they were assigned to when the Cuban Missile Crisis was at its height during the 1960s.