NFL celebrates AF birthday

  • Published
  • By SrA Daniel DeCook
  • 844th Communications Group
Almost 60 years to the day since the United States Air Force became its own service, the United States Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team was sent to help celebrate this anniversary with flair and style. During the tour, dubbed the "Birthday Tour," the drill team performed for members of the entire New Mexico community - including Holloman, Cannon, and Kirtland Air Force Bases - at their massive all-state Air Force Ball, followed by a performance for a crowd of thousands during halftime at the NFL's Carolina Panthers vs. Houston Texans game in North Carolina Sunday.

While the purpose of the tour was to highlight the Air Force's 60th birthday, each leg gave the team a chance to perform in front of vastly different audiences. For the New Mexico trip, held at a resort near Kirtland AFB, the drill team performed for a room full of more than a thousand Air Force members with their spouses and families. The audience waited in silence as the drill team marched in, but, by the end of the show, the crowd was on its feet cheering. In less than 24 hours, the team was across the country, bringing the Air Force's birthday celebration to the 50-yard line at the Bank of America Stadium, home of the NFL's Carolina Panthers. The drill team didn't just perform at halftime, they were the halftime show - showcasing their routine in front of thousands of football fans and embodying Air Force pride to every person in attendance.

"I couldn't be happier hosting the Drill Team to celebrate the Air Force's 60th Anniversary," said Annie Hodges, NFL Carolina Panthers entertainment coordinator, "It is an honor to see the Airmen perform and bring their energy and passion for the Air Force in front of our fans."

But the birthday celebrations don't end for the Drill Team with this tour, when they return home they will barely get a moment to rest. In fact, the whole 11th Wing at Bolling gears up for the Global Air Chief's Conference this week, where the Drill Team will perform at the 60th Anniversary Tattoo at the Air Force Ceremonial Lawn at Bolling September 24. But first, the drill team will join with Tops in Blue at the official Air Force Birthday celebration September 18 at the Pentagon, hosted by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and joined by Air Force senior leaders at the cake-cutting ceremony with the Air Force's oldest and youngest time-in-service Airmen.

"While our job always includes highlighting the Air Force around the world, we take special pride in helping the Air Force celebrate this milestone," said Capt. Joshua Hawkins, Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team Commander.