On the Air Force’s 70th birthday, its chief uses the past to guide the future
Air Force Times
September 18, 2017
As the Air Force celebrates its 70th birthday, Goldfein is thinking not only about how far the service has come, but where it’s going next. After all, he said, when the old Army Air Corps emerged from World War II and became the modern Air Force, it was primarily a bomber and escort force.
Gen. Dave Goldfein, chief of staff of the Air Force, during an interview in his office at the Pentagon on August 23, 2017. (Alan Lessig/Staff)Nearly the entire history of flight can be traced while circling Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein’s Pentagon office.
There’s a framed scrap of fabric from the original Wright Brothers flyer, not much bigger than a postage stamp, that was given to the first chief of staff, Carl Spaatz. Goldfein points out the bulky camera used to photograph another Wright plane during a 1908 demonstration for the War Department at Fort Myer, Virginia.
Then there’s the globe Hap Arnold used during World War II — with a gash above Alaska’s Aleutian Island chain that prompts Goldfein to wonder what frustrated Arnold that particular day — plus photographs of legendary aviators such as the Tuskegee Airmen, and photographs, a parachute and a Hershey bar from the Berlin Airlift.
“One of my favorite quotes from Hap Arnold is when he said, ‘The challenge with air power is we make it look too easy,’ ” Goldfein said.
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