** Meetings currently suspended due to COVID-19 **
Meetings would be held on the Second Wednesday of each Month, 6:00pm, at Sonoma Veterans Memorial Building.
126 First Street West, Sonoma, CA 95476
The official date of the founding of the US Air Force is 18 September 1947. It was a momentous event that over six decades later has demonstrated the achievement of an Air Force second-to-none, yet the Air Force’s history and heritage goes back a lot further.
From the time that the US military purchased its first aircraft in 1909 up to 1947, the US Air Force did not exist as a separate and independent military service organization. It went through a series of designations: Aeronautical Section, Signal Corps (1909); Aviation Section, Signal Corps (1914); United States Army Air Service (1918); United States Army Air Corps (1926), United States Army Air Forces (1941).
WWII illustrated the value of airpower, and the need to change the basic organization of the US Military Forces. The result was the creation of a single Department of Defense with a strong Joint Chiefs of Staff with Army, Navy, and Air Force chiefs. In 1947 President Truman signed the National Security Act which established this new defense organization, and along with it the creation of the US Air Force as an independent service, equal to the US Army and US Navy. The official birthday of the US Air Force is 18 September 1947.
Through the years history has shown the wisdom and foresight of the creation of a separate Air Force. The US Air Force emerged quickly from its cradle and began to create its own history and heritage.
1949: The flight of the “Lucky Lady II” demonstrated the Air Force’s capability to fly, non-stop round the world, showing it could take off from the U.S. and drop bombs anywhere in the world.
1950-1953: USAF engaged in the first completely jet aerial combat During the Korean War. The F-86 Saberjet scored impressive aerial victories against the enemy MiG-15.
1954: The first B-52 Stratofortress came into the USAF Inventory and has served in every conflict since its appearance.
1960s: The development and deployment of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) as a major component of the aerial defense capability of the United States.
1964-1973: War in Vietnam
1970s: The development of laser-guided bombs and TV-guided air to ground missiles. Air mobility took a major step forward with the introduction of the C-5 Galaxy in the Air Force Inventory. Other aircraft systems introduced in this decade were the F-15, A-10, AWACS, and F-16.
1980s: Stealth Technology was revealed advent of the F-117; strategic bomber capability was increased with the deployment of the B-1.
1990s: USAF played a major role in the swift defeat of the Iraqi military forces in the first Persian Gulf War: The Air Force underwent a major reorganization with the formation of Air Combat Command, Air Mobility Command, and Air Force Materiel Command. The USAF supported the war in the Balkans, and the US intervention Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti.
2000 — Present: The Expeditionary Air Force concept was a major transition in how the Air Force employed forces. The Global War on Terrorism brought the USAF into Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
The United States’ National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed across the nation on the third Friday of September each year. Many Americans take the time to remember those who were prisoners of war (POW) and those who are missing in action (MIA), as well as their families.
What Do People Do?
Many Americans across the United States pause to remember the sacrifices and service of those who were prisoners of war (POW), as well as those who are missing in action (MIA), and their families. All military installations fly the National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag, which symbolizes the nation’s remembrance of those who were imprisoned while serving in conflicts and those who remain missing.
Veteran rallies take place in many states, such as Wisconsin, in the United States on National POW/MIA Recognition Day. United States flags and POW/MIA flags are flown on this day and joint prayers are made for POWs and those missing in action. National POW/MIA Recognition Day posters are also displayed at college or university campuses and public buildings to promote the day. Remembrance ceremonies and other events to observe the day are also held in places such as the Pentagon, war memorials and museums.
National POW/MIA Recognition Day is not a federal public holiday in the United States but it is a national observance.
There are 1,741 American personnel listed by the Defense Department’s POW/MIA Office as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, as of April 2009. The number of United States personnel accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 is 841. About 90 percent of the 1,741 people still missing were lost in Vietnam or areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam’s wartime control, according to the National League of Families website (cited in the United States Army website).
The United States Congress passed a resolution authorizing National POW/MIA Recognition Day to be observed on July 18, 1979. It was observed on the same date in 1980 and was held on July 17 in 1981 and 1982. It was then observed on April 9 in 1983 and July 20 in 1984. The event was observed on July 19 in 1985, and then from 1986 onwards the date moved to the third Friday of September. The United States president each year proclaims National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Many states in the USA also proclaim POW/MIA Recognition Day together with the national effort.
The National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag symbolizes the United States’ resolve to never forget POWs or those who served their country in conflicts and are still missing. Newt Heisley designed the flag. The flag’s design features a silhouette of a young man, which is based on Mr Heisley’s son, who was medically discharged from the military. As Mr Heisley looked at his returning son’s gaunt features, he imagined what life was for those behind barbed wire fences on foreign shores. He then sketched the profile of his son as the new flag’s design was created in his mind.
The flag features a white disk bearing in black silhouette a man’s bust, a watch tower with a guard on patrol, and a strand of barbed wire. White letters “POW” and “MIA”, with a white five-pointed star in between, are typed above the disk. Below the disk is a black and white wreath above the motto “You Are Not Forgotten” written in white, capital letters.
The U.S. Navy traces its roots back to the privateers that were employed to attack British commerce in the early days of the revolution. On October 13, 1775, the Continental Congress established a naval force, hoping that a small fleet would be able to offset the uncontested exercise of British sea power.
The early Continental navy was not expected to take on the British navy for control of the seas. This small naval force was designed to work with privateers to wage tactical raids against the transports that supplied British forces in North America. To accomplish this mission the Continental Congress purchased, converted, and constructed a fleet of small ships–frigates, brigs, sloops, and schooners. These navy ships sailed independently or in pairs hunting British commerce ships and transports like prey, avoiding whenever possible fights with Royal Navy men-of-war.
The Continental navy faced several obstacles both during and after the revolution – mostly political and economic. Two years after the end of the war, the money-poor Congress sold off the last ship of the Continental navy, the frigate Alliance.
In the 1790’s Europe began to relax many mercantile commercial restrictions and the U.S. trade and the shipping industry expanded accordingly. However, as the number of U.S. ships increased so did the possibility increased attacks by the European powers and pirates. In March 1794 Congress responded by calling for the construction of a half-dozen frigates. And, once again, the United States had a navy.
Although the Continental navy was later dismantled, October 13, 1775, remains the U.S. Navy’s official birthday.
From these humble beginnings, the world’s most powerful naval force was born. With thousands of ships and aircraft serving worldwide, the U.S. Navy is a force to be reckoned with.
During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress passes a resolution stating that “two Battalions of Marines be raised” for service as landing forces for the recently formed Continental Navy. The resolution, drafted by future U.S. president John Adams and adopted in Philadelphia, created the Continental Marines and is now observed as the birth date of the United States Marine Corps.
Serving on land and at sea, the original U.S. Marines distinguished themselves in a number of important operations during the Revolutionary War. The first Marine landing on a hostile shore occurred when a force of Marines under Captain Samuel Nicholas captured New Province Island in the Bahamas from the British in March 1776. Nicholas was the first commissioned officer in the Continental Marines and is celebrated as the first Marine commandant. After American independence was achieved in 1783, the Continental Navy was demobilized and its Marines disbanded.
In the next decade, however, increasing conflict at sea with Revolutionary France led the U.S. Congress to establish formally the U.S. Navy in May 1798. Two months later, on July 11, President John Adams signed the bill establishing the U.S. Marine Corps as a permanent military force under the jurisdiction of the Department of Navy. U.S. Marines saw action in the so-called Quasi-War with France and then fought against the Barbary pirates of North Africa during the first years of the 19th century. Since then, Marines have participated in all the wars of the United States and in most cases were the first soldiers to fight. In all, Marines have executed more than 300 landings on foreign shores.
Today, there are more than 200,000 active-duty and reserve Marines, divided into three divisions stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Camp Pendleton, California; and Okinawa, Japan. Each division has one or more expeditionary units, ready to launch major operations anywhere in the world on two weeks’ notice. Marines expeditionary units are self-sufficient, with their own tanks, artillery, and air forces. The motto of the service is Semper Fidelis,meaning “Always Faithful” in Latin.
Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as over 1,200 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea, and abroad.
Join us at 8:45am on Saturday December 14h to lay a wreath at every Veterans grave site in the Sonoma Valley. After a short ceremony wreath will be placed at the Veterans Cemetery, Mountain Cemetery, Saint Francis Solano Cemetery and Valley Cemetery. This event occurs Rain or Shine.