Top 3 release Air Force birthday message

Washington (AFNS) -- (Editor's note: Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody, released this message to all Airmen Sept. 15.)

To the Airmen of the U.S Air Force:

Sixty-eight years ago, on Sept. 18, 1947, Congress established our Air Force as an independent service. Over the past six decades, American Airmen built a legacy of adaption, innovation, technological change and a perpetual quest to reach beyond our limits.

From 1947 to today, Airmen have accomplished our service's core missions with dedication and precision. Although the methods and means of employing air power have changed, our charge to fly, fight and win remains the same, as does the indomitable spirit of the American Airman.

We are truly inspired by each of the 666,000 members of our Total Force - active duty, guard, reserve and civilian Airmen. Each of you faithfully answers your nation's call and is entrusted with our service's remarkable legacy. As we face today's challenges, it is your drive and passion that will allow our Air Force to rise above those challenges. You are the reason we are - and will continue to be - the world's greatest Air Force.

On this day, we celebrate our rich heritage and aspire to build and even greater Air Force for the future. We take great pride in serving alongside each one of you and invite you to join us in proudly celebrating the 68th birthday of the U.S. Air Force. As always, we sincerely thank you and your families for all that you do for our nation every day. 

Happy birthday, Air Force!