WASHINGTON – Lunch at the Bolling Club Sept. 18 had an extra special item on its menu – birthday cake. To honor the 66th birthday of the U.S. Air Force, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB) Vice-Commander Col. Michael E. Saunders welcomed guests and joined Airman 1st Class Joshua Fleek, of the installation’s Air Force Honor Guard, in a ceremonial cake cutting to help celebrate the occasion.
From its start as the Aeronautical Division, Signal Corps on up to being part of the U.S. Army Air Forces, Saunders went through some of the history behind the Air Force, including its long, storied presence at the base formerly known as Bolling. It was on this base that the presidential aircraft, dubbed the “Sacred Cow” and equivalent to today’s Air Force One, would take off and land back in the nation’s capital.
While then President Franklin D. Roosevelt used the Sacred Cow only before his death in April 1945, Saunders said the aircraft was in presidential service during the first two years of President Harry Truman’s tenure as commander-in-chief. It was also while on board the Sacred Cow that Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 – which Saunders said established the Air Force as an independent service.
“It’s regarded as the birthplace of the Air Force. The Sacred Cow is just one of many interesting facts about our nation’s youngest service,” Saunders said. “As our Airmen continue to accomplish the core missions at hand, I believe it’s significant to acknowledge our past while looking ahead to the future. I’m faithful to our values and proud to be an Airman.”
Since 1983, the Sacred Cow has been part of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright- Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.