8th Air Force marks its 75th anniversary with Heritage Run - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

8th Air Force marks its 75th anniversary with Heritage Run

Runners at pre-race ceremony on Barksdale AFB/Source: KSLA News 12 Runners at pre-race ceremony on Barksdale AFB/Source: KSLA News 12
Runners arriving for pre-race ceremony on Barksdale AFB/Source: KSLA News 12 Runners arriving for pre-race ceremony on Barksdale AFB/Source: KSLA News 12
Eight Air Force Heritage 8K Run/Source: KSLA News 12 Eight Air Force Heritage 8K Run/Source: KSLA News 12
BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) -

The 8th Air Force held an 8K Heritage Run on Barksdale AFB Wednesday morning in honor of “The Mighty Eighth’s” 75th anniversary.

Active-duty airmen ran in commemoration of past 8th Air Force and Bomber Command veterans

Special guests included a former World War II prisoner of war, an Army Air Corps member who stormed the beaches of Normandy, a recently awarded French Legion of Honor recipient, as well as an 8th Bomber Command troop who held every enlisted rank and officer rank through colonel. 

"It's an honor to be in their presence, I think it's also a challenge to us as well, when you meet folks that are a part of the greatest generation, their service allows us to do what we do today and that we live up to their expectations for what they've done and what they have for 8th Air Force today as well," said Air Force Major Tiffany Johnson. 

Wednesday morning was special for Johnson and dozens of other airmen with the 8th Air Force has they honored their lineage.  

Running, to remember those who came before them and those yet to come. 

"I am probably one of the few Americans, I've spent 38 years on active duty, 38 years," said Retired Air Force Col Steve dePyssler, "My legacy is my wartime."

75 years ago dePyssler witnessed the beginning stages of the Air Force, transitioning  from the 8th Bomber Command to the 8th Air Force. 

He served in every enlisted and officer rank through colonel. 

"I went from a private to a master sergeant in one year, but I spent nine years as a full colonel because I couldn't get promoted to general because I was only a high school graduate," he continued. 

As he approaches 98, he still has the fire to make a difference and serve his country. 

"My goal in life is to help one person every day as long as I live," expressed dePyssler. 

Most days you can find him on base sharing his stories, mentoring young Airmen.

"When I look around and see all these young kids I'm so proud, they're so sharp. "

And then the question comes for a man who so proudly represents the greatest generation. 

"You're an American Hero, do you consider yourself a hero?"
"I do not consider myself an American hero, all I consider myself as a very fortunate that I had good genes, I had a good wife who fed me the right things and took care of me, I just consider myself so fortunate that I have the ability to still be able to do things."
 

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