KSLA Salutes: Eighth Air Force celebrates 80 years of history

Published: Feb. 1, 2022 at 10:06 PM CST
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BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (KSLA) - On Tuesday, Feb 1, the Eighth Air Force, also known as “The Mighty Eighth,” celebrated 80 years of war-fighting history.

Eighth Air Force was first activated under the designation as the VIII Bomber Command on Feb, 1, 1942 at Langley Field, Virginia before being moved to England under its parent unit, 8th Air Force.

In 1944 the United States Army Air Forces reorganized its air headquarters in Europe with 8th Air Force, becoming the United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe. On the same day, the VIII Bomber Command officially became known as 8th Air Force.

From its first air combat bombardment mission conducted on July 4, 1942, through the present use of standoff precision munitions, 8th Air Force has decisively taken the air battle into the enemy’s airspace and homeland.

The Eighth Air Force has been headquartered at Barksdale since 1975. On Tuesday, they celebrated the anniversary on base.

“Whether it be World War II, the Cold War, Vietnam, the War on Terror that we have seen more recently, the men and women of The Mighty Eighth Air Force know how to accelerate change,” said Major General Andrew Gebara, the Eighth Air Force’s 65th Commander. “At none of those times did we have more than about three or four years to re-invent ourselves and I am here to tell you that we are at that crossroad again.”

Gebara says The Mighty Eighth is currently switching gears to continue to compete on a global scale.

According to him, from the beginning, 8th Air Force has played a major role in our nation’s defense and security, and they will continue bridging that legacy into the future.

“The Mighty Eighth means to me average men and women that see an important task that needs to be done, they work hard, innovate, do what needs to be done, and keep our country safe,” he said.

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