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Ceremony commemorates 60 years of excellence

  • Published
  • By Brooke Davis
  • NEADS Public Affairs
The Northeast Air Defense Sector and Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate teamed-up to commemorate the Air Force's 60th Anniversary Tuesday.

The ceremony also included a historic squadron from the former Griffiss Air Force Base. Veterans from the 465th Fighter Interceptor Squadron reunited for the first time in 50 years to visit Griffiss. During the Cold War era, the 465th Fighter Interceptor Squadron performed a critical first-line defense for the North American Air Defense Command.

The 465th FIS was one of many squadrons created and positioned to be first-line defenders, and their F-89 Scorpion jet, developed and produced by Northrop, was configured with weapons and radar to rapidly climb to 40,000 feet to locate, identify and destroy an aggressor in any kind of weather conditions, said Mr. Tony Kimball, 465th FIS reunion organizer and veteran.

During the event, New York State Senator Joseph Griffo presented a citation to honor the Air Force's 60th Anniversary, AFRL's 10-year anniversary and the 50-year reunion of veterans from the 465th FIS.

The ceremony came to a conclusion after the National Anthem and a flyover provided by the 158th Fighter Wing from the Vermont Air National Guard.

Additional features of the day included static displays and lunch. There was an A-10 from the 104th Fighter Wing located at Barnes Air National Guard Base, Mass., a C-130 from the 914th Airlift Wing, Niagara Air Reserve Station, and a U.S. Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from the USCG Detroit Air Station on display for event attendees to view.

Col. Clark Speicher, NEADS commander, commemorated the rich New York Air National Guard heritage during his speech.

"While the Air National Guard is a product of the Cold War era, National Guard aviation traces its lineage back to 1915 when the state of New York established the first official Guard flying unit," said Colonel Speicher.
"Today the lineage of that unit is carried by New York State's 102nd Rescue Squadron. NEADS is proud to carry on the tradition of excellence that was established by those that came before us."

The overall unit mission at NEADS is to provide air sovereignty and execute counter-air operations over the eastern United States in support of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command Homeland Defense Missions.

The AFRL Information Directorate is an Air Force active duty unit located at Griffiss Business and Technology Park with NEADS.