Mr. Speaker, since the United States Air Force was established as an independent branch of the U.S. Armed Forces in 1947, it has played a major role in our national defense. Throughout its 60 years of valiant service, from Operation Rolling Thunder over the skies of Southeast Asia, to Operations Northern and Southern Watch in Iraq, the men and women of the United States Air Force and Air National Guard have defended the United States and our allies around the world.

Since 1947, the men and women stationed at McChord Air Force Base in Washington state have played a key role in supporting the mission of the Air Force, and I want to acknowledge their outstanding service.

"Team McChord," which includes the 62nd Airlift Wing, and its Air Force Reserve components in the 446th Airlift Wing, has flown continuous combat airlift operations every day since October 2001. These operations provide vital airlift and medical evacuation support to our forces as they fight to stop the spread of terrorism and as they respond to other contingencies. In addition to being the home of combat airlift, ``Team McChord'' includes the Western Air Defense Sector, the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, and the 262nd Information Warfare Aggressor Squadron. Together, day in and day out, these brave men and women actively support vital military operations around the world.
Today, we recognize the continued dedication of the United States Air Force. I congratulate them on 60 years of invaluable service to our county.