Ambassador Robert Sherman and Defense Attaché Colonel Glenn B. LeMasters hosted a reception in Monsanto on September 21 to celebrate the 68th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force. General José Antonio Magalhães Araújo Pinheiro, Portuguese Air Force Chief of Staff, was among several VIPs who attended the reception. We were also honored to have the presence of Airman First Class Spencer Stone, the U.S. airman stationed at Lajes Air Base, who was widely proclaimed a hero after thwarting an attack aboard a Paris bound train on August 21.
Colonel LeMasters opened the ceremony, speaking of the long-standing tradition of U.S. Airman, and of their courage and commitment. In his remarks, Ambassador Sherman spoke of the strength of the U.S.-Portuguese partnership, current U.S.-Portuguese engagements across the globe such as the air policing mission in the Baltics and Romanian Assurance missions, discussed Portugal’s role as a host country for NATO’s Trident Juncture exercise and highlighted several acts of courage by U.S. Airmen. Keeping to tradition, the Ambassador, General Pinheiro, Colonel LeMasters and Airman Stone cut the anniversary cake.
During the ceremony, 23 year-old Spencer Stone also spoke, stating that “It is an honor to serve in the Azores. I love the Portuguese. They are among the nicest people I know.” Airman Stone was with his two childhood friends Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler on holiday when he charged an armed gunman. They since met with President François Hollande and President Barack Obama, who thanked them for their heroic act.
Over the past six decades, American Airmen have built a legacy of adaptation, innovation, technological change and a perpetual quest to reach beyond our limits. From 1947 to today, Airmen have accomplished our Service’s core mission with dedication and precision. We are truly inspired by each of the 660,000 remarkable members of our Total Force – Active Duty, Guard, Reserve and Civilian Airmen.