Where were you 20 years ago this week?

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Johnny Victory
  • 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Superintendent
Can you recall where you were in January 1991? Many of you may laugh and say, "Chief, I wasn't even born" or "I was in second grade." But for those of you who can recall, January 16, 1991 was the day during Gulf War I that the initial conflict to expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait began with an aerial bombardment by the United Nations authorized coalition forces.

Personally, I had just made a permanent change of station move from Royal Air Force Upper Heyford, United Kingdom, to Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. I purchased a new 1991 Chevrolet Silverado pick-up for $10,995, and a 10-year-old, three bedroom, two bath, 1,300 square foot home for $39,800.

Professionally, I was a staff sergeant working as a Jet Engine Mechanic on the F-111E Aardvark assigned to the 429th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, Tactical Air Command. I was living large.

Some of you may be asking, where is RAF Upper Heyford? What is an F-111E? What is TAC? They are all gone. That got me to thinking about what else has changed since then.

First, the accuracy of the high-explosive weapons delivered by our aircraft during this initial conflict was measured in hundreds of feet, where today we use our inert GPS guided ordnance do the same thing with accuracy that is measured by inches and feet.

Second, in June 1992, TAC and Strategic Air Command became Air Combat Command, and Military Airlift Command became Air Mobility Command.

Finally, the C-141B Starlifter was the workhorse here at McChord Field, with the first C-17 Globemaster III arriving in July 1999.

So you may ask, what's the point? My point is that we were the best Air Force in the world in 1991. We've adapted to the new challenges and have simply skyrocketed even further forward over the past 20 years with no signs of letting up!