By Airman 1st Class Charles Welty, Air University Public Affairs
/ Published April 13, 2018
Lt. Gen. Anthony Cotton, commander and president of Air University, escorts retired Maj. Hillard Pouncy Jr, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, as he throws a ceremonial first pitch during a Montgomery Biscuits baseball game April 6, 2018, in Montgomery, Alabama. Pouncy was one of four Air Force members to throw a pitch during the centennial commemoration. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Charles Welty)
Col. Eric Shafa, 42nd Air Base Wing commander (left), retired Maj. Hillard Pouncy Jr, member of the Tuskegee Airmen, and Lt. Gen. Anthony Cotton, commander and president of Air University, pose for a photo during the dedication of the Tuskegee Airmen Room at the Maxwell Club, April 6, 2018, on Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The room, formerly known as the Old South Room, was renamed in order to honor the legendary group of Airmen who helped pave the way for integration in the military. (U.S. Air Force photo by William Birchfield)
Col. Eric Shafa, 42nd Air Base Wing commander, speaks during the Maxwell Air Force Base centennial kick-off, April 6, 2018, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The kick-off event was the first of many during Maxwell’s celebratory weekend including the unveiling of a new exhibit at the Muir S. Fairchild Research Information Center and members from the base throwing out ceremonial first pitches at a Montgomery Biscuits baseball game. (U.S. Air Force photo by William Birchfield)
Since it’s conception in 1918, Maxwell Air Force Base has played a pivotal role in airpower, providing the Air Force with innovation, education and leadership training.
One hundred years have passed and the Maxwell community has grown to be a more integral part of the River Region. Members from around the base and local community gathered together in order to celebrate the occasion April 6-7.
The first event of the celebration was the unveiling of the Tuskegee Airman Room at the Maxwell Club. Formerly known as the Old South Room, the room was renamed in order to honor the legendary group of Airmen who helped pave the way for integration in the military.
The ceremony welcomed distinguished visitors such as Mayor of Montgomery Todd Strange, Mayor of Tuskegee Tony Haygood, and Tuskegee Airman retired Maj. Hillard Pouncy Jr.
“If it wasn’t for Major Pouncy, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Lt. Gen. Anthony Cotton, commander and president of Air University. “We stand on your shoulders and the shoulders of the other men and women who were part of the Tuskegee Airmen. They were the crucial beginning of the diversity we have throughout all branches of the military today.”
Following the unveiling, visitors gathered in the ball room for the centennial kick-off event.
A number of distinguished visitors were in attendance of the ceremony, including descendants of 2nd Lt. William C. Maxwell, the Airman for whom the base was named. In addition, Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, Air Education and Training Command commander, Amanda Wright Lane, great-grandniece of the Wright Brothers and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright sent video messages that were played during the ceremony.
“I wish to thank all of you at Maxwell for holding dear the principles the Wrights held dear too: education, integrity, freedom,” said Lane, in her video message to the base.
The kickoff celebration did just that. It kicked off an event-filled weekend that featured other celebrations such as the unveiling of the Muir S. Fairchild Research Information Center’s new “Faces of the Centennial” photograph exhibit and a commemoration to the base during the Montgomery Biscuits minor league baseball game on Friday night, which featured ceremonial first pitches from base leadership and Pouncy.
“It is community that brings us together and makes us what we really are, which is the greatest Air Force in the world,” said Col. Eric Shafa, 42nd Air Base Wing commander. “We call this the best home town in the Air Force because of those very reasons.”