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Sheppard AFB celebrates 80 years of airmen training

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 10:50 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Thousands of airmen and officers saluted Sheppard Air Force Base to celebrate its 80 years of training men and women fighting for our country.

This celebration that’s honoring capable combat airmen marked the beginning of an era when the base first opened it’s gates eight decades ago.

“As much as it is a celebration for our rich history, it also is a celebration of us training airmen for tomorrow‘s fight,” said Lt. Ebony Bryant, Public Affairs Officer with the 82nd Training Wing.

Sheppard Air Force Base was established in 1941 where it provided mechanic training during World War II. Fast forward 80 years later, Sheppard has now become the home to the largest and most diverse air force training education facility.

READ: Sheppard AFB still closed to visitors

“So half of the air force comes to Sheppard for technical training. We train almost all of our maintainers, we train a significant of our fighter pilots, we also train Army, Navy and Marine components here as well,” said Bryant. “So we do a heck of a lot of training and we do it well.”

They graduate 60,000 students in any given year and more than 200 from other countries. During the 80th celebration, some of those students kicked off with a 8k and 5k run.

“We‘re just excited for this event it was a great time to socialize and celebrate the 80th birthday of Sheppard Air Force Base,” said Captain Christopher Rumbley, operations officer at Sheppard Air Force Base.

In fact, honoring the 80 years of service of the men and women of Sheppard was so special there was even a special soccer match, so those that train together can get to know each other on and off the field.

“We are very privileged that we get to work within the different branches of the United States government military, so it’s a huge privilege to be be able to play against the Royal Saudi Air Force as well,” said Richard Lamade, airman, 1st Class.

There was also a fireworks show for families’ who take pride in coming through the gates of Sheppard every day.

“On our front gate, it says combat capabilities start here. Well, that’s absolutely true. Without our combat mission here none of the rest of what our air force does here is possible,” said Bryant.

In attendance during the festivities were also Representative James frank, Wichita Falls Fire Chief Ken Prillaman, Wichita Falls City Manager Darron Leiker and Congressman Ronny Jackson.

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