The Air Force Ball: Enjoying the Experience

  • Published
  • By Maj. Anthony Vieira
  • 49th Maintenance Operations Squadron
What is the first thing you think of when you hear Air Force Ball? The first thing that comes to my mind is that the Air Force Ball is a time to celebrate and embrace our Air Force heritage.

It has been, and will continue to be, a longstanding tradition that is celebrated at various locations across the globe. The heritage of the USAF began Sept. 18 1947, the year our service became independent from the Army Air Corps. Comparatively we are a rather young service when taking into consideration our sister services that were created in 1775 by the Continental Congress.

One thing I always remind my fellow Airmen of is with less than one percent of the US population serving in the military, we truly are a selective few. You can take pride in knowing that each and every one of you plays a vital role in our future legacy, no matter how big or small. The Air Force Ball is a perfect way to show your support for our Air Force.

I believe there is a stigma about Air Force Balls in which I would like to address. Why do I say this? Well, 23 years ago I was a brand new airman, and I believed Air Force Balls were only for higher ranking people, and I did not fit in. So for the first 11 years of my career I never attended an Air Force Ball.

As I look back on it now, I would say I was misguided and uninformed. More importantly, I missed out on opportunities to meet new people and celebrate our Esprit de Corps. Recently, I met with several young Airmen for an open discussion. Believe it or not, things have not changed much, and some of the same misconceptions are out there about the Air Force Ball. So please hear me out...Air Force Balls are for everyone, regardless of rank.

Although it is a formal event, there are no formal rules or official instructions for the event. It is a perfect time to celebrate our lineage and relax from our demanding day to day workloads. The night is filled with good food, dancing and music. In addition, it's an excellent opportunity for all members to meet socially and create new friendships.

Some traditional customs you will experience at an Air Force Ball include: toasts to the American flag, to the President, to the United States Air Force, to the guest speaker of the night and a final toast to all prisoners of war and those missing in action. It is also a military tradition that the most senior ranking individual cuts a decorated cake with the most junior ranking individual in attendance.

This year's 49th Wing Air Force Ball will be held on Oct.12 at the Domenici Fitness Center. Social hour starts at 6 p.m., with dinner being served at 7 p.m. If you have not purchased your tickets yet, there is still time. I highly encourage you to come out to this prestigious event. The theme this year is Route 66 and was actually one of the original highways within the U.S. The Route 66 theme symbolizes the Air Forces 66th birthday, and I'm sure it will be a good time. I look forward seeing you there, GO AIR FORCE... GO TEAM HOLLOMAN!