I know that for most of you, when you think "April 15th" the first thing that pops into your mind is: Tax Day! But this April 15th, I think we should all pause from our grumbling about contributing to Uncle Sam, and remember something a little different, and something near and dear to this old AF flyer's heart. In my official correspondence in the course of my job at the Pentagon, I close my signature block with a little saying. It goes like this: "April 15, 1953: The last time US Ground Forces were attacked by enemy air. We intend to keep it that way -- AF/A5R-C" A5R-C is the office I work in, HQ USAF, Directorate of Force Application -- Air Superiority Division. I take special pride in that statement. Next Monday, it will be 60 YEARS since American troops have gone to war and had to worry about being attacked by enemy air. Air-to-Air, dog-fighting? Important, and usually the "glamorous" mission for the AF. Bombing the enemy to get them to submit to America's military objectives? Also pretty cool. But the MOST IMPORTANT mission, the reason we exist, is to support that troop on the ground engaged against the enemy, firmly planting his feet on some bare piece of earth and defiantly saying, "this piece of land belongs to America now." The fact that this troop does not have to fear that the enemy will attack him from the air to dislodge him from his mission and that piece of earth... That is what should make the AF (and Navy, Marine, and Army air) proud. Think about it. 60 years! 60 years where we as a nation can say "In war, we own the skies." 60 years where not one enemy was capable of placing our troops in combat in danger from the skies we controlled. Air superiority doesn't come cheap (as we've seen in the news recently), and it requires vigilance in maintaining that edge both in technological advantage and in training to the highest standards. But today, in the age where warfare has evolved to include the use of power from the air as part of the means of conflict, America can rightfully say "Keep Out! You ain't getting near my troops!" to our enemy. This is something special, and it needs to be recognized. Unfortunatley, our own media will most likely never mention it within all the speical interest stories they will run on "Tax Day Dread". So I ask you to pause and remember. 60 years. And we intend to keep it that way.