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Happy Birthday to the United States Air Force

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In 1907, the U.S. Army Signal Corps was created to assume responsibility over all matters pertaining to military aviation, and in its earliest days was a fledgling force of only eight aviation balloons, a dozen officers, and only slightly more enlisted men.  From that small yet effective force came the modern United States Air Force, established as a separate branch of the military services on September 18, 1947.

In the decade before its separation from the United States Army, the U.S. Army Air Corps as it was known proved its strength during the protracted battles of World War IIBy September 1939, the German army and air force had managed to defeat and occupy Poland, Norway, Holland, Belgium and France.  It was in the wake of such worldwide conflict that the Air Force began to develop into one of the world’s most effective military forces.  Equipment and funding poured into the U.S. Army Air Corps as President Franklin Roosevelt began to realize that in order to defeat the determined Germans, the United States would need a superior military aviation force. 

During the Cold War, the Air Force was called upon to assist with “Operation Vittles”, also known today as the Berlin Airlift.  Through the efforts of the U.S. Air Force (operating in conjunction with the Royal Air Force of the U.K.), West Berliners were provided with food and other vital necessities.  Because of the success of the airlift, the Soviets were forced to give up their blockade.

Today’s Air Force is comprised of more than 328,000 active personnel and 67,000 reservists.  The responsibilities of the Air Force have expanded with changing international events.  The Air Force has been a fundamental component of several humanitarian operations including Operation Provide Comfort in 1991 in which the Air Force helped deliver humanitarian aid to Iraqi Kurds fleeing their homes after the Persian Gulf War.  Also in 1991, under the guise of Operation Sea Angel, the Air Force provided humanitarian support to survivors of the catastrophic cyclone in Bangladesh that left more than 138,000 dead and ten million homeless.  Most recently, the Air Force has deployed a team to Cameron Parish, Louisiana to assist with cleanup efforts in the wake of Hurricane Ike

The Air Force’s motto is “Above All” and the history of this branch of the service shows that today’s Airmen are living up to that motto in extraordinary ways.  From fighting today’s Global War on Terror (GWOT) to providing humanitarian assistance to victims of the 2004 tsunami through Operation Unified Assistance, the United States Air Force is a vital part of today’s military forces.  Airmen, many of whom are our students, today we salute you and congratulate you on your 61st birthday!

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Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2002. In September 2019, Dr. Boston retired as CEO of APEI and retired as APUS President in August 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. For four years from 2009 through 2012, APEI was ranked in Forbes' Top 10 list of America's Best Small Public Companies. During his tenure as president, APUS grew to over 85,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 100,000 alumni. While serving as APEI CEO and APUS President, Dr. Boston was a board member of APEI, APUS, Hondros College of Nursing, and Fidelis, Inc. Dr. Boston continues to serve as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), a member of the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, and as a member of the board of New Horizons Worldwide. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. In August 2020, the Board of Trustees of APUS appointed him Trustee Emeritus. In November 2020, the Board of Trustees announced that the APUS School of Business would be renamed the Dr. Wallace E Boston School of Business in recognition of Dr. Boston's service to the university. Dr. Boston lives with his family in Austin, Texas.

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