BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - It was originally called the Aeronautical Division, it later became the U.S. Army Air Corps, then 71 years ago it officially became its own independent branch of the military and is called the United States Air Force. To celebrate the U.S. Air Force's birthday a group of local veterans shared stories during a birthday breakfast.
Active members like Kevin Morrison who's a member of the Air National Guard in California from 2014 until now attended, along with veterans like Marvin Belcher who was stationed in England during WWII and flew missions over Germany on B-17 as the ball turret gunner.
The breakfast's key note speaker was Belcher. He said his crew flew 26 missions from February to May in 1945. And all nine members of his crew finished those missions without a scratch.
"I felt that since everyone was making some contribution to the war effort, I was fortunate to be able to serve and get back okay. A lot of those guys didn't make it back," said Belcher.
Some people brought pictures to share stories, while others like Louise Broome, who has had twelve military members in her family, brought books her father brought home with him.
"He had this. And I just hung on to it. I didn't know what to do with it, but I didn't want to just throw it away. It's part of history," said Broome.
Along with a biscuits and gravy breakfast the event included a singing of the national anthem, cake cutting and Belcher's speech. And for military members like Morrison, he says it's the camaraderie that keeps him coming back to events like this.
Morrison said, "Being able to talk with people who served in World War II, and Vietnam, and the Gulf War, and all these we're all connected across those lines. And that's what I enjoy about events like today."
The next military breakfast will be held on Saturday October 13th at Coconut's Joe's in Central Bakersfield. The breakfast will start at 8:00 a.m. with a speaker starting at 9:30 a.m.