Air Force celebrates 66th birthday at IVH

Keynote speaker Brig. Gen. Jennifer Walter, Iowa Veterans Home Commandant David Worley and an enthusiastic group of Air Force veterans helped celebrate that service branch’s 66th birthday in IVH’s Malloy Leisure Resource Center Wednesday.

Worley, in his introductory remarks, said that IVH was home to 69 Air Force veterans, with some having served in World War II as members of the U.S Army Air Corps, predecessor to the U.S. Air Force. Others served in Korea, Vietnam and in other conflicts.

Walter, of Indianola, conducted an interactive presentation with the audience, as she encouraged the numerous Air Force veterans to respond if they were familiar with types of aircraft mentioned in her address.

Earning many nods of acknowledgment or comments was the C-130, known as the “Flying Boxcar” and “Workhorse of the Air Force.”

“The C-130 has truly been an outstanding airplane for the Air Force,” Walter said.

The Air Force’s famed B-29, B-52, C-47 and C-135 aircraft also generated discussion.

Walter, who enlisted at 18 and who has risen through the ranks during her 37-year career, emphasized that the Air Force consists of dedicated men and women who not only serve as pilots, but as mechanics, instructors and others who serve in a vast array of other support roles.

Walter was promoted to Brig. Gen. in October 2012 and is the first female general officer in the history of the Air National Guard.

She is the Iowa Air Guard’s chief of staff.

In addition to stateside duties, Walter has been deployed overses in several capacities including Operation Southern Watch in Kuwait, and at the 755th Air Expeditionary Group Commander, Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.

Walter’s husband, James (Bud) Walter is retired from the Air National Guard and one son also serves in that branch of service.

Walter said it was her visit to IVH and she was impressed with the dedication of the many staff and volunteers she encountered.