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Vandenberg Air Force Base has hosted a series of events this month aimed at commemorating the birthday of a critical unit that is considered to be “the gateway into the U.S. Air Force for airmen entering the space, missile, or missile maintenance career fields.”

The 381st Training Group, which is now based at VAFB, celebrated its 76th year with activities focused on three primary themes: heritage, warrior ethos, and “Esprit de Corps,” or morale. The events were highlighted by a keynote address on Nov. 7 from Maj. Gen. Timothy Leahy, the second Air Force commander, which was followed by a group retreat and a B-52 flyover from the 5th Bomb Wing.

Maj. John Paek, an operations officer for the 381st Training Support Squadron, said the festivities were important to help remind those new enlistees about the history and significance of the unit, which was first assembled in 1942 and has continued to utilize new, powerful weapons systems throughout various wars and conflicts since.

“We have been entrusted with weapons that define their era,” he said.

Those weapons systems include the legendary B-17 war planes, known as “Flying Fortresses,” that were used in World War II, the Titan II Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, or ICBMs, that were developed during the Cold War, up through the United States’ current arsenal of nuclear weapons, as well as the next generation of weapons systems that are expected to be implemented as the U.S. progresses in its treatment of space as a war-fighting domain.

“The groundbreaking stuff that defined (those eras) of warfare, we have that legacy to carry on,” Paek said.

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