The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is saluting enlisted personnel with a new permanent exhibit, paying tribute to service members who have been long been regarded as one of the American military's greatest competitive advantages.
Senior Air Force and Space Force leaders gathered at the museum Thursday evening to welcome the exhibit and thank enlisted members for their service.
Enlisted personnel are not merely participants in national defense, said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne Bass, the Air Force's highest-ranking enlisted member.
“They are,” she said, “architects of history.”
No single museum exhibit can do justice to the contributions of enlisted personnel, said Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force John Bentivegna, likewise Space Force's highest-ranking enlisted member.
But Bentivegna, in what he said was his first visit to the museum, came away impressed.
“This is powerful,” he said. “It really is.”
The exhibit is spread out in more than 40 locations across the museum, highlighting the roles enlisted members have filled.
Bryan Carnes, a museum research curator and third-generation Air Force enlisted member, long admired the museum. But, like others, he said he felt the contributions of enlisted members were perhaps under-represented.
The idea is to highlight what the museum called “the highly skilled, trained, and talented enlisted force that has been the backbone of daily operations of…