United States Air Force Celebrates 60th Birthday with a Bang

If you heard a thunderous boom near Maxwell Air Force Base Tuesday, here's why.

Base officials unleashed a barrage of fireworks to celebrate the Air Force's 60th birthday.

In a way it really started more than 60 years ago when the Wright brothers came to town.

Stephen Lorenz, an Air Force commander says," The Wright Brothers first flew in North Carolina in 1903 but flew in here establishing the first civilian school in 1910. At one time this very spot was maxwell field."

And from this very spot grew an enormous air base.

Maxwell is home to the Air Force's war college and for people like Linn Harbour there have been a lot of developements.

Chaplain Harbour has not only seen new developments but the Vietnam veteran is close to wrapping up a 40 year career with the Air Force.

A case in point; one commander says the Air Force is far more efficient, far more accurate than anytime in history.

Paul Mcgillicuddy, a wing commander explains, "Today's air force is twice as lethal than it's ever been. We only got 3,350 airplanes in inventory and they're twice as deadly. During World War II we had 17,000 B-17 bombers alone. We are doing great."

In short, after 60 years of growth, the United States Air Force is flying high.

There's no question Montgomery and the entire River Region have benefited having Maxwell-Gunter Air Force base around.

The base employs 17,000 people including military, civil service and contractors.

One estimate has the economic impact on the region at $1.2 billion a year.