2022 Air Force Anniversary Ball

The ASM model display at the 2022 Air Force Ball was a great success. The event, held on Friday, October 14th at Kirtland Air Force Base, celebrated the 75th birthday of the USAF. The USAF became a separate service on September 18, 1947 with the passage of the National Security Act of 1947. The theme of the event was “Roaring Twenties.” The theme of our display was “USAF 1947 to the Present.” We also threw in some New Mexico and Albuquerque Air Base history – more on that below. Pictures of the display are provided below.

This year we had two large sets of tables on each side of the hallway near the entrance into the Mountain View Club that the attendees would pass by as they entered into the event. See the composite picture. ASM arrived with 26 tubs and boxes of models and set up a total of 83 models on the tables. This was a record number of models at an AF Ball event (this was our fourth display). The model scales ranged from 1/144 to 1/32. One set of tables had 41 models covering the Korean War (13 models), Southeast Asia/Viet Nam (13 models); Air Defense Command (F-102, F-106 and two BOMARCs); the USAF Thunderbirds, Air Training Command (T-37 and T-38), cargo transport aircraft (C-54, C-118, and C-119); and the “New Mexico” models. This last group of models included the P-38H Lightning flown by Captain Danny Roberts, New Mexico’s fighter ace; B-17F Flying Fortress and B-24J Liberator models and a short story on the Bombardier School at Albuquerque Army Air Force Base during World War II; and finally, my “You Are Leaving New Mexico” model featuring a cow being beamed-up by a UFO.

The second set of tables had 42 models covering the X-planes and test aircraft from 1947 to the present (8 models); fighter, attack and combat support aircraft post Viet Nam to the present (16 models); aircraft used by the 58th Special Operations Wing (CV-22, MH-60G, and UH-1N) and the New Mexico Air National Guard (two F-16s in 1/48 and 1/72, and an A-7D) at Kirtland AFB; and aircraft of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) (7 models). We had newly-built B-52H and B-1B models in 1/144 scale in that last section, as well as two sets of missile models that I finished the night prior to the event. We had been short on SAC bombers and totally without any missile models at our previous three AF Balls, so my son Matt and I built the two bombers, I put the two “missile collections” together, and Frank Randall built an SR-71.

The missiles were a big hit with some of the attendees including the 377th Air Base Wing Commander, who chatted with us for about 15 minutes about our model display. He thought the display was great and he was very appreciative of ASM putting it on for the event, and he presented all of us with “Commander’s challenge coins.” They do want us back next year. I will be writing an article on the build of the missile model collections for the ASM Newsletter and ASM Website. Finally, at the end of this table, we included my F 4E Phantom II (from circa 1978) and my F-4X-Wing Starfighter models side-by-side depicting the USAF of the future. The attendees really enjoyed seeing the Starfighter and UFO models and we had some good conversations about those. So overall, we had a pretty good model representation of the different periods of USAF history, the different commands, and the aircraft types. We plan to build more transport and cargo aircraft for next year.

Mike and Matt Blohm and Ken Piniak set up the display and manned the tables. Since it was a formal event, Ken decided to wear his US Army dress uniform, which included his Cavalry hat and spurs. Therefore, I decided to wear my USAF dress uniform as well. So ASM looked pretty good at the event (see pictures). Thanks to the following ASM members who loaned models for the display: Frank Randall (19 models), Victor Maestas (5), Don Gatewood (4), Dave Epstein (3), Bob Henderson (2), Mark Vaughn (1), Brian Peck (2), Josh Pals (2), Steve Brodeur (1), and Mike and Matt Blohm (43).