Team Shaw celebrates 70th Air Force birthday

This year the Shaw 2017 Air Force Ball celebrated the Air Force’s 70th birthday.

Team Shaw members mingle before the start of an Air Force ball at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Sept. 23, 2017. This year the Shaw 2017 Air Force Ball celebrated the Air Force’s 70th birthday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ashley Maldonado)

All five military branches were represented by their correlating formal service cover in honor of POW/MIAs.

Airmen assigned to the 20th Force Support Squadron Honor Guard perform a Missing Man and Honors ceremony during an Air Force ball at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Sept. 23, 2017. All five military branches were represented by their correlating formal service cover in honor of POW/MIAs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ashley Maldonado)

More than 300 military members, spouses and community members attended the event.

Team Shaw members raise their water glasses for a toast during an Air Force ball at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Sept. 23, 2017. More than 300 military members, spouses and community members attended the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ashley Maldonado)

As a time-honored Air Force tradition, the most senior and youngest Airmen on station cut the Air Force Ball cake together.

U.S. Air Force Airman Basic Rhett Baumeister, left, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron administration representative, and U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott Zobrist, 9th Air Force commander, cut a cake during this year’s Air Force ball at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Sept. 23, 2017. As a time-honored Air Force tradition, the most senior and youngest Airmen on station cut the Air Force Ball cake together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ashley Maldonado)

The attendees of the Shaw 2017 Air Force Ball celebrated the Air Force’s 70th birthday and Shaw AFB’s 76th anniversary.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott Zobrist, 9th Air Force commander, discusses the success of the Air Force and its Airmen during an Air Force ball at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Sept. 23, 2017. The attendees of the Shaw 2017 Air Force Ball celebrated the Air Force’s 70th birthday and Shaw AFB’s 76th anniversary. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ashley Maldonado)

The contestants were judged based on audience applause.

Attendees participate in a party shirt dance contest during an Air Force ball at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Sept. 23, 2017. The contestants were judged based on audience applause. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ashley Maldonado)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Military and community members attended the 2017 Air Force ball in Hangar 1200 here, Sept. 23.

The Air Force ball is a formal celebration of the Air Force’s “birthday” -- Sept. 18, 1947 -- when it officially became a separate service from the Army.

“Despite [the event] being in an aircraft hangar typically used for turning jets, months of preparation allowed us to transform it from an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan and enabled everyone to experience a very pleasant evening as they wined and dined to the festivities,” said Capt. Aaron Blackburn, Shaw 2017 Air Force Ball sub-committee leader.

Not only does this year mark the 70th anniversary of the Air Force, but also the 76th anniversary of Shaw AFB, originally named Shaw Field.

“I’m very excited for our future, and I’m very proud of our past,” said Maj. Gen. Scott Zobrist, 9th Air Force commander and guest speaker. “I’m excited for the future, because I know the team assembled here today is going to take not just the 20th Fighter Wing and all the other mission partners to the next level, but they’re going to take us into the future as well.”

“I’m proud of being an Airman,” Zobrist said. “I’m a proud member of the joint team. … Happy birthday, Air Force!”