Air Force Updates Song to be More Inclusive

ORLANDO, Fla.—The Air Force has updated the third verse of its official song, and the alma mater of the U.S. Air Force Academy, to be more inclusive of the women who wear the uniform, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein announced.

The third verse of the song, which originally included the lines, “to a friend we send a message of his brother men who fly” and “a toast to the host of men we boast, the U.S. Air Force” was clearly exclusive, Goldfein said. This wasn’t intentional—the song dates back to the late 1930s and was officially adopted in 1947—but it needed to be updated to better define the makeup of the service.

“We are a profession of arms, we do the nation’s business, and it has to reflect all of us and who we aspire to be,” Goldfein said Feb. 27 at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium here.

The new lines are: “To a friend we send a message of the brave who serve on high,” and “a toast to the host of those we boast, the U.S. Air Force.”

The change went into effect the same day as Goldfein’s announcement. Cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy came up with the new lyrics. The Air Force is discussing possibly changing other parts of the song as well, but no decisions had been made yet.

“There’s a number of stories of women who have been given the gun,” Goldfein said, in reference to the first verse that states “at ‘em boys, give ‘em the gun.”

Goldfein said in his position, he visits the graves at Arlington National Cemetery of Airmen who have been killed in combat. Women are laid to rest alongside men, and should be represented as equals.

“Combat doesn’t discriminate, neither should we,” he said.