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U.S. Air Forces in Europe — the Air Force’s oldest, continuously active major command — turned 65 years old this month.

On Jan. 19, 1942, the War Department created Headquarters, 8th Air Force. In 1945, the command received its current name — U.S. Air Forces in Europe, or USAFE for short.

At that time, USAFE had 17,000 airplanes and 450,000 people, according to the Web site of the Ramstein, Germany-based command. Today, it has 220 aircraft and 41,000 active-duty, Reserve and civilian employees at five main bases and 80 other sites.

The command has been involved in every major military operation since its inception.

“For more than half a century, USAFE airmen have taken the fight to America’s and our allies’ enemies,” Gen. Tom Hobbins, USAFE commander, said in a statement. “All airmen and civilians assigned to USAFE today, like those who came before, should take pride in the fact that, every day, their service to our nation adds to this command’s proud legacy.”

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