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THE PENTAGON - In a surprise announcement earlier today, General Mark Welsh III, Air Force Chief of Staff, revealed that the Air Force is planning to retire sometime in the Spring, having last month celebrated her 65th birthday.  Also present for the announcement was Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley, who praised the service record of the Air Force, and revealed how the Department of Defense planned to continue overseas operations without USAF support.

Speaking to a crowd of spectators and journalists on the front steps of the Pentagon, General Welsh spoke at length about the legacy of duty and commitment to hard work the Air Force will be leaving behind, as well as plans for the future.

“The Air Force is known even within the branches of the US military for setting the standards.  Ask any Marine, and he’ll tell you that Air Force Physical Training stands apart from the pack.  Ask any Army soldier, and he’ll tell you that no one is asked to live in environments comparable to the Air Force’s.  Ask any Navy sailor, and he’ll tell you that no one redeploys as quickly as the Air Force.”

“But the Air Force is getting older now,” Welsh continued, “and can’t keep up the operational tempo of her younger days.”  Visibly shaken, Welsh steadied himself on the podium before going on.

“It’s not that the best days are behind the Air Force.  They lie ahead; days when old Blue can wake as it pleases to face the day.  Days when the Air Force can relax, and not worry about personal safety inside the walls of hellish combat zones like Jalalabad or Bagram. Days when she doesn’t have to say goodbye for four, sometimes even six months at a time.”

Asked what lies in store for the aging branch, Welsh beamed with enthusiasm.  He described new budgetary appropriations to “accommodate a more senior lifestyle,” including several new construction and beautification projects on USAF bases around the nation.

“First of all, physical training will be scaled back, and will begin incorporating Tai Chi and seniors’ Zumba lessons in conjunction with local gyms twice a week.  Groundbreaking has already begun on new on-post golf courses, so the Wild Blue Yonder can extend to the links.  And of course, new walking trails, duck ponds, and park benches will be installed near all dining facilities, so the Air Force can enjoy a leisurely mid-afternoon stroll before heading in for the Early Bird dinner.”

The Honorable Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force, reassured Americans that defense officials have the new vacancy “well in hand,” and that soldiers, sailors, and Marines stationed overseas would barely notice the Air Force’s absence.

“The Air Force, though an integral part of our armed forces, has been showing its age lately: misplacing the keys to jet fighters, retelling the same tired stories, even mixing up a shipment of helicopter batteries with intercontinental ballistic missiles to Taiwan.”

He also reported that on more than one occasion, the Air Force was “caught napping when it was supposed to be monitoring the radio for CAS [close air support] missions.”

“The truth is, we’ve known this was coming for some time.  That’s why we in the Department of Defense, along with our President, and Congress, have been working so hard to rely more on drone strikes and UAV [Unmanned Aerial Vehicle] surveillance in our operations.  As the Air Force stands down, we’ll be shifting her responsibilities onto a greater number of drones to fill in the gaps.  American air superiority will remain unquestioned, and we’ll really be saving the taxpayers money.  It’s hard to see the Air Force go, but this is really a win-win for America.”

One reporter asked Donley how much money the DoD would be saving with the switch.

“What we’re hoping–that is, the Joint Chiefs and I,–we’d like to see big enough savings to offset budget cuts currently affecting all branches of the military.  As you know, we had to make some drastic cuts last fiscal year, which was a factor when we banned chairs at MacDill [Air Force Base].  Honestly, it’s either this, or the Navy will have to shrink down to only four uniforms.  And don’t get me started on the proposal that the Marine Corps start cutting back on haircuts—no pun intended.”

At press time, the Air Force was reportedly looking at brochures for senior living facilities before getting in a round of golf at Hilton Head’s famous back nine.

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