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"Fabric of the Air Force"

DAYTON, Ohio -- U.S. Air Force 50th Anniversary Commemorative Quilt on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- U.S. Air Force 50th Anniversary Commemorative Quilt on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

AYTON, Ohio -- U.S. Air Force 50th Anniversary Commemorative Quilt on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

AYTON, Ohio -- U.S. Air Force 50th Anniversary Commemorative Quilt on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

AYTON, Ohio -- U.S. Air Force 50th Anniversary Commemorative Quilt on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

AYTON, Ohio -- U.S. Air Force 50th Anniversary Commemorative Quilt on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Note: This exhibit is located in Kettering Hall.

In January 1997, the 50th Anniversary Office received approval for the creation of a special anniversary commemorative quilt. Production of the project was funded through the Air Force Services sponsorship, and all 85 Air Force installations worldwide responded to participate in the project. Guidelines were established to ensure size, material and color were standard in each square. Dependents, volunteers and various individuals associated with the Air Force assisted in making the squares. Contests were held in some locations for the design and theme of the squares. A "Grand Quilting Bee" was held in San Antonio, Texas, on Nov. 22, 1997, where quilting students and volunteers could contribute the final touches of the quilt.

This distinctive quilt, "Fabric of the Air Force," was created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United States Air Force. It contains 100 hand-made squares from virtually every Air Force installation throughout the world. Each installation provided a 16-by-16-inch custom-made square reflecting its mission. The quilt center features a 36-inch Air Force seal and is surrounded by seals representing each major Air Force command. The four corners of the quilt are dedicated to installations that have closed in the continental United States, Asian Theater, European Theater and other worldwide installations. The top border is embroidered with the Air Force core values and flanked by the 50th anniversary logo of stars and wings. Measuring 20-by-20-feet, the quilt contains more than 180 yards of Air Force blue material. Thread used to join the squares together was flown aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis on its Sept. 22, 1997, mission.

Final assembly of parts and pieces took more than three months to complete. The hand-embroidered lettering took more than 500 hours. After its unveiling on Dec. 5, 1997, "Fabric of the Air Force" was placed on display at the Pentagon before its transfer to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

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