The 30 essays that are shared in "They Served Here: Thirty-Three Maxwell Men" first appeared in the Montgomery Advertiser during September 1997. They contributed to the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the United States Air Force. Montgomery, Alabama, has been associated with the airplane almost since its conception. For two months in the spring of 1910, Orville and Wilbur Wright operated the world's first civilian flying school on the Kohn cotton plantation, the site that is today's Maxwell Air Force Base. Military aviation began in 1917 with the establishment of primary flying training at Taylor Field in the Pike Road community just east of Montgomery. Early the next year, the Army reopened the old "Wright Field" as an aircraft engine and repair depot. In 1929, because of the efforts of Mayor William Gunter, Montgomery was one of the first cities in the country to have a planned municipal airport-commercial passenger service began three years later. Today the site of the old municipal airport is Maxwell's Gunter Annex. During the late 1920s and 1930s, Maxwell Field became a permanent facility with major construction of military facilities and housing units. From 1931 when it relocated from Langley Field, Virginia, until it was closed in 1942, the Air Corps Tactical School (ACTS) developed airpower doctrine and educated many, if not most of the airmen who lead the Army Air Forces during World War II. Air University was established in 1946, fulfilling the vision of its first commandant, Gen Muir S. Fairchild. Air University has become the heart and the mind of the Air Force Thousands have served at Maxwell since World War I-men and women, service members and civilians, Americans and foreigners, aviation cadets and flying instructors, students and faculty, and support personnel and flyers. The 33 airmen featured here are not representative of all who have served at Maxwell. Rather, they are a few of those who have achieved a place in aviation or military history. In her wisdom, Maya Lin, the designer of the Vietnam Wall in Washington and the Civil Rights Monument in Montgomery, has recognized that those who make history are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. So it is with those who have served at Maxwell. While we cannot recognize them in person, their contributions to the country are immeasurable, and so too are their contributions to Montgomery's religious, cultural, charitable, educational, fraternal, and social institutions. Selecting 33 of those who spent a part of their careers here in no way diminishes the contributions of the other thousands who passed through the base. One group, however, must be singled out: the families who also served. Without their unsung support, the work-and the lives-of those who served in official capacities would have been for naught.