U-2 Dragon Lady takes center stage during Air Force celebrations

A U-2 Dragon Lady from Beale Air Force Base, California, prepares to land at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Sep. 17, 2015. The aircraft was on display during an air show Sep. 19, 2015. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the U-2, one of the oldest operational aircraft in the Department of Defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings)

A U-2 Dragon Lady from Beale Air Force Base, California, prepares to land at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Sep. 17, 2015. The aircraft was on display during an air show Sep. 19, 2015. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the U-2, one of the oldest operational aircraft in the Department of Defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings/Released)

A U-2 Dragon Lady from Beale Air Force Base, California, prepares to land at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Sep. 19, 2015. The aircraft was landing in front of thousands of spectators during an air show at Joint Base Andrews. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the U-2, one of the oldest operational aircraft in the Department of Defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings)

A U-2 Dragon Lady from Beale Air Force Base, California, prepares to land at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Sep. 19, 2015. The aircraft was landing in front of thousands of spectators during an air show at Joint Base Andrews. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the U-2, one of the oldest operational aircraft in the Department of Defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings/Released)

Airmen from the 9th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Beale Air Force Base, California, install pogos underneath the wings of a U-2 Dragon Lady during an air show at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Sep. 19, 2015. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the U-2, one of the oldest operational aircraft in the Department of Defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings)

Airmen from the 9th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Beale Air Force Base, California, install pogos underneath the wings of a U-2 Dragon Lady during an air show at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Sep. 19, 2015. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the U-2, one of the oldest operational aircraft in the Department of Defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings/Released)

Airmen from the 9th Physiological Support Squadron, escort Capt. Travis, 99th Reconnaissance Squadron U-2 pilot, to his U-2 Dragon Lady aircraft Sep. 19, 2015, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. The full-pressure serves as a precautionary measure if the cockpit of a U-2 Dragon Lady were to decompress at high altitudes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings)

Airmen from the 9th Physiological Support Squadron, escort Capt. Travis, 99th Reconnaissance Squadron U-2 pilot, to his U-2 "Dragon Lady" aircraft Sep. 19, 2015, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. The full-pressure serves as a precautionary measure if the cockpit of a U-2 "Dragon Lady" were to decompress at high altitudes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings/Released)

Staff Sgt. Timothy Dayrit (center), and Staff Sgt. Joseph Kennedy (left), 9th Physiological Support Squadron full-pressure suit technicians perform pre-flight full-pressure suit maintenance for Capt. Travis, 99th Reconnaissance Squadron U-2 pilot, Sep. 19, 2015, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. The full-pressure is worn by U-2 Dragon Lady pilots who frequently fly at the edge of space. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings)

Staff Sgt. Timothy Dayrit (center), and Staff Sgt. Joseph Kennedy (left), 9th Physiological Support Squadron full-pressure suit technicians perform pre-flight full-pressure suit maintenance for Capt. Travis, 99th Reconnaissance Squadron U-2 pilot, Sep. 19, 2015, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. The full-pressure is worn by U-2 Dragon Lady pilots who frequently fly at the edge of space. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings/Released)

A mobile chase car waits for the take-off a U-2 Dragon Lady during the early morning of Sep. 19, 2015, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Mobile chase cars accelerate to speeds more than 100 mph to guide U-2 aircraft during takeoffs and landings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings)

A mobile chase car waits for the take-off a U-2 "Dragon Lady" during the early morning of Sep. 19, 2015, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Mobile chase cars accelerate to speeds more than 100 mph to guide U-2 aircraft during takeoffs and landings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings/Released)

A crowd of spectators gather around a U-2 Dragon Lady during an air show at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Sep. 19, 2015. The U-2 flew from Beale Air Force Base, California, to attend the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings)

A crowd of spectators gather around a U-2 "Dragon Lady" during an air show at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Sep. 19, 2015. The U-2 flew from Beale Air Force Base, California, to attend the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings/Released)

Master Sgt. Vanessa Hernandez-Price, a full-pressure suit technician with the 9th Physiological Support Squadron, Beale Air Force Base, California, demonstrates the suits capabilities to a young spectator during an air show at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Sep. 19, 2015. The full-pressure is worn by U-2 Dragon Lady pilots who frequently fly at the edge of space. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings)

Master Sgt. Vanessa Hernandez-Price, a full-pressure suit technician with the 9th Physiological Support Squadron, Beale Air Force Base, California, demonstrates the suits capabilities to a young spectator during an air show at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Sep. 19, 2015. The full-pressure is worn by U-2 Dragon Lady pilots who frequently fly at the edge of space. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings/Released)

A U-2 Dragon Lady from Beale Air Force Base, California, prepares to land at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Sep. 17, 2015. The aircraft was on display during an air show Sep. 19, 2015. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the U-2, one of the oldest operational aircraft in the Department of Defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings)

A U-2 Dragon Lady from Beale Air Force Base, California, prepares to land at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Sep. 17, 2015. The aircraft was on display during an air show Sep. 19, 2015. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the U-2, one of the oldest operational aircraft in the Department of Defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings/Released)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, and his wife Betty, pose for a photo in front of a U-2 Dragon Lady with Airmen from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale Air Force Base, California, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Sep. 19, 2015. Welsh individually thanked each Airmen in the photo, who are supporting the U-2 Dragon Lady during an air show at Joint Base Andrews. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings)
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Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, and his wife Betty, pose for a photo in front of a U-2 Dragon Lady with Airmen from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale Air Force Base, California, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Sep. 19, 2015. Welsh individually thanked each Airmen in the photo, who are supporting the U-2 Dragon Lady during an air show at Joint Base Andrews. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings/Released)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Maryland -- For 60 years the U-2 "Dragon Lady" has been providing high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for national decision-makers enabling them to make educated decisions regarding the security and safety of the United States. Throughout 2015, the U.S. Air Force has been celebrating the aircrafts 60th anniversary.

On Sep. 19, 2015, the U-2 was celebrated during two major U.S. Air Force events. In the early morning hours on Sep. 19th, a U-2 "Dragon Lady" piloted by Capt. Travis, a U-2 pilot with the 99th Reconnaissance Squadron, Beale Air Force Base, California, took flight from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

Travis flew the aircraft west, where he would perform a flyover at the start of the 19th annual U.S. Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, the birthplace of aviation. Thousands of spectators witnessed the flyover.

"As I began flying over the marathon I could see a vast crowd, the start line and all of the flashes from the cameras on the ground," Travis said. "The flyover had a specific timeframe. I had to time the aircraft being overhead of the starting line to the second. Due to precise coordination and teamwork we accomplished our goal."

After completing the flyover, Travis turned the U-2 east for his return flight to Joint Base Andrews where another U.S. Air Force event was occurring. JBA was hosting an air show with thousands of attendees, including U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III.

"I've never had the opportunity to fly by a significant amount of people or land in front of thousands of spectators. It was truly a unique experience," Travis said. "This was my first time executing a fly by during an air show. I'm happy we were able to do this and create more exposure for the U-2 and our mission."

Although the pilot plays a vital role during any flight, there are many individuals behind the scenes who make every flight possible. Nearly 30 personnel from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale Air Force Base, also attended the air show including Airmen from the 9th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and Airmen from the 9th Physiological Support Squadron.

"The whole team here has functioned seamlessly through every phase of our trip," said Lt. Col. Andrew McVicker, 9th Operations Group deputy commander, Beale Air Force Base. "A temporary deployment is similar to an expeditionary operation because we're operating outside of our normal framework, but we train and prepare for a reason. I'm reluctant to say anything ever goes flawlessly but this has truly been a perfect evolution, all because we've been working together."

The U-2 "Dragon Lady" has been soaring at the edge of space since 1955. During that time, Frank Sinatra was topping the music industry charts, and Mickey Mantle was in the early stages of his career playing outfield for the New York Yankees. The aircraft was developed by the Skunk Works program for Lockheed Martin led by aircraft designer Kelly Johnson.

"The legacy of the U-2 is immense. What is more impressive is how relevant its legacy remains today," McVicker said. "There are principles in the aircraft's design that are enduring. Kelly Johnson did a spectacular job designing the U-2. Through all these generations of conflict and people who operate and support the aircraft we've adapted the aircraft to the demands of modern day. That's a story of generations of teamwork."

The culmination of teamwork throughout the generations was on display throughout the weekend for thousands of people to witness.

"The most rewarding part of this trip for me is the opportunity to connect with the community," McVicker said. "In many cases the U-2 mission is not fully understood, and this has been a tremendous opportunity to interact with people and share our story."