|Joseph Abner Griffin III|
|New York City|
|Adventurer,Social Media Mgr|
Born Joseph Abner Griffin the Third, young Joey had much more of a legacy to live up to than just his name. His father was a decorated commander in the United States Air Force, as was his grandfather. In fact, Joseph Griffin the First was the Superintendent of the Air Force Academy, having served in that capacity for many years. What Joey wasn't aware of, however, was another position that his grandfather had held - that of the original Airman, founder and member of the Protectors, America's first superhero group.
Growing up, Joey only knew of his family's military history. How could he not? His father was Captain Joe Griffin of the USAF, and his mother, 1st. Lieutenant Amanda Griffin of the USAF Nurse Corps. Joey and his older sister Amelia only knew of the military life, moving from one base to the next and scarcely staying at any one air base for more than a year or two. The practice of constantly becoming uprooted was the start of Joey's resentment of the military - just as he would start to make new friends or learn the lay of the land, they would move and he would have to start all over again. From an early age, Joey vowed that he wouldn't follow his father's footsteps. Still, Cpt. Griffin did his best to instill military values into his son, setting a regimented schedule and teaching Joey not only the basics of self defense but also doing his best to interest his son in following in the footsteps of both himself and his father. Joe was only partially successful - for while Joey stubbornly railed at any sort of discipline or strictness, he did become fascinated in the many and varied aircraft that his grandfather flew and was responsible for.
As he continued to grow older, Joey learned as much as he could about flight and avionics, though he was far more interested in actually flying the planes than he was in all of the requirements to actually become a pilot. He learned to adapt to the constant re-location, affecting a care-free attitude and eschewing the need to 'fit in' or make new friends at new schools or air bases. The attitude served to have the opposite effect of alienating from others and instead gave him an aura of 'cool' that actually endeared him to the 'in' crowds and popular kids, a status that Joey took advantage of, at least until his family moved again and the process started over. While his sister became withdrawn, Joey developed into an outgoing sort, not afraid to speak his mind and never worried about what others thought. He frequently stood up for those who he also felt were outsiders, even if it meant risking whatever social status that he might also have enjoyed. He knew that he'd be leaving that particular school within a year or two anyway, if not sooner. The knowledge gave him a certain liberation in how he acted and what he did.
Throughout his early years, Joey continued to have a love/hate relationship with both his father and the Air Force. He was fascinated with the aircraft and with the thought of flying, but he never understood the strict military code or the countless rules and regulations that were imposed upon his father - and *by* his father. Joey enjoyed doing what he wanted, when he wanted it, and while he wanted to fly fighter jets, he didn't want to have to join the military to do so. When he was fourteen, he decided that he would instead become a civilian pilot, and started to only give lip service to his father's insistence that he continue the family tradition of military service.
Joey's plans changed a year later, however, when he was just fifteen. At the time, his family was stationed at McGuire Air Force base in New Jersey - his father at this point was a Lt. Colonel and was responsible for many of the day-to-day operations at the base. Joey's sister Amelia had just turned 17, and while she was looking at attending the Air Force Academy to ultimately become a lawyer for the Air Force, Joey still had no desire to join the military. Just a kid in High School, Joey frequently skipped class and was doing just that one morning, having made the trip to New York with a couple of friends to spend the day in the Big Apple. On this day, however, Dr. Helix launched a genetic war against the citizens of America and New York City was at the center of his attack. With monstrous 'DNArmy' soldiers rampaging the streets and even unaffected people rioting, Joey and his friends were nearly killed by huge piece of building wreckage that was falling down towards them, saved only by the manifestation of Joey's powers that he never knew he'd had. As the brick and metal plummeted towards the group, a large blast of air knocked the debris aside, sending it hurtling harmlessly away from them and saving everyone's life.
Everyone present thought that a miracle had happened, but somehow Joey knew that he had been one to call the air forth to save them. He wasn't sure *how* he had controlled the wind in such a manner, but Joey nonetheless knew that he had to do it again, to use his newfound abilities to help others as best he could. Hiding in the chaos and the confusion, Joey did just that. He saved a number of lives that day, either by whisking the innocent to safety or by buffetting the mindless DNArmy soldiers away from the conflict, before he finally returned home to his worried parents. He didn't tell them about what he was able to do - how could he? He barely knew or understood, himself.
While he wished that he could return the following day to help with the clean-up and aftermath of Dr. Helix's defeat, Joey was unable to do so. His parents were so worried about him, they kept him at home for the following couple of days, and he was given time to think about what had happened and how it had felt to help those in need. He started to realize what his father had meant, when he had given all those talks about serving his country, and the importance of his family's military tradition. His world would be further altered when his father was visited by a mysterious old woman within just days of the attacks by Dr. Helix. Joey snuck down the hallway to eavesdrop on his father and the odd visitor, who first introduced herself as Shirley Stafford - Joey had heard the name before, she was the owner of Stafford Railways, the largest railroad corporation in America. But what she told Joey's father next, nearly caused Joey to reveal himself in shock.
She was actually Lady Locomotive, and she and other heroes who had teamed up against Dr. Helix and his genetically modified thugs were looking for someone that they thought had been there too. She thought that person was Joey's father - because Lady Locomotive had adventured alongside Joey's grandfather, the original Airman, and she thought that Captain Joe Griffin also had the same powers of wind manipulation and control. Joe denied any such ability, and told Lady Locomotive in no uncertain terms that neither he nor anyone from his family had inherited his father's powers, and that Joseph himself was still living in Colorado, acting as the Superintendent of the Academy there. Of course, LL had checked with Joseph first, but when the mystery helper wasn't him, she began looking to his son - who lived startlingly close by. But while Joe repeated to Lady Locomotive that no-one in the family possessed Airman's abilities, Joey knew that his father was wrong. Joey had them. That's how he was able to control the air! He was the grandson of the Airman!
The revelation was startling to him, and sent him reeling. He didn't come forward to either his father or Lady Locomotive, but the knowledge that he was the grandson of the Airman was something that Joey had a hard time reconciling. Rather than shying away from the legacy, however, Joey decided to embrace it - all of it. He began to focus on following in the family tradition of the military, realizing that he had both a patriotic as well as a family obligation to do so, and made his father proud as he announced his intentions to enter the Air Force Academy. He worked towards getting his civilian pilot's licences in preparation for becoming an Air Force pilot, and worked on getting his studies and grades up for Academy admission. Truthfully, it was fairly easy for Joey, as he was a bright kid. In secret, however, Joey also started to learn how to use his abilities to control wind and air, and even fabricated a makeshift costume and attempted to adventure as the masked hero 'Kid Vortex'. He was not a terribly great hero, but with the debut of Beacon and the new crop of superheroes that were starting to make names for themselves, Kid Vortex was not out of place along the other masks and capes of the Eastern seaboard.
So life continued until Joey graduated high school, after which he was admitted to the Air Force Academy. While he thought that he now wanted to follow the family tradition of military service, and to fly fighter jets in the Air Force, there was still a part of Joey that rebelled against the strict military code and structure. He was afforded a certain amount of lattitude given his family's history and the fact that his grandfather had been superindentent of the Academy for so many years (when the wing of the dorm you're living is named after your grand-dad, you catch a few breaks). But as Joey's time at the Academy progressed, his independent nature began to win out over the sense of responsibility that he felt. It's not that he didn't want to serve his country, or to help others, or even to honor his family's tradition - but Joey came to realize that the regimented life of the military just wasn't the way that he could do that. He had a knee-jerk reaction to the military way of doing things, and it wasn't long before the special treatment that he had been given turned into an expectation of living up to his family's reputation and legacy, with little room for deviation.
Everything came to a head at the end of his third year at the Academy. Joey had been in and out of trouble, saved only by his family's reputation. His scores and marks were all excellent, but his behavior and insubordination were to the point that he was in danger of being expelled. Worse, he routinely broke curfews in an attempt to continue his heroic attempts as 'Vortex', and on one such excursion he was actually caught. His identity was compromised and it seemed that everything was over for him.
There he was, in the superindendent's office, sure that he would be dishonorably discharged and that even his heroic adventures as Vortex were forfeit to him now. He was only partially right. To his surprise, he was met there not by the current superindendent, but by his grandfather, along with Shirley Stafford - AKA Lady Locomotive. The three of them talked at length about Joey, his powers, and how best they could be used - not just for Joey's sake, or to honor his family, but for the country as well. Lady Locomotive had been a founding member of the Protectors, and of Beacon, but now that Beacon was becoming more international, she wanted to help form a new team one more time, one that was based in New York City and put America first. That team would be called Sentry, and she wanted Joey as a member - but she didn't want him as Vortex. She wanted him to be the Airman. With his grandfather's blessing, how could Joey refuse? So, at the age of 21, Airman II was born and Joey became a founding member of Sentry. He was honorably discharged from the Air Force Academy, and moved to New York to begin the next chapter of his life.
As a member of Sentry, Joey started to really come into his own as a hero. He, along with the other Sentinels, quickly began to make names for themselves within New York and across the country at large, fighting such notable supervillains as The Supplier, Pandora, Midas and the Insurgents. The team grew, and so did Joey, both personally and heroically. He met and fell hard for a young woman in his apartment complex, Taylor McTavish, and when she transferred to the University of Chicago, Joey decided to move to Chicago with her. He left Sentry, and moved in with Taylor, also enrolling in the University to complete his undergraduate degree that he had left unfinished from the Academy. For a little more than a year, things were fairly well happy - Joey continued to adventure in the Chicago area as Airman, becoming one of the premier heroes for the town, all the while growing closer to Taylor. He kept his identity a secret from her, though, a decision that he would come to regret.
After his graduation and earning his degree in political science, Joey started to adventure longer hours as Airman, juggling his heroic career with his secret identity and post-collegiate job hunt. Things came to a head in a protracted battle with the villainous Maelstrom, who had learned of Joey's secret identity and had captured Taylor, using her as leverage against the hero. Joey was able to save Taylor with the help of another of Chicago's heroes, Punch Lion, though Taylor never forgave Joey for the event and the two broke up.
Joey stayed in Chicago for a while afterward, even teaming up with Punch Lion and a few other heroes to form Chicago's first super-team, Safeguard. He and the other members of Safeguard fought villains such as Zebra, Fog of War, Nuclear Winter and again went head-to-head against Maelstrom, who would become one of his most notorious arch-enemies. In once such confrontation, Joey was nearly killed, though ultimately came through the harrowing event even more powerful than before. Instead of just being able to control air, Joey was able to transform himself into living air - becoming a true Airman, in all senses of the word.
Ultimately, however, there were too many bad memories in Chicago for Joey to stay there long, and he left the city in the good hands of Punch Lion and the other Safeguardians, returning back to New York City. At first, he did not approach Sentry for membership again, as he was content to operate as a solo hero while settling back in to a normal life in the Big Apple. He kept his secret identity, establishing a job as a freelance social media and political consultant, and Airman began to hit the streets and skies of New York once more. Recently, however, things have begun to change, and with the arrival of the Anomaly Incursions, Joey has come to realize that the world now needs to look up to their heroes more than ever before. At the age of 28 and with a wealth of heroic experience behind him, he's returned to the team that he started it all with, Sentry.
At his heart, Joey Griffin is a good man, someone who believes in the greater good and doing his part to help maintain that greater good. He is often selfless in giving his time and effort to aid others, realizing the importance in using his abilities to combat evil and to help those who are otherwise not able to help himself. Accordingly, he doesn't just fight crime as Airman - he makes a point of visiting children's hospitals and making other similar public appearances, using his powers to help with disaster relief (putting out fires or cleaning up debris, for example) and other such endeavors.
As important as he knows this is, it also must be said that he does enjoy the celebrity and stature that comes with it. Since Brass Ring has left active membership of Sentry, Joey has become the de facto spokesperson for the team, a role to which he has taken well. He enjoys interacting with the public and one day feels he may even go into public service, as his grandfather's former team-mate Paul Roth has done. It's actually due to Roth's accomplishments with the Senate that Joey was inspired to study political science in college, knowing that the field would give him the opportunity to combine that public persona with the ongoing ability to do good for society.
While he grew up in a military family, and perhaps some of his call to service can be attributed to that legacy, one thing that Joey did not inherit was a sense of regimented order. When he was at the Air Force Academy, he railed against the many rules and regulations that were imposed upon the students and found a hard time confining himself to the narrow boxes that students were put in. Part of that difficulty was due to Joey's free-spirited nature, but an equal part was due to a rebellious streak that is part of Joey's nature. While he's been better about managing this tendency as he gets older, there is still a part of Joey that dislikes those who are overly authoritative and he sometimes has a problem blindly following orders without knowing the why or wherefore behind what he's doing. When adventuring with Sentry he realizes that in the middle of combat it's important to work as a cohesive unit and in those instances he's good about following the team leader - but in less urgent circumstances he sometimes can't help but ask for more information or understanding when issued orders or perhaps even just doing something his own way if he feels it may be better.
One of Joey's greatest enjoyments is that of flying - whether under his own power or behind the stick of an aircraft, any aircraft - the gift of flight is one that both thrills and pacifies him, giving him a sense of completeness that he finds hard to describe. Had he the temperament for it, he would have stayed with the Air Force and been a pilot there. Had he the time and were not a superhero, he'd likely be a charter pilot for hire. As it stands, he often uses his own powers to take long flights to clear his head or even just when he's bored, and when Sentry travels via one of their custom jets, is always the one that volunteers to be the pilot. He remains up on all of the latest avionic developments and also enjoys crafting model airplanes as side hobby.
Airman has the psionic ability to manipulate and control matter in a gaseous state, and can direct the movement, size and shape of those gasses at will. In this manner, he can control ambient air, or can also manipulate concentrated gasses such as noxious fumes or natural gas, causing the air or gas to move independently of any other outside forces. This ability extends for ranges up to five city blocks from his person, though he is only able to manipulate a total volume of gas up to about the size of a single city block. If he is manipulating separate quantities of gas or air, he is generally not able to control more than four separate quantities of gas at once, again up to combined size of a single city block. With Airman's ability to control air and gas, he is able to perform the following power stunts:
Airman is able to control ambient air to create wind bursts and wind patterns ranging in size from pin-point air blasts to tornado-sized whirlwinds, at forces as delicate as a summer breeze or a gentle flutter, up to hurricane force winds at speeds of 350 miles per hour. While Airman does not specifically control the weather in this way, and cannot duplicate any related weather effects such as actual temperature change, precipitation or lightning, he can replicate the effects of wind-based weather patterns alone. Such effects include, but are not limited to 'wind chill', wind shears, downbursts and tornadoes.
Through the use of strong air currents and wind bursts, Airman is able to achieve a limited form of telekinesis, using wind to pick up or throw objects, or to impact against objects with devastating physical force. As with the hurricane-level winds that he can control, Airman is able to generate wind blasts of such power that he can level multi-story buildings, punch through high-tensile reinforced metals and pulverize hardened rock and stone. He is also able to lift enormous weights, including (but not limited to) such amounts as overloaded cargo airplanes or oil tankers.
By controlling the air, Airman can achieve flight for himself and others with him, buoying up the individuals with sustained, directional wind gusts that can travel at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour, depending upon the durability of the individual(s) that he is transporting. Airman's control over the air is sufficient enough to create a 'cushion' of air at the forefront of such a wind gust, to assist with breathability and resistance against wind friction. As transporting individuals in this manner requires a certain amount of finesse, he is typically not able to transport more than a half-dozen people in this manner for distances or durations of any length, regardless of their weight or size. Note: Because of the nature in which this flight is achieved (propelled by forceful winds), travel in this manner is somewhat physically demanding, and is typically not appropriate for frail or weak individuals for any duration, even at slower speeds. In order to transport such an individual without danger, Airman would need to devote the majority of his concentration to the task. Not only would such travel be slow and limited to just that individual, Airman would also not be able to exercise any additional air control during that time.
Airman is also able to control the flow and shape of independent gasses, fumes, vapors or clouds within his range. He is easily able to control concentrated gasses that are introduced into the environment, preventing those gasses from dispersing and even directing the movement and direction of those gasses or can also keep them contained to a specific shape or location. With concentration, Airman is also able to separate individual gasses that have already combined and mixed with each other, such as identifying and separating the specific gasses that comprise ambient air and pulling them into independent pockets of nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide, or isolating a specific fume or gas that may be present in the air and removing it to a separate cloud or location. It is important to note that Airman is not able to change the molecular structure of any existing gasses, however, and when controlling individual gasses that are already present he can not actually create or destroy those gasses, and can only separate or combine them. Once the gasses are no longer under Airman's control, they will begin behaving according to their natural properties. Separating gasses that have previously combined or mixed together is difficult for Airman, however, and in addition to requiring the bulk of his concentration, such a feat cannot typically be performed on volumes of gas larger than half a football field.
In addition to his ability to control gasses, Airman is also able to transform his body into 'living air', a sentient gaseous state that affords him a number of additional abilities. Airman is able to perform this transformation on all or part of his body at will, and the transformation is typically instantaneous and does not require any concentration other than the initial decision to make the change. This 'living air' is a unique gas that shares many similar properties with ambient air, however cannot be separated into individual components and is highly resistant to dispersion.
While transformed into living air, Airman is able to control his movement in the same manner that he can manipulate standard gasses. Doing so, he can fly at speeds up to 350 miles per hour, either over long distances or over short spaces. He is also able to exercise such speed of movement with individual limbs, allowing him to throw punches with similar impacting force behind them, or employ localized force of movement to simulate enhanced strength. In this manner, he is able to perform feats of strength consistent with his general air manipulation, and can lift comparable weight amounts.
When in his 'living air' form, Airman is able to avoid direct physical contact with other objects, allowing them to pass directly through him. While he is not able to become truly intangible, and is unable to pass through non-porous materials or airtight seals, he can otherwise make himself functionally 'untouchable', existing in an ephemeral state that cannot be acted upon by physical force. The special properties of his gaseous state also render him unable to be burned, frozen, or otherwise altered or affected by most temperature extremes and energy types. He is able to pass through the smallest of cracks or holes with no difficulty, and is functionally as difficult to grab, hold, or interact with as air itself.
Airman is able, while in his gaseous 'living air' form, to consciously change his opacity. While he will typically appear as a pale, translucent white in color, Airman can change his appearance to become either completely opaque (usually white or light grey) to completely invisible. It is important to note that he cannot change his actual color in this way, and can only alter his opacity between invisible, translucent, and solid white/grey.
While 'living air', however, Airman is vulnerable to high voltage electricity, and can be stunned or shocked when exposed to quantities of electricity on the order of naturally occurring lightning bolts. If struck with lightning or electricity in this manner, Airman will revert to his corporeal form and, depending upon the voltage of the electricity, may either be stunned or possibly unable to return to his living air form for a short time.
As part of his secret identity, Joey holds down a job as a freelance social media and political consultant. This does not pay him much money (in fact, it is far less than what he receives from Sentry's stipend), however it does afford him credentials which can grant him access to certain conventions, and also gives him access to other insider information within the political and public relations industry.
Joey has also been trained in the use of modern firearms, and is a fair shot with a pistol or rifle. He's familiar with the construction and operation of most standard firearms, and can disassemble, clean and reassemble most guns and rifles with minimal difficulty. He doesn't normally use guns, but he is no stranger to them.
Joey currently has a year lease on an apartment in downtown Manhattan, owns his own motorcycle, and is fully licensed as an independent social media and political public relations consultant. He also has an impressive collection of model fighter planes.
Joey has received a well-rounded liberal arts education, initiated at the Air Force Academy and completed at the University of Chicago, which includes basic mathematical theory, US and world history, literature, economics, computers, a general understanding of the physical sciences and a firm grasp of English and grammar.
Joey is not first Airman, and really, he's not too proud to cash in on his grandfather's name from time to time. Still, over the last ten years he's established his own heroic reputation and has built his own contacts within that sphere, from the members of Safeguard in Chicago, to various solo heroes in and around New York and Atlantic City, to members of Beacon. Even were he not a member of Sentry, Airman would be recognized as one of the premier heroes of the age.
Joey played in various pee wee leagues as a child, was a member of his high school varsity hockey team, and was of sufficient athletic skill and prowess that he was a member of the Air Force Falcons collegiate hockey team during his time at the Academy, playing defense. Though he has not played regularly since becoming Airman, he still is an athlete of moderate skill and enjoys the opportunity to participate in a pick-up game when able to.
Though he was discharged (honorably) from the Air Force Academy before he graduated, Joey's family name still holds much cloud within certain military circles. His father is currently one of the highest-ranking officers of Edwards Air Force base in California, and his grandfather, while retired, was one of the longest-tenured superintendents of the Air Force Academy in Colorado and is still revered for his integrity, honesty and high standards while running that school. Though he has not directly followed in those footsteps, there are still some strings that Joey can pull using his family name if he absolutely needed to.
Joey has received formal military combat training in personal hand-to-hand combat, and has also received basic instruction from one of the world's most proficient martial artists, the Brass Ring. While he typically relies on his metahuman powers in physical combat, Joey is an above average hand-to-hand combatant, and can hold his own against other trained fighters even without the use of his powers. However, he's no match for someone with extensive training, ability or experience.
Joey had a pilot's license before he had a driver's license, and even though he is now able to achieve independent flight as Airman, he still enjoys the thrill of actually flying a plane and has continued to develop this skill. He is familiar with flying all manner aircraft from small personal planes, to military fighter jets, to the special Sentry aircraft that have been designed by Lady Locomotive herself, and is of such a skill level that is able to perform complicated and dangerous aerial maneuvers with minimal difficulty. He is also able to fly helicopters and VTOL aircraft.
Joey has a degree in political science from the University of Chicago, and is familar with government operations and structure, public relations, the intricacies of public policy and how it's managed, and other related topics. He's developed strong writing and research skills and is an accomplished public speaker as well. While attending the University and after graduation, Joey has worked as a political consultant and social media consultant, and has been approached to work on political campaign staffs.
As a member of Sentry, Airman has access to the Sentry's base of operations (affectionately known as 'the Spire'), which includes a standard apartment, a monthly stipend, communications links, both basic and advanced weaponry, state-of-the-art computers and scientific lab equipment, airplanes and bullet cars. In addition, membership in Sentry affords Airman a certain level of celebrity and status amongst other heroes and 'civilians' alike.
Having been a member of two separate superheroic groups and also learning the fundamentals of teamwork and co-operative action from both hockey and his Air Force military training, Joey is well versed and experienced in functioning in a team environment. While he is not necessarily capable of directing that team, he is more than comfortable in fitting in to the larger unit, knowing what his role is and how that role compliments the rest of the group. Despite his sometimes independent nature, Joey is a consummate team player, knowing when such independent action can best serve the team or when to stay such independence instead.
While high-voltage electricity is normally something that most people are susceptible to, when Airman is in his 'living air' form, he is especially vulnerable to sources of high voltage, such as lightning bolts or similar sources of electricity. It was due to multiple lightning strikes at the hands of his nemesis Maelstrom that Airman was once nearly killed - almost vaporized, actually - and while that attack ultimately gave him the ability to transform himself into living air high-voltage electricity still remains a weakness to him. When in his 'living air' form, high-voltage electricity such as lightning bolts or other electrical attacks can cause him to rever to his human form, even stunning him and rendering him unable to turn back into living air for a short period, depending on the severity of the attack.
Adventuring as a superhero for almost a decade has garnered Airman more than a few enemies who have developed personal vendettas against him, far stronger and more dangerous than simple hero/villain conflicts. Chief amongst these is the supervillain known as 'Maelstrom' who, like Joey, is not the first individual to bear his super-powered moniker. Maelstrom has vowed to humiliate, defeat and ultimately destroy Airman and has come close on numerous occasions, most notably when he nearly vaporized Joey in Chicago, incapacitating him for weeks. Maelstrom actually knows Airman's secret identity and has used that knowledge to get at Joey before and may be likely to do so again, should he ever escape from his current incarceration in 'the Hole'.
In addition to Maelstrom, Airman has developed an additional nemesis in the Fog of War, who was transformed into a sentient cloud of hate and violence during the same attack that nearly killed Joey. Since that time, FoW has vowed to gain vengeance against both Airman and Maelstrom, though it seems as if most of his attention has been focused on Airman, especially since Maelstrom has been captured and jailed.
Though Joey is not a stereotypical 'airhead', he is often impulsive in his actions and doesn't always take time to fully think a situation through before he embarks on a course of action. This is true in both his personal life (picking up and moving across the country on a whim to attend college with his then-girlfriend from his apartment complex) to his heroic life - from adventuring as Kid Vortex with no trainig or backup, to daily interactions with super villains and often just barelling into combat without identifying a plan or strategy beforehand. It's not that he's necessarily reckless - just that if he sees what he thinks is a good idea or something that makes sense, he'll often act on it immediately without fully vetting it. Sometimes, that works out for him. Other times... not so much.
Airman is a heroic identities that has been around since the debut of the Protectors back in the 1960's - and while there hasn't been an Airman continuously active since then, the name is recognized as one of the first public heroes of the age. The current iteration of Airman is also recognized as a founding member of both Sentry in New York and Safeguard in Chicago, and has achieved a near celebrity status across the United States and even in other parts of the world. While there are some benefits to this, there are also some definite drawbacks - from being accosted by fans or reporters when in his Airman persona, to being a target for new or old villains who are looking to make their mark. He's also a known quantity for most super-villains, with his powers and personality well documented and exhibited.
While he's certainly not batted the proverbial one thousand rate when fighting crime, Airman has been victorious enough and has been successful enough over the last ten years or more that he sometimes takes things for granted when it comes to being a superhero, overly confident in his abilities to defeat the bad guys, save the bystanders and do it all with a wave and a smile to the news media. This, of course, can sometimes get him into trouble if he does not take appropriate caution when facing risks and has on occasion gotten him into bigger messes than was necessary, making him work doubly hard to avoid defeat or failure, or relying on team-mates to pull his proverbial fat out of the fire. Still - when you can avoid physical harm by turning into air and are still one of the strongest beings on the planet, it's hard to be humble about what you can do.
Currently, Airman maintains a secret identity, as the general public is not aware that Joey Griffin and Airman are one and the same. He is viligant in keeping this identity secret as should it become known, not only Joey's life would be upended and put at risk, but the rest of his family's would as well - especially that of his grandfather, the original Airman. Already, Joey's former girlfriend was kidnapped to get at Joey when he was in college. Maintaining the secret identity is not just important to protect himself and others, but it also makes his personal life difficult as he often needs to make excuses or flake out on scheduled meetings, appointments or dates with little notice or good reason.
As powerful as Airman's abilities are, he is rendered almost helpless in a total vaccuum, such as outer space or within a manufactured environment from which the air has been similarly removed. If he is in his 'living air' form when introduced to the vaccuum or low/no-pressure environment, it takes all of his concentration and willpower to resist being immediately dispersed. Low-pressure environments - such as extremely high altitudes - also make it difficult for Airman to exercise full control over his powers, as the thin air is not as easy to manipulate with any degree of speed or force. Think of the difference between a wiffle-ball and hollow plastic bat, versus a baseball and Louisville slugger.