Salutes & Awards

April 4, 2014

Day taken to commemorate Tuskegee Airmen

Tags:
Senior Airman GRACE LEE
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

David Toliver, Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. president, speaks March 27 at the inaugural Tuskegee Airmen Commemoration Day ceremony at the Luke Air Force Base Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Air Park. The ceremony was the first of its kind after Gov. Janice Brewer signed legislation designating the fourth Thursday of March as a day to celebrate the men and women who shaped the first black military wing in the Army Air Corps. Toliver, along with four Tuskegee Airmen, their friends and family, Luke Thunderbolts and members of the local community attended the event.

They served in the U.S. military during a time when they were discriminated against and separated because of the color of their skin, but adversity didn’t stop them from showing the world that one’s race doesn’t determine what one is capable of achieving.

Known as the Tuskegee Airmen, these African-Americans served as pilots, aircraft mechanics, crew chiefs and more during World War II.

Luke Thunderbolts, members of the local community, and four Tuskegee Airmen and their families came together to take part in the inaugural Tuskegee Airmen Commemoration Day ceremony March 27 at the Luke Air Force Base Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Air Park.

“We welcome you to the very first Tuskegee Airmen Commemoration Day ceremony,” said David Toliver, Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter Tuskegee Airmen Inc. president. “We are delighted that you chose to come out to be with us to share this very important moment.”

The ceremony took place in front of the F-16 static display near the 944th Fighter Wing headquarters building because of what it represented – the bond the 944th FW has with the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. Although the Tuskegee Airmen were never stationed at Luke, Luke did acquire the 301st and 302nd fighter squadrons which were two of the original Tuskegee Airmen squadrons after WWII.

“The F-16 has a red tail in memory of the 332nd Fighter Group, which was known as the Red Tail Angels by the bomber groups that they escorted,” said Ben Bruce, 56th Fighter Wing ground safety manager, Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter historian and guest speaker. “The nose of the F-16 is painted with the words ‘by request to’ taken from the nose art of Col. Benjamin Davis whose P-51 read ‘by request.’”

After Bruce spoke, each of the four Tuskegee Airmen was introduced. Their names are Lt. Col. Robert Ashby, Sgt. Howard Williams, Sgt. Rudolph Silas and Sgt. Ralph Stewart.

Near the end of the ceremony, Ashby and Silas laid a wreath at the base of the F-16 static display in memory of their deceased comrades.

Afterward, Col. Kurt Gallegos, 944th FW commander, and Col. Jeremy Sloane, 56th FW vice commander, made closing remarks.

“Today signifies the celebration of the day the Tuskegee program began in March of 1941,” Gallegos said. “Even though we no longer have the 302nd or the 301st, this air park behind me serves as a constant reminder of the accomplishments, contributions and the sacrifices the Airmen made in the defense of our country. I can assure you our future aviators and maintainers will always remember the Red Tails.”

While many may think of pilots when the words “Tuskegee Airmen” are mentioned, they were actually a group of men and women whose jobs varied, one of which was Stewart’s, who served as a crew chief and a flight chief from 1943 to 1946.

“My fondest memory was being able to serve with some of the best people I’ve ever met,” Stewart said. “I feel honored to be one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, and if I had the opportunity to serve again, I would. It’s important to have a day of commemoration so people can be educated and appreciate the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

THUNDERBOLT OF THE WEEK

Senior Airman Brian Comia 56th Force Support Squadron Services journeyman Hometown: San Lorenzo, California Years in service: Three Family: Wife, Phoebe; daughters, Sophia and Isabella Inspirations: My family Goals: My short-term goal is to make staff sergeant next year Greatest feat: Becoming a U.S. citizen and having the pleasure and honor of serving this country...
 
 

AFRC announces O-5 selects

The following majors were selected for promotion to lieutenant colonel: 924th Fighter Group Brandon Kelly 47th Fighter Squadron John Lesho, Brian Miller and Bryan Wieland 69th FS Jeremy Cukierman, Sean Holahan, Bryan McCarty, Matthew Morrison, Ryan Savageau, Trena Savageau, Ronald Sloma and Paul Wells 307th FS Alfredo Ramirez 944th Medical Squadron Maniphet Kannalikham, Sanjay Kulkarni...
 
 

First pipeline F-35 crew chiefs graduate

Nine Airmen became the first Air Force recruits to graduate initial skills technical training as F-35 Lightning II crew chiefs after completing Mission-Ready Airmen training Aug. 7. “The opportunity to be the first of something so important means a lot. I know many people are looking at us to be the best – it’s a...
 

 

Thunderbolt of the Week

Staff Sgt. Trevor Berghage 56th Medical Support Squadron Medical Information Systems Supervisor Hometown: State College, Pennsylvania Years in service: Six Family: Mom, Barbara; dad, Robert; sister, Jessica; brothers, Tory and Alex; wife, Kat; and daughters, Tam and Shannon Inspirations: My father for showing me the satisfaction of a job well done, my mother for showing...
 
 

Thunderbolt of the Week

Senior Airman Deandre Holmes 607th Air Control Squadron Ground radar systems journeyman Hometown: Sacramento, California Years in service: Four Family: Wife, Lauren Holmes Education: Pursuing a Community College of the Air Force degree in electronic systems technology Previous assignments: Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma Inspirations: Master Sgt. Francis Willis IV, Allen Kay and father, Brian...
 
 
Airman 1st Class Pedro Mota

Luke civilian earns Air Force Marquez Award

Airman 1st Class Pedro Mota Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, presents David Moore, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Aircraft Armament Systems technician, with the 2013 Air Force Lieutenant General Leo Mar...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin