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.


 
 

 

A1C takes pleasure in honoring warriors

Being in the Luke Air Force Base Honor Guard takes a lot of dedication and motivation. Working countless hours and memorizing numerous movements for different ceremonies is a lot for anyone to handle. There are also many emotions that come with honoring those who have lost their lives in the service, but Airman 1st Class...
 
 
Photos by Staff Sgt. Staci Miller

Top Hats graduate 15 into combat air force

Photos by Staff Sgt. Staci Miller The 310th Fighter Squadron graduated 15 F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots in Class 14-CBG. They are, from left, 1st Lt. Daniel Brom, Capt. Ben Saunders, 1st Lts. Michael Sturgis, Mike Dreher, Luis Mo...
 
 
141119-F-HT977-165

Chiefs announced

Senior master sergeants selected for promotion to chief master sergeant at Luke Air Force Base posed in front of the static F-16 Fighting Falcon in front of the wing headquarters building. They are, from left, Kelbey Norton, 56...
 

 

Enlisted promotion system changes continue

WASHINGTON — This January, changes to the Weighted Airman Promotion System will continue with adjustments to the scoring model for promotions to technical sergeant and below, all designed to help ensure job performance is the most important factor when evaluating and identifying Airmen for promotion. The current WAPS enlisted performance report calculation model for technical...
 
 

THUNDERBOLT OF THE WEEK

Staff Sgt. Dustin Rysavy-Hollis 56th Component Maintenance Squadron Aircrew Egress Systems Journeyman Home town: Apopka, Florida Years in service: Five Family: Father, Tim Hollis and mom, Roxann Rysavy Previous assignments: Royal Air Force Lakenheath, United Kingdom Inspirations: My father is a huge inspiration; he works hard for what he gets Greatest feat: Performed a recovery...
 
 

ALS graduates 31 senior airmen

The 56th Fighter Wing Airman Leadership School graduated 31 senior airmen Oct. 23 from class 14-7. The award winners are: John L. Levitow Award: Andrea Romo, 162nd Force Support Squadron Distinguished graduates: Frederick Anglin, 56th Comptroller Squadron; and Aaron Norfleet, 56th Communications Squadron Commandant’s Award: Aaron Norfleet, 56th CS Academic Achievement Award: Frederick Anglin,...
 




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