All-black Fairchild aircrew refuel Red Tail Squadron, honor Black History

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Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., Airmen pose for a photo with Red Tail Squadron members of 187th Fighter Wing in Montgomery, Ala., Feb. 18, 2020. Team Fairchild Airmen refueled F-16 Fighting Falcons piloted by the Airmen from the Red Tail Squadron in honor of Black History Month. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Kiaundra Miller)
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An all African-American KC-135 crew from Fairchild Air Force Base undertook a mission to refuel historic Red Tail Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 187th Fighter Wing, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., Feb. 18, in honor of Black History Month. 

The flight took place to represent black military heritage and provide tribute to the World War II Tuskegee Airmen, who played a significant wartime role and paved the way for minority representation in today’s Air Force.

“I thought about how [Team Fairchild] should do something in regards to aviation and black history month,” said Capt. Jazmind Roberts, 93rd Air Refueling Squadron pilot. “I wanted to do something inspired by the Tuskegee Airmen, something that represents our heritage. We’ve made it from being enslaved to gaining civil rights; look how far we have come now.”

Capt. Jazmind Roberts, 93rd Air Refueling Squadron pilot, flies a KC-135 Stratotanker over Alabama, Feb. 18, 2020. Roberts coordinated an all-black aircrew for a refueling mission to Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., to refuel four F-16 Fighting Falcons from the Red Tail Squadron of the 187 Fighter Wing. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Kiaundra Miller)

Roberts used this flight to show everyone it’s possible to achieve greatness and maintain your culture while serving as a U.S. Armed Forces member. 

“Fairchild’s a super-tanker base but we don’t have much [African-American] representation here right now,” Roberts said. “I am the only black female pilot. This flight is to show we also have representation on [the KC-135]. We’re always with other people and never get the chance to be in a crew where everyone has the same culture and bond.”

The Fairchild crew attended an event hosted by the Red Tail Squadron to meet the pilots of the aircraft they had earlier refueled.

The famous Tuskegee Airmen helped lead the way for black Airmen by proving themselves as equal, with more than 1,500 combat missions. They were bestowed with hundreds of decorations for outstanding achievements during WWII. In a time where the capability of black Airmen was viewed with skepticism, the Tuskegee Airmen succeeded in exceeding all expectations.

Tech. Sgt. Jonathon Rogers, 93rd Air Refueling Squadron boom operator, performs air refueling maneuvers with an F-16 Fighting Falcon from the Red Tail Squadron of the 187th Fighter Wing while flying over Alabama, Feb. 18, 2020. Every F-16 that participated in the air refueling was piloted by a black Airman from the Tuskegee Airmen’s honorary ‘Red Tail’ Squadron. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Kiaundra Miller)

“The amazing thing about the Red Tails was in that time, fighter pilots only cared about their kill; they would lose bombers all the time,” said Tech. Sgt. Jonathon Rogers, 93rd Air Refueling Squadron boom operator. “The Red Tail squadron came with a different mentality, a mentality [many people] didn’t think black people were capable of. It wasn’t about them or their numbers, it was about escorting their bombers where they needed to go without casualties.”

The Air Force and Team Fairchild believe black history and diversity of the force makes everyone faster, better and stronger. Team Fairchild aircrew members honored these values while showcasing all Airmen serve a higher cause, no matter their race, gender, beliefs or background.
 

A Fairchild Air Force Base KC-135 Stratotanker refuels a Maxwell Air Force Base F-16 Fighting Falcon from the Red Tail Squadron of the 187th Fighter Wing from while flying over Alabama, Feb. 18, 2020. The Red Tail Squadron was home to the Tuskegee Airmen, the first all-black squadron in the U.S. military. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Kiaundra Miller)

 
Four F-16 Falcons of the Red Tail Squadron from the 187th Fighter Wing, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., fly in formation next to a Fairchild Air Force Base KC-135 Stratotanker over Montgomery, Feb. 18, 2020. The flight took place to represent black military heritage and provide tribute to the World War II Tuskegee Airmen, who played a significant wartime role and paved the way for minority representation in today’s Air Force. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Kiaundra Miller)

 
Capt. Clinton Prescott, 93rd Air Refueling Squadron pilot, and Capt. Jazmind Roberts, 93rd Air Refueling Squadron pilot, fly a Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., KC-135 Stratotanker over Idaho, Feb. 19, 2020. Prescott, Roberts and six other black crew members flew a mission to Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Ala., to celebrate the heritage and culture of black Airmen. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Kiaundra Miller)

 
 
 

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