Tuesday, February 25, 2014

AFA Celebrates Black History Month

The Air Force Association (AFA) today highlights National Black History Month, an opportunity to reflect on the life struggles, sacrifices, and accomplishments of African Americans while recognizing the rich and diverse cultural heritage of our service.

Throughout our country’s history, despite harsh times of segregation and discrimination, many African Americans answered their country’s call – making valuable contributions to the war efforts and breaking color boundaries.

In 1866, through an act of Congress, legislation was adopted to create six all African-American Army units – soon after consolidated to four regiments: the 9th and 10th cavalry and the 24th and 25th infantry. These individuals came to be known as the Buffalo Soldiers, coming from varied backgrounds including former slaves and veterans from service in the Civil War.

The remarkable story of the Tuskegee Airmen continues to be a significant part of African American history as well as the history of the Air Force. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American pilots in the US armed forces. During World War II, an estimated 16,000 to 19,000 persons served in numerous capacities during the “Tuskegee Experience,” including pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all personnel who kept the planes in the air.

From Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., an aviation pioneer who later became the first African American to earn a star in the US Air Force, to Lt. Col. Stayce D. Harris, who became the first black female to command a USAF flying squadron, the 729 AS at March ABF, in 2001, it is an honor to acknowledge the patriotism, loyalty, and leadership that has helped socially enrich our national community. Their fights against the many obstacles that laid before them serve as a testament to their perseverance to overcome adversity.

AFA is proud to recognize the great service and sacrifice of all of our veterans throughout our country’s history, and we continue to appreciate the dedication of those serving our country today.

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