McChord flight crew attends historic AMC Black History Month event

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mikayla Heineck
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

An aircrew of 11 black Airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing attended a Black History Month aviation heritage event planned by Airmen from six different Air Mobility Command (AMC) units, hosted by the 427th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston (JBC), South Carolina, Feb. 19.

The event invited black Airmen and aviators from six AMC units for a day of honoring the past and the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, and developing and promoting the future of black people in the Air Force.

The aircrew from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, consisted of Airmen from the 4th and 8th Airlift Squadrons, the 62nd Operations Support Squadron, and the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

“It is not a very common happenstance to have pilots and loadmasters from different units make up an aircrew,” said Capt. Dre Davis, 8th Airlift Squadron pilot. “This crew was specifically put together from only a handful of black Airmen who work in the 62nd Airlift Wing’s airlift squadron.”

The organizers of the Heritage Event also invited members of the local chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc., who spoke to many Airmen and passed on their mentorship during the day.

“Being a minority aviator myself, anytime I see the red jackets that they wear, I know that they’ve sacrificed and had to overcome a lot to get where they are,” said Capt. Wesley Cobb, 4th Airlift Squadron pilot. “If they weren’t there to blaze the trail, I don’t think that we would have as many minority aviators as we do today.”

There are a couple organizations for black aviators who have regular gatherings, but this was the first Air Force-sponsored event specifically for black Air Force members.

“The best part about it was talking to everyone and seeing that they are the masters of their craft in whatever it is they’re doing and whatever aircraft they’re operating in,” Cobb said. “They’re not there by happenstance. They are there because they deserve to be.  They are professionals first and foremost that go out and execute the mission every day and it was amazing to see that.”

There is a hope and intent for events of this nature to regularly occur in the Air Force as opportunity for training and development, recruitment and morale.

“I think my favorite part was seeing so many familiar faces that I hadn’t seen in years; it was a significant morale boost for a lot of people there,” said Maj. James Hall, 62nd Operations Support Squadron director of operations and a weapons instructor course graduate. “My greatest hope is that someone who sees the pictures from this event, or ones like it in the future, is inspired to go into aviation because they saw themselves represented.”

This event, honoring the heritage of black Airmen, along with the work they are doing in the Air Force today, highlighted the value of their contribution to the Air Force’s mission.