AAFB Airmen celebrate BHM at ‘Accelerating the Legacy’ event

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Trenton Jancze
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 97th Air Mobility Wing at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, participated in “Accelerating the Legacy,” - a Black History Month aviation heritage event hosted by Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, Feb. 16-18, 2023.

Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., Air Force Chief of Staff, called for a focus on change and diversity in his strategic approach document, “Accelerate Change or Lose.” Accelerating the Legacy is a direct byproduct of that initiative.

More than 600 active-duty Airmen, U.S. Air Force Academy cadets, and Air Force ROTC cadets gathered for the three-day event, which included a legacy dinner, multiple professional development sessions and mentorship panels designed to “honor the past, develop the present and promote the future” through community outreach.

Along with Brown, other distinguished visitors at the event included Gen. Mike Minihan, commander of Air Mobility Command, and retired Lt. Col. James Harvey, an original Tuskegee Airman.

“This grassroots event positively impacts the entire aviation community,” Brown said. “Tuskegee Airmen believed in hard work and preparation, and they paved the way for me. Now I’m charged to ensure that all Airmen have the opportunity to serve.”

Col. Patrick Brady-Lee, 97th AMW vice commander, along with other AAFB attendees, also had the opportunity to fly with approximately 50 Legacy Flight Academy students.

“I think sometimes we look at it as just showing kids airplanes, but it is so much more than that,” he said. “It is such a humbling experience, and a unique opportunity, to reach out to an underrepresented group and show them what is possible. If we can influence one or two of those kids to want to join, that is worth so much.”

Senior Airman Ashleigh Chambers, 97th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron aerospace medical technician, added that it was a great opportunity to learn more about the minority Airmen legacy within the Air Force.

“Being able to hear stories of the Tuskegee Airmen that paved the way for us today was awe-inspiring,” she said. “Listening to the different panels, and to hear from Gen. Brown himself, was an eye-opening experience that I’m really glad I could share with fellow Airmen from Altus.”