Dr. Rigsby visits Altus AFB during Black History Month

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Breanna Klemm
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Dr. Rick Rigsby, an internationally acclaimed public speaker, returned to Altus Air Force Base on February 4 and 5, 2021, to share stories with Airmen about Black History Month while emphasizing the different characteristics which make a leader memorable.

“During this Black History Month speech, I didn't want it to be just black history for the sake of black history, but focused some leadership tendencies or traits that we can learn from the struggle of African-Americans, to drop the vestiges of colonialism, and to shake off the chains of segregation,” said Rigsby. “ This time, I wanted to facilitate the request to do a black history speech, focus a little bit on Martin Luther King, but also shares some insights as to how Airmen and civilians, can grow their leadership from lessons we've learned from the pioneers of the civil rights movement.”

Rigsby shared with Airmen important qualities of a great leader and what makes them historic. He explained that when a leader uses clarity and perspective while speaking, it gives the audience a reason to listen and engage. Similarly, he added how throughout the American Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr. used similar speaking strategies which helped change the course of history, forever.

“My favorite part about the speech was the unity Dr. Rigsby incorporated into his speech, because as a minority myself, this really stood out to me,” said Airman 1st Class Qian Li, 97th Communications Squadron knowledge operations specialist. “The speech wasn't just about one race or one gender, it was about everyone. How everyone in America is united, and it has helped shape us into what we are today.”

Airmen who were not able to attend the speech in-person, but wanted to tune in virtually, were invited to watch the speech live from their work center devices.

“I think this speech was beneficial to Airmen because sometimes getting an outside view on things can help individuals throughout their military career,” said Airman Alquan Corbin, 97th CS client systems specialist. “Hearing stories and experiences from people who are already ahead of you in life can help mentor, guide, or even provide some perspective on ways Airmen can move ahead through their career.”

During his visit to Altus AFB, Rigsby had the opportunity to experience mobility airpower first-hand on a C-17 Globemaster III. While on the flight, Rigsby saw aerial refueling, low-level flying maneuvers, and off-loading cargo for the first time.

Additionally, Rigsby toured the KC-46 Pegasus and the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft used at the 97th Air Mobility Wing for training. “Wow, wow, wow. I cannot even begin to express how exhilarating, how fun, how exciting, how thrilling and how scary all rolled into one that flight was,” exclaimed Rigsby. “The adjectives I used, they don't even come close to describing what I felt during that flight. I want to thank all the folks who have made this possible and let them know today's flight was one of the highlights of my life. I shall never forget it, and it couldn't have happened at a better Air Force base.”