Mentoring the next decade of Tuskegee Airman

BY CAPT. EDWARD WILSON JR.,
38TH CYBERSPACE SQUADRON
Col. Laura Lenderman, Commander, 375 Air Mobility Wing and Col Terrene A. Adams, 375th Communications Group support the event and all volunteers pictured.

Col. Laura Lenderman, Commander, 375 Air Mobility Wing and Col Terrene A. Adams, 375th Communications Group support the event and all volunteers pictured.

On September 10, 23 Airmen from Scott Air Force Base coordinated with Legacy Fight Academy to help make incentive flights a reality for over 70 youth ages 10 – 19 at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia, Illinois on Sept. 10, 2016 during the Eyes Above the Horizon program. LFA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that conducts character-based youth aviation programs that draw upon the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.

The Eyes Above the Horizon program works with minority youth to develop and foster an interest in aerospace careers through flight introductions, mentorship, and immersion into the rich history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. Students are inspired to see beyond their familiar circumstances and are motivated to excel in their academic and career endeavors.

“The central and defining aspect of our program is the incredible story of the Tuskegee Airman,” said Maj. Kenyatta Ruffin, a student at the School for Advanced Military Studies and founder of LFA. “Through interactive activities and showcasing the example of the original Tuskegee Airman and present day role models, we educate our students on the critical important of positive character values,” he said.

The event was planned and coordinated by 23 volunteers from Scott Air Force Base through a mutually benefitting partnership with Parks College, Middle Georgia State University, the Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum, the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association, and the Headquarters Air Force Diversity and Inclusion Office. Additionally, there was support from local food and grocery vendors during the keynote luncheon, which featured Brig. Gen. Randall Reed, the Air Mobility Command Deputy Director of Strategic Plans, Requirements and Programs.

“I was excited to be a part of this program and facilitating forums for our local youth to learn,” said Master Sgt. Debra Flowers, 38th Cyberspace Squadron.

The volunteers assisted in the planning and setup for orientation flights, teambuilding games, college seminars, and character enhancement.

“The program started with a vision to share the dream that they can have aviation careers… without programs like this many of our minority youth are not made aware of the many flying opportunities that exist in our Air Force,” said Capt. Kenneth Thomas, 479th Student Support Squadron and founder of the Eyes Above the Horizon program.

Programs such as these make a huge impact on the local community and assist in strengthening the overall relationships of our educators and aviation partners. Programs such as these make a huge impact on the local community and assist in strengthening the overall relationships of our educators and aviation partners. More information about LFA can be found on their website at www.LegacyFlightAcademy.org.