Travis AFB Airmen continue legacy of heritage

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Karla Parra
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

An all-Black crew of 18 Travis AFB Airmen participated in a heritage flight to Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, and Warner Robins, Georgia from Feb. 18-24 in recognition of Black Heritage Month.

The Department of Defense not only celebrates Black History Month as time to recognize the positive impact Black service members have in U.S. history, but also serves as a reminder of the continuous fight against racial disparity throughout the U.S. Air Force.

“Representation matters,” said Capt. Tyler Weaver, 22nd Airlift Squadron pilot.

After surveys, interviews and reexamining past reports, the Air Force Inspector General made its conclusions. It “confirmed racial disparity exists for Black/African American Airmen and space professional in the areas of military discipline and career development opportunities,” according to the initial report released in 2020.

“This flight was directly combating what that report brought out,” said Weaver. “We want to show people that they can fly, that they can be in these career fields and they can thrive in them as well.”

The crew demonstrated just that during their first stop at the “Accelerating the Legacy” heritage event which honored the Tuskegee Airmen during a two-day event highlighting professional development and community outreach at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina.

Local Middle and High School students toured various aircraft including a C-5 Super Galaxy from Travis AFB and had the opportunity to meet Dr. Eugene J. Richardson Jr., a Documented Original Tuskegee Airman.

“We stand on the shoulders of giants and to have actually met one of those guys is absolutely inspiring,” said Weaver.

Weaver described as a child how he looked up to Tuskegee Airmen in multiple blockbuster hits, and meeting one in person, he felt star-struck.

The crew then flew to Warner Robins, Georgia, where they spoke to students at Northside High School in Warner Robins, Georgia, Feb. 23, 2022.

“Can you see yourself as a pilot, flight engineer or loadmaster?” Weaver asked the class full of high school students and Junior ROTC cadets.

Weaver expressed the reason why they were there—to show them that they belong and can accomplish these things.

“Like I said earlier, representation matters and we want to show that the [minority students] are represented in these career fields in the Air Force and particularly in the flying community as well,” said Weaver.

Within only two percent of Airmen being pilots, only two percent of those pilots are Black according to Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. Air Force of Staff.

Weaver believes this kind of mission can inspire and bring people together and culture inside the Air Force bringing out the good in all of us.

“I want us to continue pushing this narrative, this legacy that we are trying to make with these heritage flights,” said Weaver. “Every single year we know February is Black History Month but we want to make this a norm so that anybody that is whatever ethnicity, whatever nationality, whatever gender or creed know that they belong here in the Air Force.”

This mission gave Weaver and the rest of the crew members a unique experience and a great sense of pride.  

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