US Air Force Academy Superintendent LtGen Jay “Tonto” Silveria may have gotten a bit in front of his Commander-in-Chief when he re-entered the public debate over diversity last week (following his much-watched “get out” speech over a racist event that turned out to be a hoax).
Writing in an Op-Ed published at CNN entitled “Why Diversity?“, Gen Silveria said [emphasis added]
our real advantage is the intellect, innovation, creativity and courage of our troops. If any among us thinks these qualities are defined by race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or identity or any other factor of the human condition, then the Air Force Academy and our military is not the place for them…
To put it in the terms of a military leader: Diversity is a force multiplier. We must do this together — all ranks and ages, races and religions, sexual orientations and identities — all of us.
The problem is Gen Silveria’s boss, President Trump, has indicated the opposite — he’s said Read more
Franklin Macon is a 92-year old Tuskegee Airman who spent his early years training other pilots — with the majority of his time spent at an airfield that would eventually become the US Air Force Academy:
One of Macon’s jobs with the Army Air Corps was to train cadet pilots on what became the Academy airfield. He spent the majority of the war flying here, and never saw overseas combat.
Macon says he ruptured his ear drums on a sortie just Read more
Chief Master Sgt. (ret.) Walter Richardson, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, addressed the Eglin Air Force Prayer Breakfast in February, which the article summarized as calling faith an “ROE for success.” Chief Richardson described his reliance on faith from basic training to his deployments around the world.
“We have a manual that describes the way to be successful, the Holy Bible,” said the Tuskegee Airman…”
Holding on to two verses, one about keeping God first in all things and the other advising to trust God in all ways over your own intelligence, are the backdrop to the challenges Richardson faced as part the first group of racially integrated military members…
Lt. Col. Lee A. Archer, one of the original Tuskegee Airman and a fighter pilot, died on Wednesday, 27 January 2010. The 90 year old was reportedly the “first and only black ace pilot.” A fellow Tuskegee Airman estimated that 50 to 60 of the nearly 1,000 original pilots remain alive. (The 332nd Fighter Group, which was composed of the Tuskegee squadrons, was reactivated in 2004 as an Expeditionary Air Wing in Iraq. The wing held a memorial service in Iraq for LtCol Archer.)
Like the Doolittle Raiders, of whom only 8 survive of the 80 crew members, the original Tuskegee Airmen and their fellow World War Army Air Corps pilots served as inspirations to generations of men and women who would fly and fight for their country. Though they are increasingly few in number, those who fought to preserve the free world in the early 20th century–many of whom did not return–are an irreplaceable part of the American heritage. Their legacy, and their legend, should not be forgotten.