“McDew had quite an influence on his students,” Berryhill said. “In the two years we spent on the flight line, there were a lot of mini Darren McDews that went out into the system to fly, and those mini Darren McDews became aircraft commanders and took a piece of him and transferred it to the students and flyers they flew with.”
Berryhill was one of the speakers Friday at a Black History Month event at Scott Air Force Base honoring McDew, and other African-Americans who helped break barriers. McDew is now the commander of the United States Transportation Command, which is headquartered at Scott.
Col. Laura Lenderman also recognized previous units of black airman and other black Air Force leaders, such as Gen. Larry Spencer, who “broke down barriers in the pursuit of excellence.”
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During McDew’s career in the Air Force, which started in 1982, he has led multiple commands just at Scott Air Force Base and trained young commanders in his own McDew School of Leadership.
Success is about character, it has nothing to do with where you come from. It’s about dreaming big, and working hard to get the opportunities to succeed.
General Darren McDew
McDew also has served as commander of Air Mobility Command, the 18th Air Force and the 375th Air Mobility Wing.
“It is his passion for leadership and excellence that are the hallmarks of his legacy at Scott Air Force Base,” said Capt. Dante Earle, the event emcee.
He led the 375th Wing after the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“He led men with passion and compassion,” Earle said.
His commands also included coordinating operations to help people affected by Hurricane Sandy and to deliver fuel for peace keeping operations in Mali.
As Air Mobility commander, he has coordinated evacuation of during the Libya crisis, provided humanitarian relief in Iraq, and provided assisted during the Ebola outbreak in Africa.
McDew was complimented for his ability to mentor leaders who are mobility commanders that they have call it the McDew School of Leadership, Earle said.
He has developed future leaders, taken care people, thought through current challenges and prepared for challneges, Earle said.
During his remarks McDew was both funny and gracious.
McDew had quite an influence on his students. In the two years we spent on flight line, there were a lot of mini Darren McDews that went out into the system to fly, and those mini Darren McDews upgrade, became aircraft commanders and took a piece of him and transferred it to the students and flyers they flew with.
General Steven Berryhill
“I never was that talented, sharp or good-looking,” McDew said, receiving a laugh from the full banquet hall.
“This is pretty humbling … I am not worthy of all the accolades that have been bestowed today, but I thank you,” McDew said.
During his remarks, McDew spoke about his upbringing, stressed the importance of education and thanked those in attendance, including former executive officers, mentors, and trip planners, among others who helped him along the way, as he could not have accomplished anything alone, he said.
“Success is about character, it has nothing to do with where you come from,” McDew said. “It’s about dreaming big, and working hard to get the opportunities to succeed.”