Scott Air Force Base News

Mentoring the next decade of Tuskegee Airmen

The keynote speaker, Brig. Gen. Randall Reed, Deputy Director of Strategic Plans, Requirements and Programs, Headquarters Air Mobility Command, delivers a message about staying interested in flying in order to succeed.
The keynote speaker, Brig. Gen. Randall Reed, Deputy Director of Strategic Plans, Requirements and Programs, Headquarters Air Mobility Command, delivers a message about staying interested in flying in order to succeed. Courtesy photo

On Sept. 10, 23 Scott Air Force Base members coordinated with Legacy Fight Academy to help make incentive flights a reality for over 100 teens between the ages of 10-19 at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia.

The “Eyes Above the Horizon” program, founded in 2015, 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 inspired by the example of the Tuskegee Airmen are able 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 Airmen,” said Maj. Kenyatta Ruffin, 469th Flying Training Squadron, and founder of the Legacy Flight Academy. “Through interactive activities and examples of the original Tuskegee Airmen and present roles models, we educate our students on the critical importance of positive character values.”

The event was planned and coordinated by 23 volunteers from Scott through a mutually benefitting partnership with Middle Georgia State University, Golden Eagle Aviation, the Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum and the Experimental Aircraft Association, each providing material, personnel, and financial support to execute the EAH program.

“I was excited to be a part of the EAH 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,” said Capt. Kenneth Thomas, 479th Student Support Squadron.

Programs such as these make a huge impact on the local community and assist in strengthening the overall relationships between educators and aviation partners.

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