Air Force Featured Stories

Accelerating the Legacy 2024

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Carl Good
  • 628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from across the nation convened for a two-day Black History Month aviation heritage event held in Charleston, Feb. 16-17.

Hosted by Joint Base Charleston personnel, the fourth annual Accelerating the Legacy event honored the esteemed legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen by cultivating today’s aviators and empowering the next generation of Airmen. 
 
On the first day of the event, Airmen gathered for various panel discussions and professional development seminars. The event featured retired Lt. Col. Theresa Claiborne, who spoke on her trailblazing career to becoming the first female, African American pilot in the Air Force.

During the event’s culminating banquet, keynote speaker Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, U.S. Air Force Academy superintendent, highlighted the Tuskegee Airmen, their resilience in the face of discrimination and their valor, serving their country with unwavering dignity, courage and determination. 
 
"Stay focused on your purpose, regardless of the negativity or mistreatment from others, and let the resilience of the Tuskegee Airmen inspire you," Clark said. 
 

Following Clark’s remarks, Dr. Eugene Richardson Jr., a Documented Original Tuskegee Airman, and retired Gen. Charles “Fig” Newton, the first African American Thunderbird pilot, joined each other on stage to participate in a fireside chat. 
 
Newton highlighted the importance of creating an inclusive environment. 
 
“At any level of leadership, it's essential to foster an environment where everyone feels they belong,” Newton said. “Achieving this marks progress in closing the gap.” 
 
This event honors the lasting impact of the Tuskegee Airmen in the Air Force, by celebrating their achievements and ensuring their legacy inspires future generations. 
 
“I'm extremely proud to be a member of the group known as Tuskegee Airmen, who through our actions actually help change our country for the better,” Richardson said.