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Celebrating Black History Month and those who serve

  • Published
  • By Michelle Gigante
  • 919th Special Operations Wing

February is Black History Month.  Also known as African American History Month, this is a time to recognize the accomplishments of black Americans and their contributions to the nation.

This annual celebration started in 1976 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, whose scholarly dedication led to the establishment of the February tradition.

African Americans have a long distinguished history of serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, defending the Nation with loyalty, honor and patriotism in every war since the American Revolution.

A member of the famed all-African-American World War II flying unit, the Tuskegee Airmen, visited 919th Special Operations Wing reservists in 2010. Retired Chief Master Sgt. Walter Richardson, a Pensacola native, was one of the first African-American Airmen tasked to begin integrating the fledgling U.S. Air Force.

The 919th Special Operations Wing joins in paying tribute to African Americans’ contributions to protecting the nation and enriching the diverse Reserve Citizen Airman’s culture.

In celebration of Black History Month, we asked some 919th SOW Airmen to share if they had any African American’s who inspired or influenced their lives and how.

“The world is full of inspiring men and women to study and learn from,” said Tech Sgt. Maggie Lichtenwalner, 919th Special Operations Force Support Squadron program manager with Airman and Family Readiness Center. “Recently, I have been inspired by Simone Biles, an American gymnast who won a combined total of 32 Olympic and World Championship medals.

Biles is one of the premiere Olympic athletes to raise awareness on mental health and cultural issues. During the 2020 Olympics, Biles started to feel the pressure of the Olympics and withdrew from several competitions.

“Simone taught me that sometimes it’s okay to take time and focus on self-care rather than just battle through,” said Lichtenwalner.

Furthermore, Richard Bullock, 919th Special Operations Mission Support Group unit deployment manager added who has most inspired him in relation to African American history.

“Crispus Attucks is a person in history who most influenced me because he was recognized for his valiant efforts and sacrifice for standing against the British Monarchy,” said Bullock. “He paid the highest price for American Liberty and fueled the colonist outrage against British rule becoming a symbol for freedom fighters in the American Revolution.”