Wright-Patterson joins nation in observance of National African American History Month

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- During the month of February, Wright-Patterson AFB joins the nation to observe Black History Month, also known as National African American History Month. This is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role they have played in the history of the United States.

Special observances are events and activities designed to enhance cross-cultural and cross-gender awareness, and promote harmony, pride, teamwork, and esprit de corps among military members, their families, and the civilian work force.

"Special observances, such as Black History Month, give us the opportunity to celebrate the diversity of our work force which makes us the best Air Force on the planet and what sets us apart from other organizations," said Col. John Devillier, 88th Air Base Wing commander.

"Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories" is the theme for this year's observance, and was selected by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

The story of America cannot be told without remembering both the people and the places that over time have become hallowed grounds, and the people who helped define them. Throughout the history of the United States, African Americans have significantly contributed to the rich heritage and culture of this country in all areas of society. For example, according to Air Force historical records, this year marks the 75th anniversary of the most famous African-American unit of World War II; the 332nd Fighter Group manned by the Tuskegee Airmen. The 99th Fighter Squadron formed on March 22, 1941, entered combat in North Africa and by May 1945 the 332nd Fighter Group, consisting of the 99th, 100th, 301st and 302nd Fighter Squadrons, had established an outstanding combat record.

Prominent African-American Airmen include Brig. Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Jr., a Tuskegee Airman and the first African-American U.S. Air Force general officer; Gen. Daniel "Chappie" James, who became the first African-American Air Force four-star general and Chief Master Sgt. Thomas N. Barnes, the first African-American Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.

The Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate will host its annual Black History luncheon at the Wright-Patterson Club and Banquet Center Feb. 25 at 11 a.m. Allen Stephen, President and Chief Executive Officer of CompTech Computers Technologies Inc. will be the guest speaker at the event. Making a special guest performance will be the Divine Sisters of Praise and AFSAC Unity Choir. There will be a buffet style lunch featuring fried chicken, smoked beef brisket, mashed potatoes, Bahama blend vegetables, buttered corn, and preset mixed green salads. Assorted deserts will include peach cobbler as well as sweet potato and pecan pie. Club members may purchase tickets for $13 and non-club members for $15. Tickets may be purchased until close of business Feb. 17 from various unit POCs and will not be available the day of the event. For more information, please contact Diana Blake at 937-904-2740.