FAIRFIELD (CBS13) – Thursday morning’s take-off of a KC-10 aircraft from Travis Air Force Base is more than just a routine training run. It’s a plane that climbed huge historical heights.
The flight was a Black History Month Heritage Flight honoring the Tuskegee Airmen.READ MORE: Colfax Homeowners Return To See What's Left After River Fire
“I thought it was a good way to honor the people that have sacrificed before us who really went through a lot to even allow for this to be able to happen,” Captain Caleb McCullough, one of the Heritage Flight crew members, said.
McCullough and seven other members were a part of an all-Black flight crew based out of Travis Air Force Base celebrating the legacy of those who took to the skies before them.
“I had the privilege of meeting a Tuskegee Airmen years ago and to imagine what they had to go through, especially with what I do today, it’s totally different,” Master Sergeant Brian Grant, another member of the heritage flight crew, said.
The crew was completing a local training sortie involving approaches, mid-air refueling and an intake, and landings. The bigger mission is to promote diversity and inclusion in the Air Force.
“There’s not many portrayals of Black professionals out there,” Grant said. “So, I think what we do is actually pretty good for the community and for everyone else.”READ MORE: Following The Firefight: Crews Hope To Make Good Progress On The River Fire
These new trailblazers’ mission is making a last impression on those who hope to make the Tuskegee Airmen’s legacy last.
“For too many years, we have been relegated to certain positions, remedial things, and I think it’s good to let everybody know that we can do everything and everything,” Nathaniel Clayton, president of the Lee A. Archer Tuskegee Airmen Inc., Fairfield-Chapter, said.
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Some members of the crew believe that this flight and others truly honor the legacy of those who paved their paths to getting their wings. It also can show how others can make their own way into the military after the Tuskegee Airmen broke so many barriers.
“I think we need to do more flights like this to showcase that the Air Force is diverse and we can include other races and gender such as ourselves right here,” First Lieutenant Linette Westley, another member of the crew, said.
“I hope that other people can look to us and say, ‘Hey, if they can do it then, I can do it,’” McCullough said.MORE NEWS: California Requires Healthcare Workers To Be Fully Vaccinated By End Of September
Travis Air Force Base told CBS13 while this isn’t an annual tradition, it’s more than willing to do this again next year if the crew wants to.