An all-black aircrew from Hurlburt Field performed a flyover at the Red Tails Classic football game in Montgomery this past weekend, hoping to inspire the next generation to pursue aviation careers.
The aircrew flew an AC-130J gunship over the classic game between Tuskegee University and Fort Valley State on Saturday, September 3. The Red Tails Classic honors the Tuskegee Airmen, the renowned group of African American pilots who served in World War II.
For Tech Sgt. Curtis Lassiter, a 16-year aviation veteran currently with the 73rd Special Operations Squadron, the flyover brought back memories of being one of only a handful of African Americans in his squadron early in his career.
- “I want them to be able to see someone who looks like them, doing something they aspire to do,” Lassiter said of young minorities potentially interested in aviation.
The all-black crew received recognition at halftime in front of nearly 15,000 cheering fans. Pilots, combat systems officers, special missions aviators, and aircraft maintenance crew chiefs made up the honored flight crew.
Senior Airman Christopher Miller, an aircraft maintenance crew chief, said he felt a sense of pride knowing his service might help inspire the next generation’s dreams.