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NEWS | Feb. 21, 2024

Accelerating the Legacy 2024

By Airman First Class Carl Good 628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C.-- U.S. Airmen from across the nation convened for a two-day Black History Month aviation heritage event held in Charleston, South Carolina, Feb. 16-17, 2024. 


Hosted by Joint Base Charleston personnel, the fourth annual Accelerating the Legacy event  honors 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 U.S. Air Force 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," said Clark.


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,” said Newton. “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,” said Richardson.