Tag Archives: Tuskegee Airmen

Restoring a piece of history

By Ken LaRock
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

The Restoration Division at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is currently restoring a Stearman PT-13D Kaydet aircraft, a standard primary trainer flown by the U.S. and several Allied nations during the late 1930s and World War II. Plans call for this PT-13D to be part of an expanded Tuskegee Airman exhibit in the World War II Gallery to represent flight training during the war.

Continue reading Restoring a piece of history

Dispatch from Ali Base, 12 June 2009

Here is this week’s dispatch from Master Sgt. Russell P. Petcoff,  who sends us more news of life and events at Ali Base, Iraq.

The theme plays like a broken record…it’s hot out there. One day this week we topped 123 degrees Fahrenheit! It’s probably hotter when one is standing on asphalt.  The air feels like a hair dryer on hot blowing in your face. The hot air dries out eyes. The concrete seems to store up heat. Airmen can feel it still radiating at 4:30 a.m., even when the hand is six inches away.

Despite the hot temperatures, the Tuskegee Airmen of Ali are still doing their jobs. For example, security forces Airmen and special agents from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations Detachment 2409 here conducted weekly training to keep their skills sharp. Recently, they trained on removing a “wounded” Airman from a damaged vehicle while others provided security. Participating in the training were Senior Airman Lionell Peake-Marshall and Senior Airman Terrence Jones (above left) and Special Agent Marcus (right).

Ali Base is full of hard-working Airmen. One organization is the 407th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron. According to Lt. Col. Kevin Gaudette, 407th ELRS commander, the squadron supports the 407th’s air operations mission, providing full-spectrum logistics services to Air Force, Navy, Army, contractors, coalition forces at Ali Base and supporting forward operating bases. Airman 1st Class Matthew Hunter (right) tightens the bolts on a harmonic balancer inside a pickup truck. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Christopher Marasky)

Dispatch from Ali Base, Iraq

Master Sgt. Russell P. Petcoff sends us more news of life and events at Ali Base, Iraq.

A couple of weeks ago, Lt. Gen. Gary North, 9th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Central commander, and Tuskegee Airmen visited Ali Base. While here, the general gave many Airmen here his coin for their hard work. One Airman to receive a coin was Airman 1st Class Kirk Peiffer, a firefighter for the 407th Air Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department. The general coined him for painting a mural with the 407th Air Expeditionary Group’s mission statement near the base flagpole.

“I was very surprised,” Airman Peiffer said. “It was my very first coin.” General North was also the first general officer Peiffer had ever met.

Chief Master Sgt. Gerald Delebreau praised the Elysburg, Penn., native. “Airman Peiffer is a very mature individual who has a lot of respect for his leadership and the project he was put in charge of to complete,” Chief Delebreau said. “He is someone many of us in the military can learn from to the keep traditions and customs alive.” (Story and photo here)

Though Ali Base Airmen work hard, they also have time to take advantage of an Immersion Program sponsored by the Top 3 Council. The program allows all Airmen to spend time with Airmen in another career field to get a better understanding of their job. The program is particularly helpful for Airmen considering cross training.

“I think the program does justice with helping people who are thinking about cross training into a particular field know what they’re getting into before they sign up,” said Staff Sgt. Cheryl Birch said. The 407th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron NCO is thinking about cross training into broadcasting.

The program also gives Airmen an idea of what fellow Airmen do at their jobs and learn valuable skills. “I immersed with vehicle maintenance and learned how to plug a tire,” said Master Sgt. Sherry Thomas, 407th Expeditionary Medical Squadron Bioenvironmental Engineer Flight NCOIC and Immersion Program manager. “I got to see what the vehicle mechanics do on a daily basis and was glad I did. They were great over there.” (Story here)

When Sergeant Thomas isn’t busy running the Immersion Program, she’s doing her primary job which is bioenvironmental engineer technician. Part of her job is going to the base bathroom facilities and checking pH, chlorine and bacteriological contaminants to ensure the safety of deployed Airmen. (Photos here)

Dispatch from Ali Base, Iraq

Master Sgt. Russell P. Petcoff sends us more news of life and events at Ali Base, Iraq.

This past week has been a busy one for Airmen of the 407th Air Expeditionary Group at Ali Base, Iraq. On April 23, four original members of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen accompanied Lt. Gen. Gary L. North, 9th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Central Commander, and Lt. Gen. (ret.) Russell C. Davis, president of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. They received a mission briefing and paid their respects to the Airmen’s Memorial in the Bedrock community of the base. Afterward, group members attended an Airmen’s Call where they met and asked questions of the distinguished visitors, and had their pictures taken.
“We are impressed with your national service, your contributions and the pride we have in your accomplishments because we know that you are the leaders of today who will lead the leaders of tomorrow,” said Maj. (ret.) George Boyd, one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. “And I thank you from the folks back home because they love you. They support you and are dedicated to your service.”

April 29 was another big day for the 407th AEG as it underwent a change-of-command. Col. Glen A. Apgar took command of the group from Col. Mark Ware.  Stormy weather moved the planned outdoor ceremony to the Big Top. Despite the last-minute change, everything went off as planned. Colonel Apgar expressed his pride in becoming the new commander of the 407th. “There is nothing

Brig. Gen. Brian T. Bishop, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander, presents the 407th AEG guidon to Col. Glen Apgar.
Brig. Gen. Brian T. Bishop, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander, presents the 407th AEG guidon to Col. Glen Apgar.

more humbling than the honor and privilege to lead these great American heroes in this combat zone.”

The USAFCENT Combined Air and Space Operations Center Public Affairs Office produces a weekly product titled “AOR Week in Photos.”  This week, the 407th AEG Public Affairs Office photographer had three photographs selected for display.  They were photos of the Tuskegee Airmen visiting the Airmen’s Memorial, an Ali Base firefighter conducting training and Airman 1st Class Daniel Roberts singing with musician Nell Bryden.

For more on these stories, including additional photos, click below

Original Tuskegee Airmen, General North visit Ali Base
407th AEG changes hands in ceremony