Thursday, February 23, 2012

TOP STORY >>Wreath laying honors memory of passed service members

By Staff Sgt. Jacob Barreiro
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Little Rock Air Force Base held a wreath laying ceremony at Heritage Park on base Feb. 17, in honor of five service members who died when performing a flight training mission here Feb. 18, 1972.

The ceremony honored the service of:

Sgt. William D. Blair, a student flight engineer;

Captain Edward R. Breen, an instructor pilot;

1st Lt. Maurice F. Cherry, a student pilot;

Tech Sgt. Raymond L. Hughes, an instructor flight engineer, and

1st Lt. Henry M. Thorsen, a student pilot.

On the afternoon of Feb. 18, 1972, the crew of the THULE 80, a C-130E, took off from the base to perform their training mission. After finishing the mission, they turned the aircraft to return to base. At 7:07 p.m., the aircraft collided with a T-37, and lost power in two engines. The THULE 80 crashed, killing the entire crew.

Service members from throughout the base gathered to honor the memory of the deceased, and the wreath was laid at the request of their loved ones.

CLASSIFIEDS >> 4-20-12


THE COMBAT AIRLIFTER CLASSIFIED DEPARTMENT will take ads by phone from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday 982-9421, or you may mail your ad to 404 Graham Rd., Jacksonville, Ark. 72078. You may also e-mail them to Deadline to advertise in Friday's issue is 5 p.m. Tuesday.

A  free one-year membership in Military Officers Association of America is available for active, reserve, & National Guard officers who are  not prior members. Contact Central Arkansas Chapter Secretary (

LHA Flightline is the new charter school on base serving 5th-8th grade military and non-military students alike. We are in great need for any books you would like to donate to our library. You may drop them off at Bldg. 1030 Cannon Drive, located between VOQ and Lodging, directly behind the Thrift Shop. There will be a bin out front or you can bring them into the front office during regular school hours; M-F, 0700-1700. Thank you for your generous contributions.


DRIVERS: $1,200 Orientation Completion Bonus & make up to .43 cpm! CDL-A OTR. Experience required. Many routes available! Call now: 1-800-213-7696.


HORSES: LUCKY Acres Boarding Stable, TLC for your horse, box stalls and paddocks, clean pastures, indoor and outdoor arenas, riding instruction and training program. Dressage our specialty. (501) 988-2458.


7-WK. OLD sugar gliders, 1 male, 1 female, ready for rehoming, $200 ea. (501) 843-8517.

FREE SMALL dog, to good home, kennel included, Australian cattle dog. (501) 773-5380 or (501) 773-5490.

BERNESE MOUNTAIN dog puppies. Available in June. AKC registered parents & HIP certified mother. Contact Kraig at by e-mail at, or call (501) 951-5204.


1983 FORD Mustang Convertible, runs & drives, needs a little TLC, $2,600 obo. (573) 429-5752.

1999 VW Jetta, red, fair condition, $1,900. (501) 251-7200.

2005 CONVERTIBLE Nissan 350Z, runs great, custom wheels, tinted windows, 40,000 miles, $19,000 obo. (501) 251-7200.

1948 PONTIAC Torpedo Silver Streak, $1,000 obo. (501) 259-2081.

2005 Chevy Colorado LS extended cab. 2WD, 3.5L automatic, painted bed liner & hard cover, 49,000 miles, one owner, excellent condition, 4 tires less than 1.5 yrs. old,  $11,500. (501) 291-5217.

1999 MITSUBISHI Galant, only 80K miles, white ext., tan int., V6, A/C, runs great, $1,500. Military PCSing. Call or text (501) 256-5081 or e-mail for pics.

2010 DODGE Ram 1500 pickup, 5K miles, excellent condition, practically new, $16,000. (501) 413-1556.


HONDA CAMPBELL Hausfeld, gas powered pressure washer, 2500 psi, never used, $295. (501) 607-3459.

2011 Harley Iron, 1,370 miles, custom ostrich seat, Vance & Hines exhaust, chopped frame & fender, more custom parts, $8,750. 987-6220.


PAINTBALL GEAR: Freak kit barrels, $90; pod packs w/pods, $20; Proto elbow pads, $15; knee pads, $10; gear bag, $10. (785) 317-4904.

REFRIGERATOR, black, side by side w/ice in door, 48" wide, 6 yrs. old, few dings but good condition, $300 obo.; wood double twin bunk bed, $50; 1 twin mattress, $35; 2 chest of drawers, $40; black fabric night stand, $5; book case, corner wood desk, $15. (501) 563-3494.

6x12 ENCLOSED carry-on utility trailer, used once, side door, back ramp, interior lights & more. $2,500 firm. (828) 302-7366, Emily.

HOUSEPLANTS & yard plants, 50¢; oak, maple & red bud trees, in containers, 6', $10 ea.; paperback books, 25¢. 982-0907.

CAST IRON bathtub w/feet, 5' long, excellent condition, $150. (501) 470-9501.

TOP-LOAD WASHER & dryer set, $250. (210) 771-1731, Brenda.

HEAVY DUTY utility trailer, 5x9, drop gate, black metal, $650. (501) 416-9216, Vilonia.


26" VIZIO flatscreen TV, $250 neg. (985) 951-9127.

BEDROOM SET, girl's twin-size bed w/dresser. Tole (hand) painted pastels. Headboard & footboard contain shelves. Pics. available, $200. (501) 352-4646.

BUNK BEDS, plain wood & dollhouse kind, $100 ea. (501) 983-1803.

MOVING SALE: black leather couch, $200; 2 black leather tube chairs, $50 ea.; Kenmore washer & dryer set, $100; dining table w/4 chairs, $50; corner computer desk, $75. Pics avail. via text upon request. (501) 551-9172.

ELEGANT RECTANGULAR 2-tiered expresso coffee table w/beveled glass & marble inset, like new cond., 48" x 28" x 20.5", $100 obo. (907) 750-5615.


Sherwood/Jacksonville areas. Beautiful 2, 3 & 4 Bedroom Mobile Homes. Large lots, in quiet safe park, close to LRAFB. Clean, quiet, & safe park. $450-$695 plus deposit. (501) 835-3450.

JACKSONVILLE: VERY nice house, 292 Lowry, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1 acre, storage shed. $750 rent, $500 deposit. Call John at (501) 912-7976.

NEW TOWNHOMES, 1,500 sq. ft., 3 BR, 2 BA in Cabot. Also, 1,400 sq. ft. home, 3 BR, 2 BA in NLR. (501) 843-5670.

FSBO: 1780 sq. ft., 3 bedroom, 2 bath, brick, gas fireplace, double garage, corner lot, new updates. 36 Stonewall Drive, Jacksonville. $146,500 obo. (501) 416-4362.

COUNTRY HOME for rent: 2 bedroom, 1 bath, minutes from base. Available 5/1. $650 month. (501) 352-1499.

JAX. CLOSE to main gate, small 3 BR, 1 BA, single garage, fully equipped kitchen, washer & dryer furnished, $725 mo., $600 dep., 1509 Gregory, (501) 985-1177.

GRAVEL RIDGE area, about 10 miles from back gate of base. 28 Cardinal Valley Drive, 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, 2,366 sq. ft., $139,900. Call (501) 580-3042.


NORTH LITTLE Rock: 1,403 sq. ft. house, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, sunroom, shop, privacy fence, near corner of McCain/JFK. LOTS of updates! $134,900. (501) 940-9402 or view at

IN BEEBE: 2400 sq. ft., 4 BR, 2 BA, extra large family room 23x28. New windows installed 2010. New above-ground pool and deck 2011. On quiet cul-de-sac., 24x24 shop. (501) 412-4337.

SHERWOOD: 3 bedroom, 2050 sq. ft., all new appliances, remodeled floor to ceiling, fenced, shaded backyard. Quiet neighborhood, Sylvan Hills schools, 26 Wesley off Hwy. 107 near base entrance, $126,00. (501) 281-2959.

FSBO: JACKSONVILLE, 6 Phyllis Ct., 3 bedroom, 2 bath, bonus room, large corner lot, 2,172 sq. ft., $99,000. Financing available. (501) 225-3636 or (501) 944-3177.



There will be a base exercise April 30 -- May 3 that will affect base traffic and potentially cause delays for people commuting on base.

Measures will be taken to minimize the inconvenience caused, but travelers should anticipate and be prepared for delays.


A Drug Enforcement Administration Take-Back Day is set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 28 at the Base Exchange Lobby.


The Little Rock Spouses Club is scheduled to host a 5K adventure run, Saturday, at the base lake. For more information call Christine Daugherty at (501) 366-6241.


A retirement ceremony is scheduled for Master Sgt. Richard Pinedo, 2 p.m. today at the 50th Airlift Squadron Hodge.


Anticipated Federal Civilian Vacancies at Little Rock Air Force Base will be sent to headquarters Air Force Personnel Center to recruit/fill.

Please keep in mind that the job listed may take an extended period of time to be advertised. A hiring priority may prevent advertising a position. The website for applicants to apply is For questions, please call their toll-free number at 1-800-525-0102.

Unit Program Coordinator, GS-0303-06 X 2

Electronic Integrated Systems Mechanic, WG-2610-12

Maintenance Mechanic, WG-4749-10

Financial Management Specialist, GS-0501-11


Apply for one of five chances for Air Force youth 8-13 years old to attend Island Lake Camp, located in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, during the weeks of July 31 – Aug. 13.

Camp tuition ($3,000) is being provided at no cost from the Island Lake Camp owners who wish to support military families by providing each of the Armed Forces Service Branches free spaces at the camp.

Military campers who have previously attended an Island Lake Camp session are eligible to return for a minimal fee of $300 as are their siblings.

For more information, families can visit the Island Lake Camp website at and direct all Air Force camp selection questions to Jamie Smith at 240-612-4891 or David Brittain at 240-612-4893.


A dinner for deployed family members will be held at 6 p.m., May 1, at the Thomas Community Activities Center, for families of deployed, remote or extended TDY members. Free dinner, door prizes, entertainment, etc. For details, call the Base Chapel, 987-6014.

COMMENTARY>>Fight the right fight

By Col. Mark G. Czelusta
314th Airlift Wing, commander

In the 314th Airlift Wing, we guide ourselves by five key leadership themes: Mission, Standards, Partnerships, Innovation and Focus. While I previously discussed these themes in this column, the time is right to reexamine some of them. Today, Theme number five stands foremost in my mind: Focus.

In the 314th, indeed across all of Team Little Rock, it’s important to remember to focus on what matters—fight the right fight. Specifically, we all need to remember that it is always about our mission, our Airmen and our future. And toward these priorities, we must be deliberate and clearheaded in the development of all three.

These are stressful times in our Air Force. With conclusion of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and NEW DAWN, a significant component of our operations for the last ten years is now absent. Some—probably most—of you know nothing else.

Accompanying this absence are budget reductions, force shaping actions, unit closures, and a myriad of other significant shifts. Here at The Rock, we saw the loss of dozens of civilian and military positions, and some of our friends and teammates have been asked to pursue other career opportunities. There are going to be some airframe changes. With the slightly reduced deployment demand, addition of new Total Force units, and simultaneous reductions in infrastructure, our facilities, flightline and airspace are more cramped.

These stressors are real. But I can assure you that we have been through this before. These times remind me of the period after DESERT STORM, during which we cut significant portions of the Air Force, while simultaneously exceeding our nation’s expectations in places like Somalia, Rwanda, the Balkans, Haiti, among others. We survived, indeed thrived; by remaining steadfastly focused on the three priorities mentioned above…we’ll do it again. So what is your role?

First, keep an eye on the local and expeditionary mission. Continue to be the best you can be in your primary duty. Don’t just meet standards, work to exceed them. Know and do your duty in all things. We live and work in a unique environment of trust and integrity, and don’t ever compromise that environment. Remember this: reputations are earned when people are watching; character is reinforced when people are not. When you are an Airman of Character, the right reputation will follow.

Second, look out for yourself and fellow Airmen. Be a good wingman. Another unique aspect of our military service is that we don’t live with much privacy. And while this aspect can be frustrating, it is also reassuring. We are not alone and must look out for one another. But caring is more than just offering a thoughtful ear and a strong hand. Develop and grow yourself through the multiple personal and professional opportunities that will continue to be available even in these tough fiscal times. If you’re a supervisor, ensure that the folks in your charge do the same. Mentor all, and look for opportunities to grow each individual in accordance with their capabilities.

And this leads directly to our third priority: our future. In times like these, it’s easy to focus on what is being reduced, but we must also take action on opportunities to improve. Leadership at all levels is hungry for your thoughts. Share them in a productive and optimistic manner. Assume goodness in your subordinates, peers and leaders; assume that they have our back. Work together, even outside of your primary areas of expertise, toward making the entire enterprise more effective. Continue to be open to new ideas, even if they come from folks who are younger or outside your career field.

Finally, as we focus on these three priorities, set aside those things that matter less. In spite of the challenges that we will certainly face, we still have the best Air Force in the world. And the adventure will absolutely continue.

Before you decide to be a rebel in areas such as personal and professional conduct, substance abuse, financial responsibility, uniform wear, or any of the other low level distracters that may arise, ask yourself if potential loss of this adventure is worth the short lived thrill of “coloring outside the lines.” Does being a rebel in these areas really contribute to our mission, our Airmen or our future? In many cases, it does not. Therefore, we need to press on and comply. Fight the right fight!


Science is generally viewed as a men’s world. Females are rarely found tinkering around the laboratory or handling mechanical devices, much less inventing one and having it patented under their name.

Patents are the proof of “ownership” of an invention and only the inventor(s) can apply for a patent. In the past, women were not allowed equal rights of property ownership (patents are a form of intellectual property) and many women patented their inventions under their husband’s or father’s names.

Among these women inventors from the past to the present, there are African American women inventors. Many of these women grew up in a time when females and people of color were discriminated against. Their social status may have prevented them from getting an education but this did not stop them from exploring their world and finding ingenious solutions to everyday problems.

Their innate intelligence and determination had brought themtheir personal triumph over adversity and their pioneering spirit will live on in the present generation of women working in the fields of science and technology.

Here are some highlights of the notable inventions contributed by African American women.

(Article Source:

TOP STORY >>Wreath laying honors memory of passed service members

By Staff Sgt. Jacob Barreiro
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Little Rock Air Force Base held a wreath laying ceremony at Heritage Park on base Feb. 17, in honor of five service members who died when performing a flight training mission here Feb. 18, 1972.

The ceremony honored the service of:

Sgt. William D. Blair, a student flight engineer;

Captain Edward R. Breen, an instructor pilot;

1st Lieutenant Maurice F. Cherry, a student pilot;

Tech Sgt. Raymond L. Hughes, an instructor flight engineer, and

1st Lt. Henry M. Thorsen, a student pilot.

On the afternoon of Feb. 18, 1972, the crew of the THULE 80 took off from the base to perform their training mission. After finishing the mission, they turned the aircraft to return to base. At 7:07 p.m., the aircraft collided with a T-37, and lost power in two engines. The THULE 80 crashed, killing the entire crew.

Service members from throughout the base gathered to honor the memory of the deceased, and the wreath was laid at the request of their loved ones.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

CLASSIFIEDS >> 2-17-12


THE COMBAT AIRLIFTER CLASSIFIED DEPARTMENT will take ads by phone from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday 982-9421, or you may mail your ad to 404 Graham Rd., Jacksonville, Ark. 72078. You may also e-mail them to Deadline to advertise in Friday's issue is 5 p.m. Tuesday.

THRIFT SHOP open to the public. MWF, 10 am to 2 pm, first Saturday monthly. Great bargains. All revenues used to support mission. Volunteers and donations welcome. Jacksonville Care Channel, 201 Elm, 982-4647.

A  free one-year membership in Military Officers Association of America is available for active, reserve, & national guard officers who are  not prior members. Contact Central Arkansas Chapter Secretary (


DRIVERS: $1,200 Orientation Completion Bonus & make up to .43 cpm! CDL-A OTR. Experience required. Many routes available! Call now: 1-800-213-7696.


HORSES: LUCKY Acres Boarding Stable, TLC for your horse, box stalls and paddocks, clean pastures, indoor and outdoor arenas, riding instruction and training program. Dressage our specialty. (501) 988-2458.


FREE TO good home, lg. 4 yr. old orange tabby cat. 988-0524.


2011 CAMARO ILT/RS, victory red, 4,500 miles, tons of options, 3.6L V6 eng., must see! $28,500. (989) 820-8205.

2003 HONDA CR-V EX 4WD, silver, 4-cyl., 2.4L, 132K miles, all power, sunroof, towing pkg. lots of extras, runs great, $8,500. (501) 238-0078, Allen.

2000 CADILLAC Seville SLS, 127,300 miles, $4,000. (501) 291-9570 after 5 pm.

'97 MUSTANG convertible, great condition, 5-spd. w/new clutch, almost new tan top, deep cherry red, cold air, great heat, P/W & L, non-smoker, garage kept, no int. rips, lots of new parts, great car! $5,000 obo. (501) 940-5756.


14' FLAT bottom boat, $100. (501) 902-9243.

2006 WILDERNESS camper, sleeps 6, queen-size bed, self contained shower tub, dual axle wheels, $9,299. (501) 837-7225.

BASS BOAT, 2005 Triton TR-20X, 225 hp. Mercury XPS, Lawrence electronics, Minnkota trolling motor, tournament ready, garage kept, $21,000. (501) 681-8498.


PAINTBALL GEAR: Freak kit barrels, $90; pod packs w/pods, $20; Proto elbow pads, $15; knee pads, $10; gear bag, $10. (785) 317-4904.

COMPAQ/HP laptop, 2006, Word, DVD player/ripper, etc. Runs a little slow, needs a little TLC but everything functions, $60. (501) 410-2752.

LOTS OF baby items: Tummy Time toys, Boppy w/cover, vibrating baby chair, bath tub, car seat covers, baby cover, all $5; Graco swing, $30; car seat w/base, $10. Call or text Matt (925) 348-1779.


BROWN LEATHER couch, recliner on each end w/matching reclining chair, excellent condition, $800. (501) 941-8187.


Sherwood/Jacksonville areas. Beautiful 2, 3 & 4 Bedroom Mobile Homes. Large lots, in quiet safe park, close to LRAFB. Clean, quiet, & safe park. $450-$695 plus deposit. (501) 835-3450.

CABOT: 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2-car garage, hardwood/tile floors & new fixtures in 2010. $1,075 month, $1,000 deposit, 1 year lease, no smoking, no pets. (501) 628-1225.

STUDIO APARTMENTS - Jacksonville. Cozy 1 bedroom apts. Bed pulls down from wall in living room. Wood burning fireplace, $275 mo. & util. Military discount available. No children, no pets. Camp Construction, 982-0434.

CABOT SCHOOL District, 1,800 sq. ft., 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 15 minutes to base, large lot, covered patio. $1,000 deposit, $1,300 month rent, no pets. (501) 681-8400.

319 WEATHERING Lane, Austin. Custom built in 2007, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, split bedroom plan, separate laundry, 2 car garage, deck, privacy fence. Washer, dryer & refrigerator included. $124,000. (501) 416-2331.

DUPLEX FOR rent: Located at 61 Cardinal Ln., Cabot. 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,100 sq. ft., refrigerator & washer/dryer hookups included. Built in 2008. $690 per month, $500 deposit. For more details, call (501) 288-4177.

JACKSONVILLE: EXTRA nice 3 BR, 1 1/2 BA house w/1 car garage. Hardwood, tile & carpet flooring w/new fixtures. $650 mo., $600 dep. 1 year lease. No smoking, no pets. (501) 240-7619 or (501) 952-4664.


HOUSE FOR sale, must see! 2 bedroom, 1 bath with carport, newly remodeled, fenced-in backyard with storage building, central heat & air, all electric. Great starter home. (501) 605-2056.

COMMENTARY>>314th celebrates 70 years of flying airlift

By Chris Rumley
314th Airlift Wing historian

On March 2, 1942, the 314th Troop Carrier Group was activated at Drew Field, Fla. For the next 70 years, the 314th designation has been synonymous with airlift. Many of the current squadrons at Little Rock Air Force Base share a common heritage with the 314th Airlift Wing. The 48th Aerial Squadron and the 62nd AS are the wing’s current flying squadrons, but the 50th AS, 53rd AS, and 61st AS all served notably while in the 314th. Wherever this unit has traveled, its maintainers and support personnel have paved the way for success through unrivaled professionalism.

Over the years, this wing has been directly involved in many of the most noteworthy airlift missions of modern warfare. During World War II, the 314th flew in every major airlift and airdrop mission in the European theatre of operations. During the D-Day operation, paratroops that leapt from our planes made the heroic defense of Hill 30 east of the Merderet River. Those paratroops fought off a much larger enemy force for two days, protecting the Allied landings at Utah Beach. Many historians have credited the tenacious stand on Hill 30 as a major factor in the overall success of the American landings in Normandy. General James H. Gavin, the ‘Jumpin’ General’ himself, parachuted from a 314th C-47 onto the fields of Normandy.

There is a comman phrase, “a bridge too far.” It was a comment made by British paratroop commander Gen. Frederick Browning prior to Operation MARKET GARDEN in September 1944. That mission required paratroops to drop near and hold six separate bridge crossing for the advancing tank column. Browning liked his chances, but pointed to the last bridge on the map saying, “…but I think we might be going a bridge too far.” That last bridge crossing was across the Rhine River at Arnhem, Holland. Browning tasked the British 1st Airborne Division and Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade to capture and hold the Rhine crossing. Those units fought heroically, but the advancing tank column failed to reach Arnhem. The paratrooper’s courage in the face of insurmountable odds was legendary. It was the crews and aircraft from the 314th that dropped those units outside Arnhem.

Although still active after the war, the 314th lived a somewhat shadowy existence. The unit survived mostly on paper and no one was exactly sure where “the box” containing the 314th’s paperwork was stored. Nonetheless, the 314th reappeared, flying out of Panama and Caribbean Command from 1946-1948.

In 1948, aircraft and crews from the 314th participated in airlift’s greatest success – the Berlin Airlift. Incidentally, the red lightning flash adorned C-54s of one of the current flying squadrons, the 48th AS, became the iconic symbol of the Berlin Airlift.

During the Korean War, the 314th participated in all 10 named campaigns expanding on their impressive airlift accomplishments. Flying C-119 “Boxcars,” crews from the 314th conducted airdrop missions to surrounded US Forces at the Chosin Reservoir. Chosin was where Gen. Oliver P. Smith reportedly said, “Retreat, Hell! We’re not retreating; we’re just advancing in a different direction!” A large portion of the supplies he needed to get out of Chosin were dropped by the 314th. When Smith’s escape route was cut-off at Koto-ri, the 314th came to the rescue dropping seven Treadway Bridge sections into a narrow mountain pass. Many of those trapped Soldiers and Marines would have perished were it not for an accurate drop of those bridge sections.

In 1957, crews from the 314th flew the first operational non-training mission in the C-130 Hercules. That mission was an airland operation to bring the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Ky., to Little Rock AFB during the Little Rock Central High School desegregation crisis. With fixed bayonets, the paratroops, famed for their World War II stand at Bastogne, protected the nine black students integrating Central High and escorted them to their classes.

Perhaps the greatest accomplishments occurred during the Vietnam War. The 314th AW spent five years, from 1966-1971, stationed in Southeast Asia. During that time C-130 crews from this wing performed heroically at Khe Sanh, Kham Duc, and An Loc just to name a few. During a seven month stretch in Vietnam, crews from the 314th earned two Air Force Crosses, eight Silver Stars, and 30 Distinguished Flying Crosses. The wing was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat “V” device for their actions in Vietnam. From 1966 –1968 the 314th was also tasked for flying the Bob Hope Christmas Troop around Southeast Asia.

Since 1971, the 314th has been stationed at Little Rock AFB and served most of that time as the base host-unit. The dedicated Airmen of this unit built a world-renown C-130 training center and still participated in operations to Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo. Airmen continue to deploy in support of Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

On March 16, the 314th AW will celebrate 70 years of continuous airlift operations by hosting an airlifter’s ball. To focus on the brotherhood of airlifters at Little Rock AFB, we will be joined by one of the world’s premier airlifters, Col. (Ret.) Gail Halvorsen.

Halvorsen is better known as the Candy Bomber from the Berlin Airlift. Despite what patch servicemembers may wear, if they’re at Little Rock, they’re in a brotherhood of airlifters that dates back to the early days of World War II. We hope you can join us in our shared heritage that has made us the foundation of combat airlift.

TOP STORY >>Securities Department marks Military Saves Week by taking aim at fraud targeting military members

Arkansas Securities Department encourages military members and their families to shore up their defenses against investment fraud during Military Saves Week (Feb. 19-26).

“Securities regulators in Arkansas stand ready to help the men and women who serve our country protect their hard-earned dollars,” said Arkansas Securities Department Commissioner Heath Abshure. “Unfortunately, military families may be targeted by con artists who exploit their ties to the military community to gain the trust of their victims.”

“Before you invest, you should contact the Securities Department to determine if the investment and the person recommending it are properly registered in Arkansas,” the Commissioner said. Contact the Arkansas Securities Department at 501-324-9260 or 800-981-4429.

The Arkansas Securities Department also provides several resources designed to help military families learn how to avoid investment fraud, including:

Salute to Smart Investing and Financial Field Manual. This guide to saving, investing, retirement planning and fraud prevention, prepared especially for the Armed Forces, is available online at

Investor Resource Library. Learn more about the Top 10 Investor Traps threatening investors and explore additional resources to help you invest safely.

As a member of the North American Securities Administrators Association, the Arkansas Securities Department is a proud supporter of Military Saves Week and America Saves Week, a national public awareness effort led by the Consumer Federation of America to motivate people to start saving for their financial future. To learn more about America Saves Week, visit

TOP STORY >>Comprehensive Airman Fitness Part 2: How does it apply to me?

By Capt. Mandy McCorkindale
Staff Psychologist, Little Rock AFB

(Author’s note: This article is a continuation from an article in last week’s Combat Airlifter about Air Mobility Command’s Comprehensive Airman Fitness philosophy. CAF is “a philosophy and approach to taking care of people; not a program. It establishes a framework to increase individual and organizational resilience.” The goals of CAF are to create and strengthen a community of fit and resilient Airmen, civilians, and families by enhancing their overall well-being. CAF’s approach to accomplishing these goals is to focus on four core areas of a person’s life: their mental well-being, their social life and activities, their physical health, and their spirituality, which are referred to as the Mental, Social, Physical, and Spiritual “Pillars.”)

In last week’s article, I introduced myself and explained the CAF program as outlined by AMC. In case you missed that article, I should let you know that I am a staff psychologist who was stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base around the same time the CAF program was initiated. I was tasked with implementing it on base, although I was somewhat skeptical of the usefulness of the approach initially. After learning about the philosophy, I had several questions:

What does this all mean to me? How does this Comprehensive Airman Fitness philosophy get carried out? Where am I seeing this happening? In pondering this question, I found myself thinking about several patients I have had over the past year, and one case in particular stood out. After receiving his permission, I would like to tell you just a little about his situation. This gentleman, who I’ll call Paul, was first seen by me as referred by his physician. He was experiencing multiple medical problems, including shoulder and back pain, arthritis, high blood pressure, and thyroid disease. He was in his mid-40s and had failed a few physical fitness tests, and he was on a profile, limiting him to walking and waist measurement only. He was overweight, anxious, and depressed, but he had a lot at stake in keeping his career. Paul has a special needs daughter, and he could not risk losing his medical coverage. Naturally, as a result of all of these stressors in his life and his feelings of, as he put it, “losing control,” Paul was also struggling with some relationship problems.

Initially, Paul and I worked on clarifying his goals, identifying how he was thinking about various aspects of his life, and recognizing his past successes at behavior change. Paul had already accomplished one of the most difficult tasks most people face, quitting smoking, and we drew strength from that experience in helping him to become more confident in changes he could make in other areas of his life.

At the same time I was seeing Paul, his commander was also addressing the PT failures. Fortunately for Paul, he had a supportive Commander and a job that was flexible enough that he was able to enroll in the “Shock and Awe” program through the Health and Wellness Center. With the help and encouragement of the HAWC staff, Paul learned ways to exercise twice a day that did not complicate his existing injuries and pain. However, don’t get me wrong…. Paul experienced some serious pain in order to gain! In therapy he was able to explore the benefits and barriers of this program and to clarify his values, which enabled him to find the strength inside himself to get up every day and keep going back for more. Paul interacted with people in the fitness program, and he found support and education through his weekly meetings with the dietician at the HAWC. This, as well as the support he received from his unit, helped him to have a sense of belongingness. As he lost weight, people would tell him, “Wow, Paul! You look great!” which helped to strengthen those social bonds and improve his self-esteem.

In Paul’s words: “I like myself better now. My self-esteem is higher. I have gained a sense of control over PT by focusing on daily workouts. This has given me the ability to control other areas of my life. Fitness affects so many areas of your life from your job, making rank, financial security to your marriage and ability to parent. But, you have to control it yourself to get there. No one can make you do it. You have to want it. I hate working out, but I’m so glad when it’s over!”

Paul passed his PT test in early September, and he has been able to maintain his fitness regimen, for the most part, since then even while on TDY for several weeks. He now knows what works best for him in managing his physical health, his mental and emotional well-being, and his need for social interaction and support. We have closed our treatment, but I look forward to hearing about Paul’s continued success. I think that’s what CAF is all about.

Thursday, February 9, 2012



There will be a potluck luncheon, at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Base Chapel Annex. Please bring a dish to share for the luncheon.

For details, contact the Chapel Office, 987-6014.


The base chapel invites all members of the base and community to join them each Sunday during February to celebrate Black History Month.

This year’s theme is “Black Women in American History and Culture”, and the chapel will be hosting different events each Sunday to honor this occasion.

Sunday – Warrior Sunday (We’re requesting active duty members to support us in uniform on this Sunday) Speaker: Sister Ella Colvin.


Lenten devotionals and potluck luncheons will be held at the base chapel beginning at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Chapel Annex. They will be held weekly thereafter on March 7, 14, 21 and 28.

For details, contact the Chapel Office, 987-6014.

Crossroads Café hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday. Weekend hours will remain the same, Saturday and Sunday, noon to midnight.

Crossroads Café needs volunteers. Everybody is welcome to volunteer: officers, enlisted, retired and spouses. For more information, call Rachael Deason Lewis at 987-5051.

COMMENTARY>>Defining yourself by balance

Commentary by Col. Todd Pavich
314th Airlift Wing vice commander

What’s in your bio? What’s in your resume? What’s on your SURF? What do you do? All of these are common questions someone has or will ask to find out about you. Does your answer adequately tell your story? I’m intrigued by how people define themselves.

The Air Force is our profession. We train and educate every member in a variety of specialties to serve our nation. We established high standards and hold every Airman accountable to meet these standards. We continue to develop Airman with more education and more training. We give Airman more responsibilities and in turn expect more from them as they advance in rank and time in service. Our Air Force demands and creates professional Airmen, but it should not be the only definition of who we are. One day every one of us will leave the Air Force. How will you define yourself after this occurs?

Introductions are sometimes a bit awkward for me. If the conversation ever progresses beyond my name and how I feel today, the next logical question is what do you do? I’m in the Air Force is usually my response. There was a time in my career when this response accurately defined me, because it was all I did. I was consumed with my mission both during and after duty hours. It was a time when I did not have a balanced life. There is no question, military service is demanding, and there are times you will be asked to commit all your time and energy to execute your mission. But if you spend every waking hour preparing, briefing, executing, reviewing and refining your mission, you may not have the most balanced life. I was like that, and I would venture to say many of us are or were the same.

My first epiphany came when I was very focused on completing my PME and master’s degree. My wife has always been an avid swimmer and cyclist. She started training with some of our neighbors and they all departed one Saturday to compete in her first triathlon. I declined to go and spent the morning working on my thesis. The four of them returned later that afternoon with smiles of achievement and stories of the event. The excitement of the event did not end there and they sat for hours reminiscing and planning for the next event. I quickly realized I had missed out on a significant opportunity, and I was both jealous of them and disappointed in myself. There was more to life than my profession, and if I didn’t find balance, I was going to miss it. Needless to say, I made a change and my wife and I have completed more than 20 triathlons together. I have to say, it’s not about the race or the fitness for me, it’s about the event. I am now also defined by cycling. I have a passion in addition to my Air Force profession.

I had already achieved more of a balance life by the time I was selected for squadron command. While attending my commander’s course, The MAJCOM commander made a statement about balance however, I’ll never forget and I relay often to others. He said we’d be tempted to donate countless hours to our squadrons, but if we made it a normal practice to be at work after 5:30 p.m., he’d hired the wrong person. This surprised me a bit, but I found it refreshing the four-star believed in balance also. He was absolutely correct. It can be difficult to rely on others to complete projects in our stead, but keep in mind we have a force of professionals. Avoid the tendency to do their taskers in addition to yours.

It took me a while to achieve balance, but I’m now not singularly defined by my U.S. Air Force profession. I encourage everyone to find their own balance. Find a purpose or passion unique to you. The next time I’m posed the question, “what do you do,” I’d like to think I’ll respond, I’m a bicycle fanatic, who loves to play the guitar, and is interested in learning how to build furniture and weld. Oh by the way, I’m a professional Airman also.

COMMENTARY>>Getting to know the new Commander

Editor’s note: Col. Brian Robinson is the newly minted commander of the 19th Airlift Wing. This week, the 19th AW Public Affairs staff sat down with him and asked a couple of questions about himself, his new position at Little Rock and his nickname “Smokey”.

Q: Where did you go to college?

A: Philadelphia University, Penn. I majored in computer science.

Q: Any favorite subjects in school?

A: Software engineering, world history, economics, physics.

Q: What are three books that have impacted or significantly influenced your life?

A: 1. We Were Soldiers by Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway. The leadership displayed in such a tough situation, such an interesting time in American history, during the Vietnam War, is really astounding. It was also a time where the military became more concerned with taking care of the families of service members.

2. The J Curve by Ian Bremmer. The book is relevant today; it’s about the process of stabilization from closed societies to open societies. It can directly be applied to our experiences in OEF, OIF and New Dawn.

3. Colin Powell’s biography. I think this is just a great story, to see a man’s humble beginnings and his rise to success. General Powell had to work hard to get where he is and had to create some of his own opportunities.

Q: What’s been your best experience in the Air Force?

A: The jury is still out on that. I can’t pinpoint one single best experience, but there have been a few highlights. I enjoyed being an instructor pilot, and being a part of planning for the surge in Iraq in March of 2003 was a huge highlight.

Q: As the new commander at Little Rock Air Force Base, what’s your vision for the base?

A: I don’t think I have any different vision than the previous commanders here. I see the base as a train heading down the track, and we’re just switching engineers right now. Of course we’ll accomplish the mission with safety, and continue to move towards being the premier base in Air Mobility Command, and we will deliver.

Q: What can the men and women of Little Rock expect from you as the new commander?

A: From me, they can expect honesty. I always try to give people the straight scoop, whether it’s good or bad news. Of course I want to ensure good order and discipline in accordance with the core values of the Air Force. Above all they can expect that I will do all I can to properly care for them and their families.

Q: Do you have any special hobbies or interests?

A: I like to run, play soccer, read about history, spend time with my family and travel.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your family?

A: They’re great. My wife is from Hawaii, we met on active duty in Oklahoma, she got out of the service after 10 years. We have two sons, academically motivated and athletic, interested in a lot of outdoors stuff.

Q: Who’s your favorite soccer team?

A: Worldwide? That’d be Chelsea, although internationally I was very impressed with the Dutch team at the last world cup.

Q: Any favorite era in history you like to read about?

A: I’ve always been interested in World War II; however, the recent history of America, from the 1970s onward, is a very exciting era to live in and interests me a lot too.

Q: Any places in particular you like to travel?

A: I love travelling to New Zealand and Southern Europe, but my favorite place of all time to stop at was Antarctica. We we’re doing a drop down there at McMurdo, we didn’t get to stay long because the plane has a hard time starting if it sits toolong in those frigid temperatures, but being able to go to Antarctica, even for four hours, was really cool.

Q: What’s your favorite food?

A: Mediterranean or seafood. Favorite dish is Salmon anyway you can cook it.

Q: What’s your favorite movie?

A: Hunt for Red October or the Bourne Identity Series.

Q: Favorite American President?

A: George Washington. It seems kind of cliché, and I have been impressed with a lot of recent presidents, but to look at how rough forming a democracy is, and has been, the courage and conviction he had to not only win the Revolutionary War, but continue serving the union after is amazing. The best part is, afterwards, he just went back to being Mr. Washington.

Q: How did you get the nickname “Smokey?”

A: That’s classified. Some things are better as a mystery.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to the service members and citizens on base?

A: I’m happy to be here, happy to serve and look forward to helping people as much as I can here. I hope everyone finds me as approachable as previous commanders. Thanks for the opportunity to serve you.

TOP STORY >>Comprehensive Airman Fitness Part I: What is it?

By Capt. Mandy McCorkindale, PsyD
Staff psychologist, Little Rock Air Force Base

Editor’s note: This article will be continued in next week’s issue of the Combat Airlifter. The Comprehensive Airman Fitness concept will be looked at through the lens of how it applies to each of us as members of this community through a firsthand account of one individual’s journey to regain his mental, social, physical, and spiritual fitness.

“Comprehensive Airman Fitness reflects our commitment to developing a holistic approach to caring for our people that equips, enables and empowers everyone to grow more physically, socially, mentally, and spiritually fit. It’s not another program, but rather, a means to enhance mission effectiveness by intentionally investing in one another.”

— Gen. Raymond E. Johns Jr.,
Air Mobility Command commander

As a new staff psychologist at Little Rock Air Force Base, I was curious about this initiative: Comprehensive Airman Fitness. I arrived on station in September 2010 and one month later this program was rolled out. Being the new kid on the block, I was assigned the task of chairing the “Mental Pillar” of the CAF. “What is this CAF thing?” I asked myself. “How do I wrap my brain around this and make it mean something?” I was skeptical… another Air Force program we have to implement? More meetings? Over the course of the next year, CAF has taken shape and evolved at Little Rock. I’m hoping to help you better understand what this program, Comprehensive Airman Fitness, is and how it is impacting our community.

According to AMC, Comprehensive Airman Fitness is “a philosophy and approach to taking care of people, not a program. It establishes a framework to increase individual and organizational resilience.” The goals of CAF are to create and strengthen a community of fit and resilient Airmen, civilians, and families by enhancing their overall well-being. CAF’s approach to accomplishing these goals is to focus on four core areas of a person’s life: their mental well-being, their social life and activities, their physical health, and their spirituality. CAF uses a pictorial representation of this approach to explain how this works and refers to these areas of a person’s life as the “pillars.” These pillars are denoted as the Mental, Social, Physical, and Spiritual, and they are supported by a foundation of leadership, including the representatives of agencies on base that provide services to contribute to the health of these pillars within each member of the community. These agencies, events, and activities collaborate to provide services to support a sense of well-being, life balance, and resilience to the military members, their families, civilians who work here, and to the community in general. Additionally, as a way of enhancing a sense of belonging to this community, five specific behaviors have been identified as essential to developing a healthy sense of self and an ability to effectively interact with others. They are actions we can all take to improve our community, and they are: Caring, Committing, Connecting, Communicating, and Celebrating. These behaviors are the focus of the CAF philosophy and serve as the thread running throughout the fabric of our community.

So what are these pillars and what do they mean? I asked myself that question too. As explained by AMC, each pillar represents an important area of a person’s life and certain agencies, programs, and services are provided to enhance or improve that targeted area. For example, the Mental pillar’s goal is to help members of this community to approach life’s challenges in a positive way by demonstrating self-control, stamina, and good character with choices and actions, as well as to encourage people to seek help and offer help. Programs such as the “Building Healthy Relationships Seminar” at the First Term Airmans Center or the Frontline Supervisors Training Course help Airmen to learn ways to manage stress; both their own and recognizing distress in other Airmen. Outreach education on topics, such as suicide prevention, that is provided by the Mental Health Clinic to the Key Spouses and other groups on base are another example of how prevention efforts are targeted toward the Mental pillar’s goals. I could go on and on since this is my area of expertise, but there are other pillars!

The Social pillar’s focus is on developing and maintaining trusting, valued friendships that are personally fulfilling and foster good communication, including the exchange of ideas, views, and experiences. Events such as the Welcome Home Warriors, “Healthy Dorms” events (including organized outdoor activities, video game tournaments, etc.), and all the festivals are examples of how Little Rock strives to embody the spirit of the Social pillar.

Next, performing and excelling in physical activities that require aerobic fitness, endurance, strength, flexibility, and body composition derived through exercise, nutrition, and training is the focus of the Physical pillar. I think this one is the easiest to spot when you take a look at base activities! We have a fantastic Health and Wellness Center that provides certified staff to support Airmen and their families in attaining their fitness goals, putting on Fun Runs and Sports Days, leading Vital 90 and other programs to help with passing the PT tests, and teaching classes on everything from yoga to tobacco cessation. The base also has a medical clinic staffed with qualified and caring physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and physical therapists.

Finally, the goal of the Spiritual pillar is to strengthen a set of beliefs, principles, or values that sustain a person beyond familial, institutional, and societal sources of strength. Spiritual does not necessarily have to mean “religion.” Some people get their strength from religion but others do not. However, we all need a sense of hope, purpose, and meaning, and enhancing this is the focus of the Spiritual pillar. Activities such as Marriage Enrichment counseling offered through the chapel or their other spiritual retreat programs are just a few of the ways in which the base targets supporting this pillar. There are also couples’ workshops, such as the “Strong Bonds” program, offered through the Mental Health clinic or individual counseling for couples and families through the Family Advocacy Program. By providing a safe and fun environment for dorm residents, the Crossroads Café is yet another example of how Little Rock strives to enhance and support the Spiritual pillar. I have really only touched on just a few of the services provided by various agencies across the base. There are many more services, programs, activities, and events that are provided to help support our community, and collaboration between individuals, agencies, and service providers occurs on a regular basis to provide a comprehensive approach to “total force fitness.”

In addition to the pillars, the Comprehensive Airman Fitness approach is tied together by the actions or behaviors we can all do to carry out this philosophy. Action words are used to promote a healthy sense of self and to enhance relationship with others. Caring: refers to caring for ourselves as well as those around us by exhibiting integrity, empathy, and respect in what we choose to do and say. Committing: making a commitment to help others become their best so that lasting bonds are formed and we are seen as individuals who appreciate another’s point of view. Connecting: is an intentional effort to develop the skills to effectively reach out to others in ways that add value to both their lives as well as our own. Communicating: in a positive and proactive way in order to increase the chances of effectively connecting with those around us. Celebrating: success through recognition and praise to those who achieve superior performance; just as they are committed to sharing constructive feedback following failure.

TOP STORY >>¬First Lady samples food transformation initiative

By Staff Sgt. Jacob Barreiro
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

First Lady Michelle Obama visited the Hercules Dining Facility here Feb. 9 to survey the pilot food transformation initiative program on base.

The visit was part of a three-day tour by the First Lady commemorating the second anniversary of her “Let’s Move!” program designed to combat childhood obesity.

In addition to hearing about the specific healthy eating efforts on base, the First Lady also made an announcement about the military’s drive to provide a variety of nutritious foods to all service members and their families.

“I am truly proud to be here today as the Department of Defense is making a groundbreaking commitment to the health of our troops and their families,” the First Lady said.

“And this is a big day,” she continued. “That’s why we brought all these people. It’s huge. As Dr. Woodson explained, for the first time in 20 years, the DOD is updating their nutritional standards to include more fresh fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy products with every single meal. So that means more DOD installations will offer the kind of fresh, healthy food that the Air Force’s Food Transformation Initiative helped bring here to Little Rock.”

Obama said the announcement meant that more DoD facilities will be able to provide service members the same variety of nutritious food available because of the FTI program on base.

“The DOD is also going to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of every single (American) military base to make sure they’re serving healthy food not just to those in uniform, but to their families,” the First Lady said. “They’ll be looking to improve the food served in dining facilities, school cafeterias, vending machines, snack bars and any other places where military families purchase food.”

“So this isn’t just a drop in the bucket,” Obama continued. “I mean, this is really a big splash. This will affect more than 1,000 dining facilities and nearly 1.5 million troops. Simply put, this is an example of America’s entire military once again stepping forward to lead by example.”

The First Lady said the service members of Little Rock have provided a model of what will be seen throughout the entire armed forces. She credited the base’s leadership with havingthe foresight to jump ahead, and the service members for doing their best to jump on board with the new program.

“So I want to make sure that you tell your families thank you, from me,” the First lady said at the end of her speech. “Tell them that we are proud of them all. We are working hard for them as well, because you all know that as you sacrifice, they are sacrificing right alongside you. So these benefits have to affect them as well.”

Dr. Jonathan Woodson, the assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and director of Tricare Management, also delivered a speech at the Hercules DFAC to an assembly of base leaders, 19th Force Support Squadron Airmen cooks, and assorted Airmen from around the base.

“Obesity is a national challenge that can only be solved by a national effort,” the doctor said during his speech. “Although our service members and their families are healthier on average than the general population, the military is not isolated from the influence of poor nutritious choices, that are affecting the larger society.”

Woodson said the health problems related to obesity are more than enough reason for the DOD to turn its attention to a progressive nutritional awareness campaign.

The First Lady visited nearly 16 months after Little Rock Air Force Base adopted the FTI program, a pilot program designed to enhance food service quality, variety and availability to customers by overhauling the previous food service system. Previously the base food production model was a traditional cafeteria model. When surveys projected a low satisfaction rate among customers, the Air Force responded by introducing a new food model, the FTI.

Initial response to the FTI included an increase in customer satisfaction. According to a customer satisfaction survey, based on the American customer Satisfaction Index, overall satisfaction with dining facilities under the FTI increased from an aggregate score of 67 under the old model to a score of 75.

The nutritional value of food provided to service members and their families is an important issue for the White House, which maintains childhood obesity has become a national security issue, with more than one-quarter of the nation’s 17-24 year-olds too overweight to serve in the U.S. military. The Department of Defense also spends an estimated $1.4 billion per year on medical care associated with excess weight and obesity.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

COMMENTARY>>New commander takes charge at The Rock

By Staff Sgt. Jacob Barreiro

19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Col. Brian Robinson, 19th Air-lift Wing commander, accepted the guidon Tuesday and officially assumed command of the 19th AW from Col. Mike Minihan, the outgoing commander.

Lt. Gen. Mark Ramsay, 18th Air Force commander, served as ceremony officiator and spoke enthusiastically about the future of the base.

“This is a great day for the Air Force,” he said during his speech. “It’s a great day for Team Little Rock and the community.” Ramsay would go on to say Little Rock is the busiest base in the Air Force, and will be for the foreseeable future, but he had confidence in the new commander to rise to the standard.

“We replaced the best with the best,” said Ramsay.

In his farewell address Minihan thanked his family, civilian Airmen, Airmen and tenant units on base.

“To have fought with the Black Knights, to call this command my home, has been the honor and privilege of my life, thank you,” he said in his speech.

Robinson said he was excited to join TLR and embraced the opportunity to lead and serve what he says are America’s finest Airmen. He ended his speech by reaffirming the mission of TLR.

“Somewhere, someone in the world expects us to deliver for them to prevail, and Team Little Rock will deliver,” he said.

TOP STORY>>12 Arkansans on record as trained at Tuskegee between 1941-1946

Of the more than 900 African-American Army Air Corp cadets, personnel and support staff trained at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute between 1941 and 1946, 12 are documented Arkansans.

Woodrow Crockett, a Dunbar High School graduate; William Mattison, who attended Pine Street School in Conway and the former Arkansas A&M College – now University of Arkansas at Monticello; Herbert Clark of Pine Blue and Richard Caesar, born in Lake Village, successfully completed training at Tuskegee and became World War II fighter pilots.

Granville Coggs, a Pine Bluff native, served as a weather observer until 1946. Jerry Hodges Jr., born in Heth, served as a base statistical control officer and administrative assistant to the director of the Twin Engine Flight Training Program.

James Ewing, of Helena, and Denny Jefferson, of Little Rock, served at flight officers. Both were killed, along with five other crew members, when their B-25bomber crashed four miles east of Gunter Field in June 1945.

Alexander Anderson, served as a one of the first African-American paratroopers. He executed the first parachute jump at Tuskegee, becoming a pioneer in the use of parachutes.

Milton Crenchaw, born in Little Rock, was one of the first African Americans trained as a civilian licensed pilot.

Little is known about Marsille Reed, a Tillar native, and Aurelius Perkins other than they were early Arkansans at Tuskegee Institute program.

(Information courtesy of

TOP STORY>>Little Rock Remembers: Arkansas’ first Tuskegee Airman

By Airman 1st Class Regina Agoha 

19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

(Editor’s note: this is the first in a series of articles that highlights the greater Little Rock area’s journey to equal education, integration and civil rights equality.)

Little Rock Air Force Base Airmen of all ethnicities and backgrounds fly together in the air, fight together on land and win together by completing the missions with integrity and professionalism. They know that race doesn’t determine resilience, skin color doesn’t determine skill level and cultural diversity doesn’t determine dedication. No matter how different their wingman is, each Airman knows they need each other to get the job done.

It wasn’t always this way. Less than 100 years ago, the military wasn’t completely integrated, and African Americans weren’t allowed to perform certain jobs that whites felt they weren’t good enough for, one job being flying as a pilot.

Before there was equal education for all races, before there was equal opportunity for all races, before there were black astronauts and presidents, before there was a Little Rock Air Force Base, there was Milton Pitts Crenchaw and the Tuskegee Airmen.

On April 3, 1939, the Public Law 18 was passed in order for the Army Air Corps to expand. The law also stated that black colleges should create training programs for certain areas in the Air Corps support services. This law helped to prepare the blacks to be skilled at more than just the mediocre jobs.

At that time, Crenchaw, a native of Little Rock, Ark., was attending the Tuskegee Institute, founded in Tuskegee, Ala., by Booker T. Washington in 1881, where he was in the process of attaining his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. After the training program surfaced, he put his degree on hold to train and become a pilot.

There were 11 white officers assigned to train 429 enlisted men and 47 officers at the institute, including Crenchaw, who would later be called the Tuskegee Airmen. Because the military was still segregated, some of the white service members didn’t agree with the training, they made it known. The Tuskegee Airmen had to endure hardships of the training, as well as ridicule from racist military officials, but they kept going and succeeded.

Crenchaw became one of the original Tuskegee Airmen of 1939 and the first African American from Arkansas to be trained by the federal government as a civilian-licensed pilot. He was one of 12 Arkansas natives documented who performed different roles at the Institute. Some of those roles included flight instructor, pilot, flight officer, engineer, bombardier, navigator, radio technician, air traffic controller, parachute rigger, weather observer, medical professional, and electronic communications specialist.

From 1941 to 1946 more than 2,000 African Americans completed training at the Tuskegee Institute; more than 900 qualified as pilots. Out of that 900, approximately half went overseas and fought during the war, and four of those Airman were from Arkansas. In 1948, President Truman ordered the desegregation of the United States Military.

Throughout Crenchaw’s career he donned many hats. He received his civilian pilot license and commercial pilot certificate and became a primary civilian flight instructor. He was a pilot training officer and one of the two original supervising squadron commanders at Tuskegee until 1946. Crenchaw taught aviation at Philander Smith College in Little Rock from 1947 to 1953. He was also employed by the Central Flying Service and worked as a crop-duster in the central Arkansas and Delta regions, just to name a few of his many careers.

In 1998, Crenchaw was inducted into the Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame. He was honored by Gov. Mike Beebe on March 27, 2007, for his efforts as a Tuskegee flight instructor and service to his country. Crenchaw, along with the other members of the Tuskegee Airmen, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President George W. Bush on March 29, 2007, in Washington, D.C. -The Tuskegee Airmen are the largest group to ever receive this medal. Crenchaw was also inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame on October 27, 2007.

Because of Crenchaw and the Tuskegee Airmen, all service members have a right to any job their skills qualify them for. Because of them, blacks, whites and other races can serve this country uniformed and unbiased. Because of this history, Little Rock can stand tall and say, “because of one man, we were there when history was forever changed.”