AF recognizes African-American History Month

  • Published
  • By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
Throughout the history of the United States, African Americans have significantly contributed to the rich heritage and culture of this country in all areas of society.

2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the most famous African-American unit of World War II; the 332nd Fighter Group manned by the Tuskegee Airmen. The 99th Fighter Squadron, formed on March 22, 1941, entered combat in North Africa and by May 1945 the 332nd Fighter Group, consisting of the 99th, 100th, 301st and the 302nd Fighter Squadrons, had established an outstanding combat record.

Prominent African-American Airmen include Brig. Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Jr., a Tuskegee Airman and the first African-American U.S. Air Force general officer; Gen. Daniel "Chappie" James, who became the first African-American Air Force full general and Chief Master Sgt. Thomas N. Barnes, the first African-American chief master sergeant of the Air Force.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Black/African Americans make up 13.2% of the nation's population. Currently 14% of Airmen identify as Black or African American. (This percentage does not include those who have declined to respond or those who identify as multiple races/ethnicities).

Diversity and inclusion are critical force multipliers and national security imperatives. Air Force decision-making and operational capabilities are enhanced by diversity and inclusion in our force, making us more agile, innovative and effective.