386th AEW celebrates Black History Month

Airmen from the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing came together to honor the significant contributions African-Americans have made to our nation and to the U.S. military, Feb. 27.

Col. Stephen Hodge, 386th AEW commander speaks at the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Black History Month celebration at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Feb. 27. 2018. Throughout the day, volunteers shared their personal stories and spoke to the accomplishment of significant African-American historical figures.

SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Airmen from the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing came together to honor the significant contributions African-Americans have made to our nation and to the U.S. military, February 27.

“It’s a great opportunity to just stop for a minute, and recognize the individual contributions of some people who did so against great odds and overcame obstacles to succeed,” said Col. Stephen Hodge, 386th AEW commander. “Some of these elements are key to keeping us energized as an organization, as an Air Force, as a service and really, as a greater nation.”

Hodge said the theme for the event was especially relevant to those serving during war. He noted that the perspective of each Airman’s deployed life provides a unique outlook, especially when servicing during a time of war.

“Their contributions to the mission and their legacies are going to far outlast their time in service,” Hodge said. “We are here to hear their stories; their stories are what set them apart.”

Throughout the day, volunteers shared their personal stories and spoke to the accomplishment of significant African-American historical figures.

The event opened with Tech. Sgt. Deng Pour, 386th AEW chaplain’s assistant, recounting his story of how he came to America and why he decided to join the Air Force. Pour grew up a refugee from war-torn southern Sudan, a “Lost Boy”; one of approximately 20,000 children displaced to Kenyan refugee camps in the early 1990s.

“This is my third time coming here to (undisclosed location), I think it’s important what we do here,” said Pour. “You sacrifice so much to be away from your families, so that someone like me can stand here.”

Senior Airman Jetro Davis, 1st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Group, a Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force operations manager, said that Black History Month and events like this motivate him to do better, in life and as an Airmen, because it allows him to see people who look like him serving and obtaining the highest ranks within our military.

“I feel like it will help bring us together as a society” said Davis. “To be honest there is a lot of negativity out there at the moment and a lot of disparity between different groups,” he said. “I feel that if people do the research and see the history, see how far we have come as a nation and to see everybody’s contribution to what makes America a great place they will be able to better understand black culture and America culture as a whole.”