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U.S. Air Force (Retired) Chief Master Sgt. James Cotten, poses for a photo after an interview in Norfolk, Va., July 18, 2017. Cotten served from August 1945 to January, 1966. During the first part of his career Cotten was assigned to the Army Air Corps, 334th Fighter Interceptor Squadron to work with the Tuskegee Airmen. Tuskegee Airman trail blazes through history
In the early 20th century the military was a different experience for some. Among those members was U.S. Air Force retired Chief Master Sgt. James Cotten, a Tuskegee Airman, who was drafted at the age of 18 in 1945. Cotten, an air operations specialist, was stationed at Lockbourne Army Air Field, the U.S. military went through a lot of changes. In 1947 the U.S. Air Force became its own military branch and in 1948 the U.S. military became desegregated; after which Cotton became the first African-American to be assigned to Langley Air Force Base.
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2017
U.S. Air Force Col. Dustin P. Smith, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces Central Command chief of staff, promotes Col. Kristine B. Smith, 710th Combat Operations Squadron deputy director from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., July 14, 2017, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. The former USAFCENT chief of staff promoted his wife as his last official duty in the Air Force before retirement. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado) Colonel promotes wife, performs last official duty in AF before retiring
Family is often an integral part of military promotion ceremonies. Spouses, children, parents, siblings and other relatives witness the time-honored ceremony and take part in the tradition of pinning or tacking on the next rank. For Col. Kristine B. Smith, 710th Combat Operations Squadron deputy director at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, her promotion meant a little more this time. Col. Dustin P. Smith, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces Central Command chief of staff at Shaw Air Force Base, and Kristine’s husband, stood right by her side as he promoted her July 14.
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2017
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