MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Three Moody Airmen were recognized during the 2017 National Public Benefit Flying Awards, Nov. 29, in Arlington, Va.
Taking home the Distinguished Volunteer award, these Airmen hosted the largest Legacy Flight Academy’s “Eyes Above the Horizon” youth aviation diversity outreach event in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen. This past summer, they gave approximately 100 South Georgian youth a chance to fly and explore aviation and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics career opportunities.
For Maj. Gen. Mark Brown, Air Education and Training deputy commander, seeing Moody’s AETC Airmen volunteer in the LFA programs exhibits selfless service.
“This award reflects the commitment to our core values of service and excellence,” said Brown. “Recently, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force (General David L. Goldfein) encouraged all of us to remember and honor the Tuskegee Airmen and the work of the Legacy Flight Academy does just that.”
Humbled to receive recognition amongst their peers in the pilot community, the biggest reward for Maj. Aaron Jones, 81st Fighter Squadron A-29 instructor pilot, Capt. Eric Johnson 23d Civil Engineer Squadron section commander, and Staff Sgt. Johnnie Blount, 81st FS Aviation Resource Manager, was the ability to positively impact today’s youth while familiarizing them with the tools necessary to succeed in the future.
“It is no surprise that STEM is the future,” said Jones. “With the focus on public education gearing towards STEM based curriculums, it is paramount that we get America’s youth to understand the importance of STEM and the impact it has on society. Everything we do in this technologically based society can be tied to some form of STEM. The younger they are introduced to it the more likely they are to pursue STEM based careers and excel in them.
“As adults, teachers, and mentors, it is our responsibility to make sure future generations have the knowledge and tools needed to be successful to continue to be catalyst for change within society,” Jones added. “Introducing (individuals) to STEM, specifically aviation, is resourceful to the Air Force in the sense that building a foundation early so that students see a career in the Air Force as a possibility and something worth preparing for in their education endeavors.”
After a day of seeing the youth channel their pilot aspirations, the team was excited to see how their mentorship would be invaluable for the attendees.
“Some of the students in our program would never have had the opportunity to participate in aviation programs or even see it as career choice for them,” said Jones. “Seeing a student who has never seen a plane, let alone actually fly the plane, and participate and share the joy of flying, lives up to the ‘Eyes Above the Horizon’ motto, “the sky is the limit, until it’s your point of view.”
Jones hopes to offer this point of view to more youth during next year’s EAH event and continue the LFA’s pledge towards inspiring youth to fly and embracing the Tuskegee Airmen’s rich legacy.