Tuskegee Airmen pass down wisdom

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By Catrina Head | News Editor

Students of varying majors crowded into the Innovator’s Auditorium on Oct. 14 to hear retired Master Sgt. Buford Johnson and retired Tech. Sgt. Edison T. Marshall Jr. share their experiences in the Air Force.

“We’re actually covering the history of the aviation industry in our Introduction to Aviation class, so this was a perfect fit for us right now; bringing actual World War II veterans to campus so the students can see first Students of varying majors crowded into the Innovator’s Auditorium on Oct. 14 to hear retired Master Sgt. Buford Johnson and retired Tech. Sgt. Edison T. Marshall Jr. share their experiences in the Air Force.

“We’re actually covering the history of the aviation industry in our Introduction to Aviation class, so this was a perfect fit for us right now; bringing actual World War II veterans to campus so the students can see firsthand some of the heroes of the military from the time period that we’ve actually been studying,” said Dr. Daniel Prather, chair of the aviation science department.

The event began with the presenting of the colors by the California Baptist University Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

Next, Prather took the stage and introduced the president of the Buford A. Johnson chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Dr. Alan Cummings.

Cummings explained that his goals for the event were to inspire the new generation concerning aviation science.

“I feel privileged to be a bridge between generations and to help them appreciate what occurred before in life,” Cummings said.

Cummings then introduced Marshall, who gave a brief overview of his life before, during and after entering the military. He explained that when he was an adolescent, the only option besides college was the military and most people could not afford college.

Marshall expressed that he enjoyed his time in the Air Force and said he would recommend that sector of the military to those who desire to join.

He also explained that Tuskegee Airmen Inc. has 40 scholarships available at $1,500 each and encouraged those interested in aviation to apply.

Next, Johnson, decorated World War II veteran and Tuskegee Airman, was welcomed to the stage by applause from the audience. Johnson gave a brief overview of his life as a Tuskegee Airman.

He explained the principles of the Tuskegee Airmen were to “aim high, believe in yourself, use your brain, never quit and expect to win.”

“With these principles, there is no reason why you should think you can’t do what you set your mind to,” Johnson said.

All of the speakers at the event not only encouraged perspective pilots, but the student body in general to overcome obstacles and pursue their dreams.

As the event came to a close, Robert Quirk, assistant professor of aviation science, presented Johnson with a $500 donation from the aviation science department to go towards the Tuskegee Scholarship Fund.

Applause rang throughout the auditorium as Johnson’s speech ended and the audience stood up from their seats and offered a standing ovation.

About Catrina Head

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