BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable…Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Buckley Air Force Base kicked-off Black History Month on Feb. 6, 2018, with guest speaker Lt Col (Ret) Vorry Moon, an African American service member who was a pilot during the Vietnam War.
Black History Month was established in 1976 by President Gerald R. Ford who proclaimed to Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Since its inception in 1976, Black History Month continues to shed light on the struggles and continued progress of African Americans in the U.S.
Moon is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hubert L. “Hooks” Jones Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. in Aurora, Colorado. He uses his current position to inspire and educate black youth within the community in hopes they will follow the same path toward service and aviation.
“I knew of the Tuskegee Airmen before going into service,” said Moon. “Two of my Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Instructors were documented original Tuskegee Airmen - Lt. Colonel Howard Baugh and Colonel Hannible Cox - who made sure every ROTC Cadet knew the history of the Tuskegee Airmen. They were both my inspiration and mentors throughout my career.”
Although racial tensions were nearing their peak in the late sixties while Moon was entering pilot training in Selma, Alabama, he was more concerned about getting through the training than the environment at the time for African Americans.
“I was more nervous about completing the course to become a pilot than about the racial environment,” said Moon. “I had dealt with racial prejudice all my life and this didn't strike me as any different.”
Since retiring from the Air Force, Moon has become a successful business man and active within local politics. He has seen the U.S. come a long way in race relations since the Civil Rights movement and continues to educate people on the history of African Americans within the service.
“The easing of racial tensions has made slow but positive strides during the years since the civil rights movement was in full force in the sixties,” said Moon. “However, there is still a lot of work to be done by all of us.”
CMSgt. Rodney Bryant, 2nd Space Warning Squadron chief enlisted manager, was in attendance at Lt Col (Ret) Vorry Moon’s presentation on the Tuskegee Airmen. Progress in race relations can be seen through his experiences in the Air Force over the last twenty plus years.
“I’ve never experienced racism, but I’d like to think through our zero tolerance of discrimination that race relations has improved over the years,” said Bryant. “Every Commander and supervisor I’ve encountered over my 25 years of service had zero tolerance toward any form of discrimination. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen but I believe our comradery and team cohesion in the military makes it less of a problem.”