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So here I am

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. --

As I sit and ponder on what Black History Month means to me, I can’t help but to wonder, am I wrong for wanting to celebrate and remember those who have come before us and those who are still making a difference today?  For me, this month is a time of education, appreciation, and understanding of who we are, where we’ve been, and what we plan to do for our future. 

The late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.  Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” 

So, who am I?  I am an African American woman who comes from a culture that has endured many hardships and pain.  I can in no way imagine having walked in the shoes of such great American icons as Harriet Tubman, an American bondwoman who escaped slavery and worked for the Union Army during the Civil War.  Her efforts help liberate more than 700 slaves in South Carolina.  Or another influential person in history, Maya Angelou, was an American author, poet, and civil rights activist.  Angelou endured first-hand the brutality and racial discrimination that was prevalent during the 1930s and 1940s, which led her to share her stories and experience with racism, poverty, seeking higher education, as well as living through and participating in the civil rights movements. 

I personally would not compare my life experiences with the lives of these two great women.  But, what I do have to offer is my own story. 

I was born during the end of the Vietnam War, my father an African American and my mother a Vietnamese citizen.  My parents have always shared with me the day they had to decide on the fate of my future.  Would my mother and I stay in Vietnam or would they process the paperwork to give me a life in the United States?  You see, the struggles and fight for equality and cultural acceptance was fought and won here in American, but those same rights were non-existent in my country of birth.  Had we stayed I wouldn’t have been allowed to attend the schools, seek employment for decent pay, or even marry an Asian man unless he was of mixed race too.  I’m always reminded by other mixed race children from Vietnam, who came to the U.S. later in age, to be thankful for what I have and to continue to share my story with others. 

So in my own words, I am thankful for the freedoms I have been afforded, the acceptance of others all around me, and knowing that my dreams are a possibility as long as I continue to reach for it!  And reach for it I did! 

I joined the U.S.  Air Force in 1998 and it’s a commitment I have never once regretted.  During my career, I have been honored to hold different positions that required me to serve with strength, determination, and confidence.  When the Air Force released the 2015 Diversity and Inclusion Initiative to promote an all-encompassing, rewarding and flexible environment in which we retain and maximize the talents of our country’s best minds,   it reaffirmed my commitment. 

If I could sit with those who came before me, such as Harriet Tubman, and tell her my stories of leading, training, and educating the numerous diverse groups of extraordinary men and women…it would make her so proud, because in her eyes…I am a hero…I am a leader…and I am influential.  You see, dreams do come true and I owe it to her for dreaming it.  If I could say anything to Ms. Tubman it would be, thank you for believing, for fighting, and for seeing the possibilities of my future.  So here I am…standing tall, thankful and proud of wanting to honor Black History month, so that we can continue to celebrate and remember those who have come before us and those who are still making a difference today.

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🇺🇸🇨🇱This week 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) hosted Airmen to Airmen talks between the United States Air Force and the Fuerza Aérea De Chile. Chilean Air Force Major General Francisco Torres led the Chilean delegation in planning future multinational events between the two Air Forces.
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#DYK Since 2012, Colombian forces and the @SCGuard have worked and trained together as part of the The National Guard’s State Partnership Program. Watch this video on the South Carolina Air National Guard training and flying with the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana during exercise Relampago 4 earlier this month. #EnduringPromise
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After a successful F-AIR Colombia air show, the U.S. and the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana continued their work together during Exercise Relámpago! Airmen from the South Carolina Air National Guard worked closely with their counterparts in the Colombian Air Force and continued to share knowledge, exchange experiences and improve interoperability between partner nations. #Relámpago4 #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia
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🇺🇸🇨🇱This week 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) hosted Airmen to Airmen talks between the United States Air Force and the Fuerza Aérea De Chile. Chilean Air Force Major General Francisco Torres led the Chilean delegation in planning future multinational events between the two Air Forces.
🇺🇸🇬🇾 United States Air Force Staff Sargent Brandon Tucker was the master artist behind the designs for 5 New Horizons ceremonial keys! The keys are given during the handover of each completed project. Four small keys for each construction site and a 10 foot tall key for the handover of our camp facilities.
#EnduringPromise 🇺🇸🇬🇾U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army engineers have finished 4 construction projects in Guyana as part of the New Horizons Training Exercise 2019. Each year New Horizons Training Exercise is conducted in a different Partner Nation, this is the 3rd time it's been held in Guyana.
#DYK Since 2012, Colombian forces and the @SCGuard have worked and trained together as part of the The National Guard’s State Partnership Program. Watch this video on the South Carolina Air National Guard training and flying with the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana during exercise Relampago 4 earlier this month. #EnduringPromise
🇺🇸🇭🇳Great insight into the role of Joint Task Force-Bravo, stationed at the Honduran Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. The U.S. military task force provides medical assistance and disaster response in the region while supporting our Central American partners.
#ICYMI last week New Horizons team gathered with the village of Yarrowkabra and Amelia's Ward, Linden to celebrate the completion and handover ceremonies for two community centers.
Another great Subject Matter Expert Exchange between the United States Air Force and the Fuerza Aérea De Chile! This is the second Helicopter H-60 model information exchange between the two Air Forces this year! 🇨🇱🇺🇸#PromesaDuradera #EnduringPromise U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM)
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The F-AIR COLOMBIA air show last month was a great example of the successful partnership between the United States Air Force and the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana. Check out our video highlighting this crucial partnership! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia South Carolina Air National Guard Air Force Thunderbirds
Hear firsthand the changes the #USNSComfort and crew are providing for those in need as a patient reflects on her experience aboard the U.S. Navy hospital ship after receiving cataract surgery. #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
Some amazing humanitarian work still underway at the New Horizons Training Exercise! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
A construction update from our team at New Horizons Training Exercise! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
Admiral Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), recently paid a visit to the #USNSComfort in Costa Rica, which is on a 5-month, 12-nation humanitarian mission in the region. Check out the video below! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
#EnduringPromise Take a moment to check out all the work the New Horizons Guyana construction members have accomplished on across Linden and the village of Yarrowkabra.
Airmen from the U.S. and Colombia have worked closely this month during Exercise Relámpago! F-16s from the South Carolina Air National Guard have joined with Kfir fighters from the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana for this critical air-to-air exercise, which was also an opportunity to build relationships and strengthen ties between two partner nations. #Relámpago4 #EnduringPromise #Promesaduradera U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia
The South Carolina Air National Guard worked together with the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana for exercise Relámpago in Rionegro, Colombia. Check out this video overview on how the United States Air Force works together with partner nations. #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera #Relámpago4 U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia
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Unsafe intercepts such as this are irresponsible. They increase the risk and potential for collisions. International airspace needs to be a place where everyone flies safely and within international norms.
After a successful F-AIR Colombia air show, the U.S. and the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana continued their work together during Exercise Relámpago! Airmen from the South Carolina Air National Guard worked closely with their counterparts in the Colombian Air Force and continued to share knowledge, exchange experiences and improve interoperability between partner nations. #Relámpago4 #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia
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