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315th AW host Tuskegee Airmen Career Day

  • Published
  • By Michael Dukes
  • 315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. — More than 120 middle and high school students from 17 Lowcountry schools visited the 315th Airlift Wing to learn about careers in aviation as part of the wing’s fourth annual Tuskegee Airmen Career Day here, Feb. 21.

This year’s guest speaker was Chief Master Sgt. (ret.) Dorn Slaughter, who served as 437th Maintenance Squadron superintendent in charge of about 400 enlisted maintainers. He talked to the students about his journey and choices throughout his career path.

After the initial welcome and hearing the guest speaker in the base theater, the students toured a C-17 Globemaster III where they spoke with aircrew members who described their typical responsibilities on the aircraft, including flying the jet, managing and loading the cargo, caring for wounded warriors in flight, and more. During the career fair portion of the day, the students learned of various jobs in the aviation career field. 

A popular attraction at the career fair was a Security Forces K-9 demonstration by the 628th Security Forces Squadron. As is usually the case at K-9 demonstrations, all in attendance were captivated as one of the Security Forces officers demonstrated how officers control an uncooperative suspect.

Other popular attractions at the career fair included the 628th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team with their simulated bombs, remote-controlled robot, and 80-pound “Hurt Locker” bomb protective suit.

Attendees also had the opportunity to learn defensive techniques. The students were hesitant to swing the foam covered baton at the 315th Security Forces Airman, who was wearing a “red man” sparing protective suite. But after another security forces Airman demonstrated how it was done, the students got into the spirit and began to whale on the Airman in the red man suit.

There were also displays where the students learned about other aviation careers, including engineering, aerospace medicine, aerial port cargo handling, and aircraft maintenance. Serveral members from the Hiram Mann Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen in Walterboro spoke to the students about their history and opportunities now available.

The students also visited the 373rd Training Squadron, Det. 5, where they saw sections of a C-17 Globemaster III, including the entire inside of the flight deck, a complete tail section of the jet and an engine.

The career day was created by the 315th Airlift Wing to encourage young men to explore opportunities in aviation and to commemorate African American history month.

The Tuskegee Airmen were instrumental to victory over Germany during World War II. The 996 African American pilots, and more than 15,000 ground personnel who served with these units, flew more than 15,500 combat sorties and earned more than 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses.