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Black History Month: Highlighting those who serve - 3

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Grossi
  • 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Each February, the nation takes 28 days to reflect on the challenges, achievements and crucial roles of African Americans in U.S. history. This month is Black History Month. The occasion was first recognized in 1976 by President Gerald Ford, who considered it an, “opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history,” and has been adopted by each president since. In celebration of Black History Month, Youngstown Air Reserve Station is proud to highlight the diverse Reserve Citizen Airmen who provide their own experiences, perspectives and skillsets while serving the U.S. at Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

Senior Airman India Henderson, a commander’s support staff specialist assigned to the 910th Airlift Wing, enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserve in March of 2018. Coming from a military family whose service spans the Army, Navy and the Marine Corps, India decided she too wanted to serve before attending college. She believed the Air Force would provide her with the discipline and confidence to attend college and prepare her for the pre-med lifestyle. Henderson is a student at Cleveland State University and is slated to graduate in 2024. She is also self-employed as a full-time entrepreneur.

“I'm working on a clothing line and a property management group,” said Henderson. My line, ‘lifeofall’ or L.O.A., will be released April 11, and the realty group should be up next year after I finish a year of mentorship."

In her nearly three years of service, India says her most memorable Air Force experience was being a passenger on a flying mission on a C-130H Hercules aircraft from YARS.

“I was able to go on a mission with some pilots,” said Henderson. “They dropped (palletized cargo), and it was interesting to see all the things that go on to get the plane in the air and what goes on when they're up there.”

To Henderson, Black History Month is a time for African Americans to learn more about their roots, to better understand their histories outside of what is found in textbooks and on chalkboards. For her, it’s a time that helped her understand who she is and the opportunities that were provided to her by the African Americans that came before and helped shape the United States.

“Black History Month is important to me because for so long I didn't understand the importance of it for my culture and trying to find myself in a society where you can become lost in the expectations of the world,” said Henderson. “It's something that can be enlightening for younger black children to learn how much our culture has given outside of what schools teach.”