An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Black History Month: Highlighting those who serve - 4

  • 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.

Staff Sgt. Harun Abdul-Ali, a fire team member with the 910th Security Forces Squadron, has served as a Reserve Citizen Airman for nearly a decade and comes from a long line of service members. Abdul-Ali is in the fourth generation from his family to serve in the U.S. military. He says Black History Month is important due to its recognition for what black people have contributed to the United States.

Prior to his service with the U.S. Air Force Reserve, Abdul-Ali was a Golden Gloves boxer in high school and used that same drive and determination to join the United States Marine Corps. As a member of the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, Harun served in Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Provide and Promise as a machine gunner. He then left active duty and served in the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, as a reserve infantryman. Harun said it was a fellow Marine turned Airman, Tech. Sgt. Miguel Mercado, who encouraged him to join the 910th Security Forces Squadron at Youngstown Air Reserve Station in June of 2012.

As a civilian, Abdul-Ali continues to serve his nation and his community as police officer for Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority Police Department and is an operator on the SWAT team.