‘An Absolute Honor’: Howard Alum Makes History as 1st Black Female Officer for the Air Force Thunderbirds

Illustration for article titled ‘An Absolute Honor’: Howard Alum Makes History as 1st Black Female Officer for the Air Force Thunderbirds
Screenshot: NBC News 4

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds recently made history by adding the first black female officer to its ranks.

According to NBC 4, Captain Remoshay Nelson is currently in her first season with the Thunderbirds—the Air Force’s renowned demonstration squadron known for performing aerobatic formation shows in the U.S. and much of the world every year. Thunderbird air shows have been postponed this year due to the ongoing pandemic, but the squadron has recently performed flyovers across the skies of Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Atlanta to honor essential workers on the frontlines of the global health crisis. Nelson said she’s proud to take part in activities “where people can look up and have some type of hope during this time.”

“I know a small percentage of African-American officers, specifically female officers in the Air Force,” the eight-year Air Force veteran told News 4. “So to be in a position that is visible, to show little girls that this is attainable, to let them know they can do anything they put their mind to, is an absolute honor.”


By the way, did I mention that Nelson is a Howard University graduate? Well, she is and she said her experiences at the HBCU helped shape her.

“To be around people who look like me and instill a self-confidence in who I am, and walk into the world knowing where I come from and where my people come from, and where we can go, is invaluable,” she said.

By joining the Thunderbirds, Nelson has become part of an exclusive group. According to News 4, only 332 officers have been on the team since it was founded in 1953 and Nelson is one of only 12 who currently holds a position with them. Nelson said it wasn’t an easy accomplishment.

“Even when people tell you no to your face, but your work shows where you should be, I think if you continue to work hard and go after what it is you want, you will achieve your dream,” she said.


Captain Remoshay Nelson, we salute you for being the inspiration and role model that you are.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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