At the end of the school year, Elexis was called to the office along with four other students. She is a good kid and was wondering why she was called to the office. Once inside there, the kids were given a packet of information about a Tuskegee Airman Aerospace Camp. She heard Aerospace and she wanted to go. The best part for me was it was totally free. The camp lasted 4 days. The first day she got there, there she received two shirts (on had her name on it), a cool pen, a writing tablet, two bags, and a bunch of other little fun things. Also on Monday, they learned about the Tuskegee Airmen (to tell the truth I had never heard of them). She came home telling me all about it and what they were going to be doing the rest of the week. Also, come to find out they were the only middle schoolers invited and hand picked to be a part of this group. The rest were high schoolers and most were in ROTC (about 30 other kids...35 total).
Here is a small back story on the Airman if you are like me and didn't know it. They were the first all black pilot squadron. Before then, black men were not allowed to serve in leadership positions. They flew in WWII. They got their name because they were based out of Tuskegee Alabama.
On Tuesday, Elexis was extremely excited because she got to meet and listen to an original member of the squadron. His name was Ed Woodward and he is 91 years old. They got to listen to his some of his stories. Elexis said he was really funny and he told them that his mind sometimes wanders and he has to go catch it and bring it back. They got to ask questions and she got his autograph.
Wednesday, the kids had to be there at 7:00 in the morning. Man, that was early considering I had just spent the 2 weeks prior staying up until 1 or 2 in the morning with costumes. My sleep schedule still hasn't adjusted. They were going to go on a field trip to the FAA (where my husband works) and they were going to get to tour planes at Tinker Air Force Base (where my husband worked for 13 years until last October). They got to eat at the Officer's Club at Tinker. She was very excited about them creating her order in front of her (I invited her to come into the kitchen anytime she wants to watch me do the same thing). They got to go into the air traffic control training center and learn how to land the planes at the FAA. Over at Tinker they got to tour an AWAC plane (it looks like it has a giant satellite dish on it) and a refueling plane. They got to talk to the guy that rides in the small chamber with the refueling hose. She said the size was very small and tight and you shouldn't be the person down there if you are claustrophobic. They also wrote thank you letters to Capt. Woodward.
Thursday was going to be graduation day. It was also rocket launch day. They built rockets and got to launch them. They were also going to watch a movie about the Tuskegee Airmen. It is called Red Tails (side note: when Elexis found out it had a Pg-13 rating, she called me to ask me if it was okay for her to watch it. She is 13, but I am glad that she had enough forethought to ask me first). I was telling my husband, who had been in training all week and working at night (so I hadn't really got to talk to him about the camp) about her graduation if he wanted to go. He asked what the camp was for and I told him it was for the Tuskegee Airmen. His reaction was awesome. He wanted to be an Air Force Pilot his entire life. He was in ROTC in high school and in college. Unfortunately he could not qualify because of his eye sight. He knew exactly who the Tuskegee Airmen were. I told him that one of the originals was going to speak at the graduation. He told me he was going to blow off training to go to that. He wanted to meet him soo bad. I haven't seen him excited about something like that in a long time. So, we went to the graduation. They had a reception time with little sandwiches and yummy goodies. We got to meet some of the Oklahoma chapter of the Airmen and a few higher up's currently commissioned right now. We go to meet the deputy commander over Tinker Air Force base (he is the second in command). He was just there as a parent, his son and Elexis are friends and they go to the same school. We were suppose to hear a different Airman speak than the one that already spoke to the group, but he didn't make it (Capt Woodward said it was on account of him being an old fart...haha). Instead, we got to hear Capt. Woodward. It was so neat to hear a few of his stories. He was fascinating. I told his daughter, who he lives with, that any time she wanted me, I would come and listen to his stories. She was like "give me your number" haha. They were wonderful. Elexis got a certificate and a really nice coin from the camp.
This was a really great honor for her to be hand chosen and the youngest person there (even her classmates were older than her). She got to learn some great history first hand (my kid loves history). My husband got to meet one of his military idols and he kind of made friends with the Deputy Commander over Tinker. These were both big deals to him.
Now some pictures.
Capt. Ed Woodward
Him and his son
Elexis receiving her certificate and her coin
My husband and Elexis with the Capt.
91 and can still get around.