Lieutenant Colonel Merryl (David) Tengesdal
Lieutenant Colonel Merryl Tengesdal was the first and is the only African American woman to fly the Air Force's Elite U-2 spy stealth plane, used for risky reconnaissance missions. Tengesdal, a former naval officer, is one of only five women and three African-Americans to be accepted into the Air Force's elite First Squadron, where U-2 pilots get their training. Solo flights can exceed 70,000 feet and last nine hours, and U-2s, with their tremendous wingspan, are one of the toughest crafts to land.
Air Force Lt. Col. Thomas Engle, 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron
commander, described the U-2 as an unforgiving aircraft that requires
exceptional airmanship to fly. Pilots are carefully screened before being
accepted for training, a process that includes a three-sortie interview profile
to determine the applicant's aptitude for flying the “Deuce.” Only about 850
airmen have flown the U-2 since its introduction. Tengesdal said every
contribution in the military is important to winning the global war on terror.
Airmen of the 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron continued to add to the U-2's 51-year history by being the only U-2 squadron in the area of responsibility supporting operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
Merryl Tengesdal has had her sights set high since childhood. Growing up in The
Bronx, New York, the Star Trek fan dreamed of being an astronaut. Since then she
has boasted an impressive flying career, operating combat helicopters and
airplanes for the Navy in the Middle East, Korea, and South America. "You
don't see many Black females flying in any service," she says. "I hope this will
show young girls that this is an option they can have."
Lt. Col Merryl Tengesdale had received numerous awards and honors including the ACC Aerospace Physiologist of the Year 2008, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
761st Tank Battalion
First Lieutenant Vernon J. Baker
Rear Admiral Barry C. Black
Major General Charles F. Bolden, Jr. Corporal Buddie Branch Vice Admiral David L. Brewer III Rear Admiral Erroll M. Brown
Staff Sergeant Edward A. Carter, Jr. Brigadier General Roscoe C. Cartwright Rear Admiral Osie V. Combs
Four Star General Benjamin Davis Major General Arnold Fields Rear Admiral Lillian Fishburne First Lieutenant John R. Fox
Vice Admiral Samuel Gravely, Jr. Major General James F. Hamlet Harlem Hellfighters 4 Star General Daniel James Jr.
Private First Class Willy F. James, Jr. Corporal Harry Johns Major Robert H. Lawrence, Jr.
Staff Sergeant Aubrey L. McDade, Jr. Vice-Admiral Ed Moore Four Star General Lloyd W. Newton
Captain Joseph N. Peterson General Colin Powell Captain Ronald A. Radcliffe Admiral J. Paul Reason
Four Star General Edward A. Rice Jr. Staff Sergeant Ruben Rivers Clifford Chester Sims Robert Smalls
Major General Clifford L. Stanley Tuskegee Airmen Lieutenant Colonel Merryl (David) Tengesdal
Captain Charles L. Thomas Private George Watson Major General Leo V. Williams, III Colonel Charles Young
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