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Black Woman Aviator Earns Top Honor, Celebrates Historic Milestone with More Black Girl Magic

Black Woman Aviator Earns Top Honor, Celebrates Historic Milestone with More Black Girl Magic

Photo: Nathan Hughes 

Black Girl Magic and Black History Month meet with Lieutenant Ronaqua Russell, who just received one of the military aviation's top awards, the Air Medal. The Air Medal is a military decoration of the United States Armed Forces. It was created in 1942 and is awarded for single acts of heroism or meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight. Russell's act of heroism included flying during Hurricane Harvey to deliver personnel and equipment to Coast Guard rescue efforts. 

Photo: Coast Guard Flight Mechanics 

The honor, shared by Nate Hughes on Facebook, is a prestigious award which, according to Hughes, is "rarely earned by fixed-wing aviators in the Coast Guard," making the milestone is a historic feat.

Hughes went on to share that there have only been five Black female aviators throughout the Coast Guard's history. In a beautiful gesture of sisterhood and support, all five women flew to Lt. Russell’s groundbreaking and important accomplishment.

LCDR Jeanine Menze, LCDR La’Shanda Holmes, LT Angle Hughes, LT Chanel Lee all gathered for a group photo with LT Russell at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site.

Black history fact: Olivia Hooker became the first African American woman to join the U.S. Coast Guard in 1945. Also one of the last survivors of the 1921 Tulsa race riots, Hooker passed away last year at the age of 103.