The First Black Female Officer in the US Air Force Thunderbirds

A Howard University graduate is making history as the country’s first African-American female officer. NBC Washington reports on the Air Force Thunderbirds.

Captain Remoshay Nelson has spent the last eight years in the Air Force, mostly overseas. Nelson is in his first season with the Air Force Thunderbirds, an elite corps of fliers with just 332 officers since its inception in 1953. Nelson is the first Black woman to hold the rank of officer, and she is one of just 12 officers in the country. She owes her ambition to truly live the life she dreamed to her parents’ support and her stay at Howard University.

“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. To be around people who look like me and instill 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,” Nelson said. 

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Thunderbirds’ regular shows have been suspended, but the squadron recently flew over Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Atlanta to salute all of the employees fighting on the frontlines. Nelson was among those who flew the friendly skies, and she hopes that her achievements, as well as the Thunderbirds’ work, bring hope for everyone in these trying times.

“We have one life to live and so I want to do that by giving back and by showing people what is possible. Just to achieve as much as I can when I have the opportunity to do so. Where people can look up and have some type of hope during this time, to know we can get through this. The Thunderbirds are with them,” Nelson said.

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