Honoring past, promoting future with Navajo Nation

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Dorian Neuendorf
  • Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

Air Mobility Command organized a meet-and-greet event in Page, Arizona, where Air Force representatives and local Navajo veterans and community members came together to honor the past, develop the present and promote the future.

The community event brought together approximately 30 AMC representatives and 50 Navajo veterans and community members. AMC showcased mobility air forces and flew in two C-130 Hercules aircraft for the community to experience firsthand.

Civilian participants were given the unique opportunity to walk through the C-130, connect with experienced aviators and mentors, and engage in professional development and networking opportunities.

“This is the beginning of a relationship where we can come here and let young people know what the Air Force and serving is all about, and also lower as many barriers as we can,” said Gen. Mike Minihan, AMC commander, at a lunch sponsored by the Navajo Nation’s vice president, Richelle Montoya. “I am committed to working with the Air Force and any other service on how we can … make sure that if there’s a kid dreaming about being in the Air Force, I want to work as hard as they are to help them come in.”

The C-130 provided a backdrop for the event and Air Force representatives showcased the capabilities of the aircraft, explaining its pivotal role in modern-day military operations and humanitarian efforts. Navajo community members shared stories of their ancestors' invaluable contributions during WWII, efforts that proved the Navajo Nation’s dedication, courage and resourcefulness during the war.

Discussions between Air Force personnel and Navajo veterans and community members touched on various topics, including education, career opportunities, and cultural exchanges. By fostering these relationships, AMC and the Navajo Nation are paving the way for a brighter future.

“Coming from a family of veterans who have served — having a sense of a seat at the table, being seen and being honored — having General Minihan come to the Navajo Nation, my home state, was an honor in itself,” said Staff Sgt. Anastacia Rodriguez, who initiated the event. “To me, it portrays a new beginning, a new relationship and it’s exciting. Myself, my family and other participants are excited, because they know that something bigger will come from this visit.”

The Air Force and AMC remain committed to preserving the memory of the Navajo Nation's invaluable contributions during WWII and look forward to further collaborations that honor the past, develop the present and promote the future.