Air Force Reserve, two star honored at Nationals game

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To celebrate the Air Force Reserve’s birthday and black heritage day in Major League Baseball, the Air Force sent out an airmen who represents both.

Maj. Gen. Stayce Harris, commander of 22nd Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, presented the first pitch at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., to commemorate her service, the command and diversity both in the Air Force and out.

“They asked would I be willing to help celebrate the Air Force Reserve’s 67th birthday at a Nationals game? I said ‘Of course I would, I would be honored,” Harris said.

Harris is the highest ranking black female officer in the Air Force, and was the first black woman to command an operational flying wing in the Air Force. The Washington Nationals on Thursday commemorated the Air Force Reserve’s 67th birthday, along with Black Heritage Day.

“When I saw and what I knew of our history of our Air Force, I knew I would be able to achieve any goals or reach any heights,” Harris said of her decision to join the service. “I never felt that there was a barrier or a glass ceiling in that respect in the Air Force.”

Harris, who had previously commanded the 459th Air Refueling Wing at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, had also served as the mobility assistant to U.S. Africa Command, 18th Air Force and Air Mobility Command. She was joined on the field by members of the National Urban League and students in the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the day after Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball.

Diversity is essential in the Air Force, because it helps broaden the experience and perspectives of airmen in the service, Harris said.

“It shows the openness of the Air Force Reserve Command of our Air Force in general to value the skillsets of all its airmen,” Harris said.

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