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African American Pilot Tells Co-Worker, If It’s To Be, It’s Up To You

Bill Norwood (left) and Tony Marshall (right)

Bill Norwood (left) and Tony Marshall (right)

By Cynthia Frazier

RIALTO, CA- Tony Marshall is on a mission to expose minority youth to opportunities available in the aviation industry, and there is no shortage of opportunities for the foreseeable future. According to a Boeing forecast, worldwide, there is a need for more than half a million new commercial airline pilots over the next couple of decades. In the U.S. the need is more than 95,000 new commercial pilots. Plus, airline pilots can command a salary between $100,000 and $200,000.

Looking back a few decades, the number of African American commercial pilots across all airlines was too small to count. In fact, it wasn’t until a landmark Supreme Court Case in 1963 that the color barrier was smashed and Marion Green became the first black pilot hired by a major U.S. Passenger Airline (Continental). A few years later, Marshall experienced the lack of opportunity for black pilots first hand. Although he hadn’t thought about it much at first, as a young newly hired pilot, Marshall realized that none of his fellow coworkers shared his cultural experiences as a black man.

While on one of his early flights, Marshall, along with his coworkers, walked proudly through an airport in uniform. Much to his surprise, another black pilot in uniform tapped him on the shoulder. It turned out to be Bill Norwood, the first black pilot hired by United Airlines. Mr.

Norwood welcomed Marshall to the company and congratulated him on getting hired. What happened next left a lasting impact on Marshall and continues to influence how he conducts his life today.

Mr. Norwood pulled Marshall to the side and reminded Marshall that other black pilots paved the way to open doors for young black men to get hired. Norwood continued, “Without the sacrifices and determination of men like the Tuskegee Airmen and myself, who fought to cross the color line, you would not have been lucky enough to have this opportunity. So now, it is up to you to make it your mission to help others succeed in this industry.” Mr. Norwood told Marshall that whenever he was in uniform, he should make time to talk directly to young black kids at the airport.

Tony Marshall said, “I took this advice to heart.”

Today, Marshall runs the California Shades of Blue Aeronautics Academy. With the support of Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson, Shades of Blue completed two successful classes of middle school students in 2015. Participants in the Academy attend a five week academic course, and they get to meet aeronautics professionals like local Cessna Airplane owners. The Fall 2015 class was introduced to Jet Fighter Pilot Lt. Malone from San Diego.

One very exciting part of the course includes an orientation flight at Flabob Airport where students actually get to take control of a Cessna plane while in the air. “At first, I didn’t think I would like the class because it was early in the morning on a Saturday,” said 6th grade student Izaiah Frazier. “It turned out to be a great experience. I will never forget it.” Frazier continued.

Frazier attended the Fall 2015 session. In spite of the low diversity numbers that continue to plague the aerospace industry – only 4 percent women pilots, less than 3 percent African-American pilots, 2.5 percent Asia pilots, and 5 percent Hispanic pilots — there is good news for young minority students like Frazier. Going forward, the airline industry as a whole is preparing for tremendous growth. In addition to the large number of commercial airline pilots needed over the next 20 years, there will also be a need for over 600,000 additional commercial airline maintenance technicians, aircraft manufacturers, equipment trainers, and training delivery organizations. Marshall believes that helping students to discover these opportunities at a young age could have a big payoff somewhere down the line. He is determined that minority youth are poised to take advantage of the abundance of aviation opportunities to come.

It couldn’t come soon enough for Marshall. Today, only 4 percent of airline transport pilots are women, just under 3 percent are African-American, 2.5 percent are Asian, and 5 percent are Hispanic.

The Spring 2016 Academy opened on Saturday, February 20, 2016 in Rialto with words of wisdom from Mayor Deborah Robertson and Rialto School District Superintendent Dr. Cuauhtemoc Avila. Both shared personal stories of their life experiences, challenges, and successes. Students were advised to take full advantage of every opportunity that crossed their path.

Student Spotlight: Evan and Eric Carthen

Evan and Eric Carthen

Evan and Eric Carthen

SAN BERNARDINIO, CA- Evan Carthen, known on Cal Lutheran University campus as “Mr. President,” will be graduating with a dual major, BA in English and a BS in Political Science on May 14, 2016 along with his twin brother Eric Carthen who will be graduating with a BS degree in Criminal Justice.

Evan will be attending law school in the Fall. He has been accepted to several major universities with scholarships, including Ohio State University and Pepperdine University.  His decision will be announced soon.

The Future Alumni of California Lutheran University, who both will be graduating with honors, have a bright future ahead of them.

 

Affirmation and Appreciation to the Birthday Man… Mr. Wallace Allen IV

Breathing Words/Actions of Life that has Empowered People to Excellency!”

Wallace Allen IV

Wallace Allen IV

By Lou Coleman

Of all the gifts that we could every give to another person, none holds more potential than giving life itself. The idea that every interaction we have with another human being offers us that grand opportunity… to brighten another’s existence by breathing life into theirs. You may not see it or even realize it, but you have impacted many lives. Just by existing at this time and place, you’re changing what’s around you.Wallace allen l

Words cannot describe and actions cannot do justice to the gratitude we feel when we think of all you have done. You challenge people to think about life differently. You challenge the world to think about life differently. When you read about injustices in our country and throughout the world, you show a righteous anger that is so pure and raw that it reminds us of what really should matter. Your work is essential, not only for the people you care for, but also for the society as a whole. Every effort you make, small or big, adds to people’s improved quality of life, and that is something to admire.

It is truly a great experience to be a part of your team! Thank you for the contribution that you have made in our lives! From all of us here at Westside Story Newspaper to you… Happy Birthday to our mentor and true leader… Much love!