News: 501st CSW celebrates Native American Heritage Month
Story by Staff Sgt. Brian Stives
RAF ALCONBURY, United Kingdom - Each year Americans observe Native American Heritage Month in November by celebrating the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S.
The observation started in 1915 when the annual Congress of the American Indian Association held a meeting in Lawrence, Kans., and formally approved a plan for American Indian Day. It directed its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe, to call upon the country to observe such a day. Coolidge issued a proclamation Sept. 28, 1915, which declared the second Saturday of each May as an American Indian Day and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens.
In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 "National American Indian Heritage Month." Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including "Native American Heritage Month" and "National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month") have been issued each year since 1994.
The 501st Combat Support Wing is celebrating Native American Heritage Month by featuring a prominent Native American from within the wing.
Tech. Sgt. Kervin Trae Dupart, from Panama City, Fla., is a member of the Chickasaw Tribe and arrived at RAF Alconbury in August of 2012. He is the contract administrator with the 501st Combat Support Wing Regional Contracting Office where he initiates government contracts on behalf of the Air Force for supplies and services.
Learn more about this Airman.
Q. How long have you been in the Air Force?
A. I joined the Air Force in September of 2003.
Q. Why did you join the Air Force?
A. I originally joined the Air Force to take care of my family and continue my education.
Q. Who or what motivated you to join the Air Force?
A. My dad served in the Air Force, so I spent most of my childhood at Air Force bases. I thought my dad had the coolest job in the world.
Q. What is the best part about being in the Air Force?
A. The best part of being in the Air Force is the friendships you create over the course of your career. I still keep in contact with people I met from my first assignment, 10 years ago.
Q. What do you hope to accomplish in the Air Force?
A. When my time in the Air Force is up, I hope I leave a legacy of excellence and integrity so my children can one day look back at my service and be as proud of me as I was of my dad when I was a child.
Q. Who has inspired you?
A. I get a lot of my inspiration from my mother. She had me at a young age, but that didn’t stop her from achieving her dreams and becoming successful. People love to be around her and her positive attitude and faith in God have always given her the strength to keep pushing and that’s what I try to emulate.
Q. What are your favorite memories about being in the Air Force?
A. One of my favorite memories of being in the Air Force was in 2007. I was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base (Miss.) and had the privilege of serving on the Honor Guard for a three-month rotation. Performing military funeral honors was an amazing experience I will never forget.
Q. What would you say to other Native Americans about why they should join the Air Force?
A. Being in the Air Force has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The Air Force is like one big family. I’ve had the opportunity to go places I never thought I’d go and do things I never thought I’d do. Whatever your goals are in life or whatever your aspirations are, the Air Force can help you get there.