FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2023
Contact: Ivana Morales
HeroZona, American Legion Post 65 Honor Martin Luther King Jr. with Community Celebration
“Unity in the Community Celebration Happy Hour” Event Honors Leader’s Legacy in Arizona
PHOENIX – The HeroZona Foundation and Travis L. Williams American Legion Post 65’s are excited to announce a community celebration, “Unity in the Community Celebration Happy Hour,” on Monday, Jan. 16, from 4 to 6 p.m. to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event will be hosted at Post 65 (1624 E. Broadway Rd.) in Phoenix, during which guests can enjoy drink and food specials, and performances from two local DJs, DJ Money Mike and DJ Nonstop.
“Every year, we look forward to planning and hosting celebrations in remembrance of the great civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” says U.S. Army Desert Storm Veteran and HeroZona Foundation Co-Founder, Alan “AP” Powell. “These events allow our community to learn about his work, pay tribute to the incredible strides he made for our country, and discuss how we can continue his legacy.”
There is no cost of entry for the event, and all community members are welcome. Southern comfort specials will be provided for free by All About Food, the legion’s in-house restaurant run by chef Michelle Daniels.
All About Food LLC’s philosophy is to introduce food in a positive light by providing south Phoenix’s community of veterans and veteran families with cuisine from all around the world. Daniels and her team crafted a menu that includes soul food classics like southern fried catfish, Mediterranean starters like hummus and veggies, and signature dishes like the A.A.F. burger and the T.L.W. chopped salad.
“We want to give the community a place to gather, build camaraderie and celebrate the change that Dr. King helped create across our nation,” said Dennis E. Prince Sr., Sons of the American Legion Commander. “We want to keep his dream alive and make sure we’re continuing to build toward what he envisioned for this country almost 60 years ago.”
“Tough times never last, but tough people do,” said Charles Temple, Arizona Consultant Services CEO. “We’re excited to be part of this celebration that is a way to keep on sharing Dr. King’s message for the current generations and beyond.”
HeroZona and the American Legion Post 65 have been hosting an annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration for more than three decades, since the event’s inception in 1992. The event is supported in part by APS, 101.1 The Bounce, Mega 104.3, Arizona Consultant Services and more.
The foundation has launched a variety of community programs including The Bridge Forum ‘Time for Change’ Summits, which bring leaders from across the country together to discuss racial inequality, police relations, veterans’ issue, mental health and more. Other initiatives include Phoenix Tools 4 School, Holiday Bike Giveaways, MLK Celebrating the Dream, Veterans Reach to Teach and the HeroZona Forgotten Heroes Breakfast.
ONE OF TWO ORIGINAL TUSKEGEE AIRMEN IN ARIZONA DIES
Lt. Col. Asa Herring USAF, Ret; Fighter Pilot, Community Leader
The Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. is saddened to announce the passing of our very own Documented Original Tuskegee Airman, Lt. Col. Asa Herring. He was surrounded by family, friends, and chapter members when he transitioned into the “Lonely Eagles” early Friday morning, May 27, 2022.
Asa was born in Dunn, NC October 3, 1926. He was an avid aviation enthusiast all his life and graduated from high school at the age of 16 years. While a student at Tuskegee Institute in the Aircraft Maintenance Program, he passed the U. S. Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet written examination. But because he was not of age, he had to wait until he was age 18 years old to be inducted into the program.
On December 27, 1944, Asa entered active duty as a Tuskegee aviation cadet at Moton Field, AL, and flew the Stearman PT-17 and AT-6. He was three months shy of completing graduation when Germany surrendered, and World War II ended. The “Tuskegee Experience” was one of the military’s flying schools that was scheduled to close. Consequently, only a few flying schools remained opened to the Tuskegee cadets. Because of the segregation policies in the military, the only other jobs offered the former cadets were cleaning or kitchen jobs. Thus, some of the cadets opted to receive an Honorable Discharge and continue their education. The latter was the path that Asa chose.
Some of the top-notch technical schools from which Asa graduated included Tuskegee Institute, AL; Aeronautical University in Chicago, IL; and Lewis College of Science and Technology in Lockport, IL. In 1959, he was awarded credentials by the Civil Aeronautics Administration as a certified Aircraft and Engine Mechanic and as an Aircraft Ground Instructor. Despite this extensive training, Asa was unable to obtain employment with an airline or as fixed base operator. By this time, the Air Force had become a separate branch of the military, and President Harry S. Truman enacted Executive Order 9981 to banned segregation in the military. Once again, Asa Herring volunteered again for military service in the Air Force in June 1949.
For the next twenty-two years of military service, Asa served in England, Korea, Germany, Vietnam, and held other duty assignments around the world. He was the first African American Squadron Commander at Luke Air Force Base where he trained German pilots in the F-104G Advanced Jet Fighter Gunnery Program. He was officially awarded honorary Command Pilot wings in the Luftwaffe for his outstanding service.
During his exemplary career, Asa flew a wide range of aircrafts. These included the PT-17; AT-6; 01E&E; F-51D; T-33; F-86A; F-84F; and the F-100C, D, F, & G. He flew 350 combat missions in Vietnam, and his decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, and Air Medals with 13 Oak Leaf Clusters. Asa retired in 1970 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Asa joined Western-Electric (Manufacturing Branch of AT&T) after military retirement from the Air Force. He served in various management positions including Personnel, Quality Assurance, Manufacturing Operations, Benefits Administration, and other departments. He retired from AT&T in December 1989.
After both military and private sector retirements, Asa put his BA in Business Administration / Business Management Degree from Ottawa University to use. He pursued civic service in several areas. They included Phoenix Union High School Vocational Advisory Board; Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC); Prevocational Advisory Board; Board of Directors, Phoenix Business Development Center; Chairman of the General Merchandise Concessions Committee (Module), Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport; Chairman, City of Phoenix Municipal Aeronautics Board; and City of Phoenix Community Development Block Grant Committee.
Asa is survived two Sons: Asa D. Herring III (Merle) Winston-Salem, NC; Mark Alan Herring, Phoenix, AZ; Grandchildren: Jacent Chestnut, Atlanta, GA; Rachel Shrank, Lafayette, IN; Martina Blasingame (Kent); Jenna Herring; Blue Springs, MO; Christopher Herring, Charlotte, NC; Tracy Thomas (Perry), Winston-Salem, NC; Michael Herring, Phoenix, AZ; and 15 great-grandchildren.