Nellis AFB Thunderbirds’ captain reflects on her historic role

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Black soldiers have played a major role in the United States Armed Forces since the the Revolutionary War all the way to present day.

While Black service members are visible, they are still climbing the ranks into lead roles. There is one Las Vegas woman who happens to be the Thunderbirds’ first Black female officer.

The Thunderbirds always draw excitement when they take to the skies.

“The energy is always high. Kids are screaming and yelling and jumping up and down with excitement,” said Kevin Difalco, operations officer for United State Thunderbirds.

As America’s ambassadors in blue, they’ve got a secret weapon that keeps them running smoothly and its Captain Remoshay Nelson.

“This was something I always wanted to be part of,” Nelson said. “I was blown away and speechless but also very excited for the opportunity to be part of this team.”

Nelson, a Howard University graduate, has lived across the world in places such as Korea, Germany, Turkey and now Nellis Air Force Base.

Coming from modest beginnings, it was her stepfather’s stories of his time in the navy that left an impression.

“I am so thankful because he really taught me the importance of serving others.”

Nelson is the Thunderbirds’ first Black female officer.

“When I found out I was extremely humbled,” she said.

She’s is the team’s public affairs officer. Her role is selective and she is only the 12th person to have the position since the team started in 1953.

“She leads an incredible team. She is the leader of that team and as the leader of that team she is the first person to interface with the public,” Difalco said.

Black soldiers have played a major role in the armed forces from the Buffalo soldiers to the Tuskegee airmen and to the Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles Brown.

 “For young Black girls to see themselves in me, for them to get an opportunity to see what is possible is an absolute honor,” Nelson said.

“When we can inspire people because they can relate to us that is very effective,” Difalco said. “We can only do that when we display diversity.”

“I hope that we continue grow as a force and we reflect those who we serve,” Nelson said.

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