139th News

Airman reflects on Black History Month

  • Published
  • By A1C Janae Masoner
  • 139th Airlift Wing

After moving to Kansas City, Missouri to support his fiance with a baby on the way, Tech. Sgt. Bruce Jenkins, a production controller with the 139th Maintenance Group, Missouri Air National Guard, made a decision that forever changed his life.

Jenkins enlisted with the 139th Airlift Wing almost 10 years ago after learning about the wing through his significant other. The two had a baby on the way and after moving from job to job, Jenkins was out of options to provide for his family. Growing up, Jenkins never fancied the idea of joining the military; today he’ll tell you it’s the best decision he ever made.

“I never even thought I would be in the military,” says Jenkins.

“Growing up it was a sin for black people to be in the military. You always hear ‘a black man doesn’t belong in a white man’s army’. That’s what I believed until I had joined myself.”

“Since I’ve joined, my life has changed, my whole world has changed,” says Jenkins. “My eyes have been opened and I can say that, that saying is very false.”

Jenkins takes his heritage very seriously, and is grateful for the sacrifices those before him have made to ensure better opportunities for those coming after. He believes it should be a continuous cycle of each generation trying to help the next.

“It’s important to take that heritage and culture, push it forward and try to make it better for next generations,” replies Jenkins.

Jenkins explains how important family is in black culture. He was able to accumulate a second family after joining the 139th.

“This is definitely an extension of my family for sure. I know that without a shadow of a doubt, at any moment, I can call on anyone up here, and I have,” says Jenkins.

Assigned to the month of February in the 1970s, Black History Month is widely celebrated amongst many cultures.

As Jenkins reflects upon this he states, “I am an African-American and I wear that with pride.”