Cadet candidate wins award

Cadet Candidate Ryan Kelly (right) receives the Senior Master Sgt. Margaret Barbour Frances Award from Tuskegee Airman Franklin J. Macon (middle) and Col. Kabrena Rodda at the Community Center Theater Sept. 26. The award is presented to a noncommissioned officer who has exhibited outstanding performance in both professional and community service. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Sam Lee)

Cadet Candidate Ryan Kelly (right) receives the Senior Master Sgt. Margaret Barbour Frances Award from Tuskegee Airman Franklin J. Macon (middle) and Col. Kabrena Rodda at the Community Center Theater Sept. 26. The award is presented to a noncommissioned officer who has exhibited outstanding performance in both professional and community service. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Sam Lee)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Prep School Cadet Candidate Ryan Kelly was recognized as a 2013 Tuskegee Airmen Incorporated Military Award recipient for the Airmen category Sept. 26 during a Commander's Call at the Prep School.

Academy Preparatory School Commander Col. Kabrena Rodda and Franklin Macon, a local Tuskegee Airman, presented the annual, Air Force-wide award to Kelly and congratulated him on his achievement.

"To me the award signifies the selflessness and professionalism that goes with serving in the military," Kelly said. "I'm honored to be a recipient and humbled to receive it from a Tuskegee Airman."

Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military pilots in the United States armed forces. Eighty-nine-year-old Macon enlisted in the Army in 1943 and trained on VT-13 Avengers and North American AT-6 aircraft. He joined the Reserve, and worked in civil service at Fort Carson during the Korean War.

"Being an ethnic minority, I think it's important to recognize those from different walks of life in the military," Kelly said. "I think this award is beneficial to the Academy because one of their main focuses is to enhance diversity."

Kelly was nominated for the award by the 10th Airlift Squadron at McChord Air Force Base, Wash. He said he hopes to one day become a pilot in the Air Force like his father.

"I hope to become an Air Force officer and the Prep School is my stepping stone," Kelly said.