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Yolandea M Wood

Yolandea M Wood

(Ret. Maj., USAF)

Leadership Lessons Learned from the Tuskegee Airmen

Major Yolandea M. Wood graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and flew multiple KC 135 and EC 135 models as navigator, special operations officer, and navigator instructor until 1993. She then earned two Masters of Arts degrees and returned to the United States Air Force Academy as an Assistant Professor of History and a T-43 instructor navigator.

While stationed at Grand Forks AFB, she flew over thirty-five combat and four combat support missions in support of NATO Kosovo efforts. Major Woods retired in 2006 from Scott Air Force Base TACC.

Major Wood holds multiple military decorations and awards such as the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal with two devices, Air Force Commendation Medal, Combat Readiness Medal, and Air Force Achievement Medal. She has been involved in many “hot spots” around the world where she acted as the mission navigator, thus authorizing her to wear the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with one device, and the Kuwaiti Liberation Medal.

Major Wood’s accomplishments are not only confined to the military, she is just as effective in the local community through schools, youth groups, and community-based service organizations. She is involved with Toastmasters, Rotary, Kiwanis, O’Fallon Garden Club, St. Nicholas Church and an AARP Tax Aide Volunteer.

She currently serves as the Hugh J. White Tuskegee Airmen Chapter president, formerly the Executive National Recording Secretary of Tuskegee Airmen Inc. She has received numerous civilian awards, to include Outstanding Young Woman of America and the Turner Fair III for Extraordinary Service Award. She is most noted for garnering the Brigadier General Noel F. Parrish Award for enhancing equal access to knowledge, skills, and opportunities. She is the first active duty Air Force member to ever win this award. She has also received two National Tuskegee Airmen Presidential Awards. She uses the stories of the Tuskegee Airmen to create parables to inspire audiences to follow mama’s rules “Always Try and Do It Now” and “Watch Me” to continue the legacy of the Airmen with action.

In 2017, Major Wood spent 64 days paddling over 2,120 miles “Source to Sea” with a core of two other women in solo kayaks to raise awareness and funds for clean water projects thru Rotary.