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Senior airman Larry Reid Jr. flies high with the U.S. Air Force

April 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Community


During the hustle and bustle of our weeklong entrepreneurial work duties; my husband and I made the time to escort our 9-year-old son, Brandon, on his Thunderbird field trip with his school.  After arriving with our son and his fellow schoolmates at Creech Air Force Base — we were so happy to have made it.  Watching the uniform dignity of the airmen walking around positioning themelves took us back to the excitement of our childhood with awaiting eagerness to see the air acrobatics of the Thunderbirds.  

One of Larry Reid Jr.'s best photos of the Thunderbirds. Photo | Larry Reid Jr.

Standing at the flight barrier gate it was hard not to notice this young and very astute African-American photographer taking photos of the beautiful Air Force Thunderbird jets zooming above our heads. We watched as he captured the images of the Thunderbirds and their air tricks that had all clapping with amazement. We wondered how he makes time and space stand still in his dramatic photos.  

As the patriotic music plays as the backdrop to the phenomenal Thunderbird air show, American pride was beating in our hearts. The opportunity presented itself during the air show break to make an introduction to Senior Airman Larry Reid Jr., the official photographer for Nellis Air Force Base and Creech Air Force Base. 

“Yes, I am assigned to the 99th Air Base Wing public affairs photo lab element here at Nellis,” Reid said. “Currently, I am the only African-American photographer out of seven to capture and document the Air Force’s story at Nellis.” 

At the young age of 25 years old, Reid has been in the Air Force for six years and has experienced worldly travels.  According to Reid, “This is my third duty assignment at Nellis Air Force Base and I have been fortunate to have traveled to New Mexico, Turkey, Spain, Germany and Africa.” 

Questions were rushing in and first I needed to fully understand what the Air Force does opposed to the other areas of the military. The Air Force mission is to fly, fight and win … in air, space and cyberspace,” Reid explained. “We are very engaged in the war in Iraq. We also have bases in Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa, to better support the ongoing conflict. We are everywhere and actively engaged alongside our soldiers, sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen in the Middle East.” 

Reid’s collection of photos is one that is truly a treasure.  He reflects on the best image he has captured.  “That is a tough question because I take so many photos.  I would have to say that the best image that I captured was that of the honor guard presenting our United States flag to the widow of a War World II fighter pilot.  It showed the dedication and the commitment of the military and what it is all about.  A picture is worth a thousand words and being able to capture that moment in time is priceless.” 

Thereafter, graduating from high school, Reid enlisted into the Air Force and was not interested in the pre-existing job details available at the time. 

Said Reid, “I came into the Air Force to what is called ‘Open General.’ Basically, the Air Force selects a job for you based on the needs of the Air Force if you are not interested in what is available at the time.  I took my chances and I got into a photography career that I love.

‘‘This is not just a job for me, it’s my passion. Another image that warms my heart and that I consider an honor to capture are photographs of our military servicemen and women returning home to their families after six, eight months and sometimes yearlong deployments away from their love ones.  Seeing their emotional reaction when they see for the first time their newborn child, or embracing their significant others when they get off the planes are imagery the American people need to see more of.”

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