By C.J. Risak
On the last day of April 1969, Joe Ponds found himself in Vietnam, beginning his one-year tour of duty. He would be one of the more than 37,500 U.S. Army helicopter pilots to serve in that conflict, spanning the years 1961 and 1975.
But Ponds was part of an even more distinctive group. He’s black. And of that number of aviators, only an estimated 600 were black.