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Keynote Speaker

Major Kenyatta "Deacon" Ruffin

Keynote SpeakerMajor Kenyatta “Deacon” Ruffin is currently a student at the prestigious School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) where he is studying military strategy and operational design.

Major Ruffin grew up outside of Chicago, Illinois and first began flying at age 13. At 14, he soloed a glider in a flight program affiliated with the national Tuskegee Airmen, Inc (TAI). He attended high school at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, was a member of Civil Air Patrol and became one of the nation’s youngest FAA Certified Flight Instructors (Glider) at 18 - two years before gaining his driver’s license! He graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 2003, earning a degree in aeronautical engineering and also has a master’s degree in military operational art and science, with a concentration in leadership from Air University.

Major Ruffin has been assigned to units in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas, as well as stationed overseas in Japan and South Korea. Major Ruffin twice deployed to Iraq and once to Afghanistan, logging over 750 combat hours in the F-16 and MC-12 aircraft; he has earned seven air medals for his actions and most notably was the ISR mission commander for the second-largest special operations raid in Afghanistan history. His other military assignments include service as an Air Liaison Officer with the US Army and a T-38C Instructor Pilot at the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program.

With a passion for mentoring and inspiring youth, especially those interested in aviation and the military, Major Ruffin has worked with numerous youth programs and in 2012 founded the Legacy Flight Academy, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that conducts character-based youth aviation programs that draw upon the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen (for more information see His combat experience and many other things in his life has deepened his faith and solidified the thing he cherishes most in this life - his family.

Major Ruffin is married to the former Tané Peterson of Philadelphia, PA, and they have five children, Tabitha and Lydia (9), Joanna (5), Thaddaeus (3), and Matthias (0).

The speaking engagement by Major Kenyatta "Deacon" Ruffin does not constitute an endorsement by the Department of Defense of NCSSS.

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