CAF Red Tail Squadron

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

Profiles of Tuskegee Airmen: Joe Gomer

Tuskegee Airman pilot Joe Gomer was born on June 20, 1920 in Iowa Falls, Iowa. The Gomer family was one of only two African American families in their small town. Growing up, he was fascinated by model airplanes and dreamed of becoming a pilot. He worked in his father’s janitorial business from the age of 12. 

 

Tuskegee Airman Joe Gomer 1Gomer and his brother Charles attended Iowa Falls High School, and in 1938 he was the school’s only African American in his graduating class. Sadly, his father passed away that same year. His community rallied together to help fund Gomer’s attendance at Ellsworth College to study pre-engineering. He earned his degree and continued on at the school to attend their flight training program, learning to fly in a pasture outside of town. 

 

As the United States marched into World War II, Gomer enlisted in the Army in July of 1942 at the age of 22. He applied for and was accepted into the new aviation cadet training program for African Americans at Tuskegee Army Airfield in Tuskegee, Alabama. He would become the first black officer in the U.S. Army Air Corps from the state of Iowa. 

 

After earning his wings in May of 1943 and completing all advanced training, Gomer deployed to Italy with the 332ndFighter Group of the 301stFighter Squadron. In combat, he flew 68 missions over Italy and Germany. He had several close brushes with danger, including a crash landing in a P-39, a lost canopy while flying a P-51 and survived being riddled by German bullets in a P-47. 

Even though he bravely served his country during the War, Gomer experienced the sting of racism, regardless of his status of military officer and World War II combat pilot. Leaving his hometown and traveling to Alabama, then around the world, Gomer came face to face with unjust and cruel treatment. Even in the theaters of War, Gomer and his fellow Tuskegee Airmen remained segregated from their white counterparts and were treated as inferior to German prisoners. 

 

After the War, Gomer married Elizabeth Caperton on March 12, 1949, and together they raised two daughters. He remained in the U.S. Air Force and became a helicopter pilot serving in Japan during the Korean War, then a nuclear weapons technician. In 1964 he retired with the rank of Major. He spent the next 21 years as a personnel officer for the U.S. Forest Service, retiring in 1985. He received a Superior Services Award from the Secretary of Agriculture for his outstanding work with minorities and women. 

Into his retirement, Gomer remained active even very late in his life, giving his time talking to school groups and at community events about the Tuskegee Airmen and the importance of education. “People can be anything they want to be now,” he said in a 2007 interview. “There is no glass ceiling. Education is the key.”

 

For his service as a Tuskegee Airman and community leader, Gomer was inducted into the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame in 2004. He received a Doctorate of Humanities from the Board of Trustees of Ellsworth College in 2004 and their Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009.

Gomer passed away in October in 2013. There are two statues in Iowa to honor his life and service located at Duluth International Airportand on thegrounds of Ellsworth College

 

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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A look back at D-Day

“You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. 

The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you.”

~ General Dwight D. Eisenhower

Commander, Operation Overlord

 

101st Loaded on D Day74 years ago today marks the tide that began to turn the War in Europe. D-Day, June 6, 1944, would mark the invasion that would drive the Nazis out of France, and eventually win back the continent from their tyrannical grip. All the efforts of the Allies in the months and years prior laid the groundwork for this mission, including the work of the Tuskegee Airmen in the European Theater. 

 

Before dawn on D-Day, 13,000 paratroopers leapt into darkness straight into enemy territory in Normandy, France, and an additional 5,000 would follow later that day. Naval and air forces bombarded Hitler’s Atlantic Wall off the coast. 156,000 Allied soldiers stormed the beaches from 5,000 ships and landing craft. This orchestrated attack on D-Day and the days that followed created a breach in the Nazi hold over the country. This allowed in mass amounts of troops, supplies and equipment that would press on into the occupied country, liberate Paris by August 25 and begin the end of World War II, marked by the surrender of the Nazis on May 8, 1945, Victory in Europe Day. 

 

Over 9,000 lives were lost in Operation Overlord, 4,000 of those on D-Day. Although no Tuskegee Airmen took part in this invasion, their work and that of other squadrons of the U.S. Army Air Forces, would play an important role in the success of this epic mission.

 

The Tuskegee Airmen were first deployed to combat in April of 1943, sent to French Morocco before moving on to Europe for missions over the Mediterranean, Italy and into the heart of action farter north. Missions included strafing targets on the ground, taking out surface targets like enemy ammunitions factories, fuel refineries and transportation routes. They provided close air support for ground troops and also escorted bombers on their precarious trips into the heart of Nazi territory in Germany to take out key targets. These missions would prepare for and support the tactics of Operation Overlord. 

 

More than seven decades have passed since these brave Americans took up arms to defend our country, and the freedom and dignity of all our Allied nations. The heroic men who fought their way into enemy territory on D-Day provided the catalyst to spark the beginning of the end of the War, and the missions of the Tuskegee Airmen and others made that success possible.

 

One of our fellow Commemorative Air Force units, the CAF D-Day Wing, is currently making preparations to take several CAF aircraft back to Normandy in June of 2019 to mark the 75thanniversary of D-Day, including the C-47 That’s All, Brother, the lead paratrooper transport aircraft on D-Day. Doug Rozendaal, CAF Red Tail Squadron P-51C Mustang pilot and Squadron Leader, has played an important role in the renovation of that remarkable aircraft. Learn more about their efforts at CAFDDayWing.org.

 

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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Profiles of Tuskegee Airmen: Charles Dorkins

Tuskegee Airman Charles Dorkins USAAF portaitPhotographer, cinematographer and author Charles Dorkins was born December 16, 1922 in Baltimore, MD to Christopher and Athie Dorkins. 

He graduated from Tuskegee Army Air Field on March 11, 1945 part of class TE-45-A, trained to fly twin engine B-25 bombers as part of the 477th Bombardment Group. The bomber pilots and crew would never deploy as the War ended in the Pacific before they were sent overseas. 

 

During training, Dorkins was part of group of officers that was arrested for trying to gain entrance into a military officers club at Freeman Army Airfield in Indiana. The event would become known as the Freeman Field Mutiny, a non-violent act of protest that went on to become a treasured and landmark point in the burgeoning civil rights movement.

 

Early in 1945, the 477thwas moved twice, first to Kentucky, then to Indiana. It was here, at Freeman Army Airfield, that the group’s Commander, Col Robert Selway, created 2 clubs – segregating “trainees” from “instructors.” This distinction was a thinly-veiled disguise for the real purpose, which was to segregate the black officers, all of which were trainees, from the instructors who were white.

 

There had been issues with officers’ clubs in the past, but at Freeman Field the black officers took a stand, and ended up in the history books. Over the course of several days in April 1945, black officers, in small groups, tried to enter the white-only officers club, each time met with greater resistance. Eventually, 120 black officers who had tried to gain entrance were arrested. All would be released later that month, but it would be decades before they were fully exonerated for their protest. 

 

After the War, Dorkins relocated to New York City where, for more than 50 years, he worked as a filmmaker and photographer. His long and fruitful career included many milestones. 

 

Dorkins was part of a United Nations-sponsored project to promote cultural sharing around the world, where he had the opportunity to meet several world leaders. He produced an award-winning documentary in the early 1960s for NBC about the revolution in the then Belgian Congo, in which he lived with the revolutionaries and was injured. Other projects included a black film production of Hamlet shot in the Bahamas; a documentary about life in black neighborhoods of Detroit in the late 1960s at the height of the era’s racial tension; and a film about the Tuskegee Airmen. 

 

Dorkins passed away at the age of 95 on April 9, 2018. Thank you for your service to our country 2ndLt. Dorkins!

 

For a look into Dorkins life and service as a Tuskegee Airmen see these items in the CAF Red Tail Squadron Virtual Musuem:

 

Barracks photos of Tuskegee Airman Charles Dorkins

Official Air Corps documents of Tuskegee Airman Charles Dorkins

Flight suit and dress uniform of Tuskegee Airman Charles Dorkins

Photos of Tuskegee Airmen class TE-45-A

 

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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Profiles of Tuskegee Airmen: William Armstrong

Tuskegee Airmen William ArmstrongIt is an unfortunately reality of war that oftentimes loved ones do not come home. No matter the skill or training, many service members of World War II perished in combat. William Armstrong did not live to see the Allies liberate Europe, but his efforts as a Tuskegee Airmen pilot, and citizen who stepped up to service his country, played a role in that success.

 

Born October 24, 1924 in Washington, DC, Armstrong was raised along with his sister Evelyn in the west end of Providence, RI by his mother, grandfather and stepfather. He excelled in academics, was a member of the student council and lent his beautiful tenor voice to the Episcopalian Church of the Saviour. His peers described him as handsome and outgoing.

 

After graduating from high school in 1943, Armstrong’s plans to pursue the education needed to become an attorney we derailed by the War. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps and was accepted into the pilot training program in Tuskegee. He graduated with class 44-H-SE on September 8, 1944, earning his wings to fly single engine fighters against the enemy in Europe. Armstrong deployed with the 332ndFighter Group to Ramitelli, Italy shortly thereafter. 

 

During his time in theater, Armstrong flew bomber escort missions over Europe, protecting American bombers from enemy fire as they dropped their explosive payloads over targets deep within Nazi territory. The skill of Tuskegee Airmen like Armstrong to keep their bombers safe and able to complete their missions earned them the nickname “Red Tail Angels” and were requested by the bomber pilots to escort their missions, regardless of the color of the skin. This was a remarkable acknowledgement, considering the climate of racial injustice that existed in that era.

 

On Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945, just a month before victory would be declared in Europe, Armstrong’s squadron was engaged by German aircraft in an air battle over the skies of Austria while trying to return from a bombing raid which Armstrong and his fellow Airmen had provided escort protection. 12 German planes went down in that battle, as well as two American aircraft. Armstrong’s plane was hit, and he was killed in action, along with Tuskegee Airmen pilot Walter Manning in another plane. Armstrong’s body was unable to be recovered before the end of the war.

 

Due to the tenacity and insistence of his stepfather, Nelson Venter, Armstrong’s remains were located in a grave in Austria, and returned home in March of 1950 for burial in a family plot in Providence. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, Air Medal and Presidential Unit Citation. 

 

The local VFW post of his hometown dedicated a memorial in his honor in 1946, but was eventually lost due to redevelopment in the area. He was inducted into the Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame in 2009.In 2010, the William P. Armstrong Memorial Square was given a fresh update and re-dedicated with much local fanfare in Providence. 

 

In memory of the service and sacrifice of Flight Officer William Armstrong. 

 

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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Attention Dallas metro area friends and supporters! We’re in Terrell!

Come see us in Terrell, Texas today through Sunday!

 

The RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit mobile movie theater is the featured guest at the No. 1 British Flying Training School Museum, located at the Terrell Municipal Airport at 119 Silent Wings Blvd. in Terrell. The event is FREE and admission to the Museum is also FREE! Bring your friends and family!

 

The No. 1 British Flying Training School Museum was the first and largest of the training sites for British pilots during World War II. More than 2,000 Royal Air Force and U.S. Army Air Force pilots earned their wings after training in the skies over Terrell between 1941 and 1945. This gem is an important piece of World War II history, just a short drive from downtown Dallas!

 

Head on out to see our inspirational and educational film “Rise Above” inside our panoramic mobile movie theater and say hello to our team on site! We are always so happy to meet our supporters in person and hear about what makes YOU enthusiastic about the Tuskegee Airmen experience and sharing it with others. 

 

Want to schedule a time for your group? No problem. Call (972) 551-1122 to reserve your slot. 

 

See you in Terrell!

RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit flier

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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Dallas students learn about art while being inspired by the Tuskegee Airmen

During our 3rd annual Black History Month events at the CAF National Airbase, students from local Southern Dallas schools were onsite to practice their photography skills while being inspired by the lessons of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Check out some of their artwork!

Dallas shoot

Each year, the CAF Red Tail Squadron along with members of the CAF Education team located at CAF headquarters put on a month-long event for local area students, inviting schools and community groups to come to the CAF hangar for a multitude of fun activities. The RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit is a featured attraction, along with several other opportunities to learn about and be inspired by the Tuskegee Airmen.

Cheers to these students for their effort and artistic vision. We look forward to more fun and meaningful events at the CAF headquarters in Dallas!

 

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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Profiles of Tuskegee Airmen: Alexander Jefferson

Tuskegee Airman Alexander JeffersonTuskegee Airman pilot, POW and esteemed educator Alexander Jefferson has served his country with distinction, in the face of great adversity.

Jefferson was born Detroit, MI on November 15, 1921, into a family with a rich history in education and religious leadership. His parents were originally from Atlanta, but they moved north shortly before he was born to take advantage of the factory jobs available in Detroit.

As a child, Jefferson would hang around a small airfield to do odd jobs and help work on the planes, and was able to get his first ride in an airplane when he was still in grade school.

With war on the horizon and a desire to fly, Jefferson planned to join the service, but only after he graduated from Clark College in Atlanta with a degree in chemistry and biology. He then easily passed the written exams and was sworn into the Army Reserves September 23, 1942. He volunteered for flight training but was told to wait to be called. In the interim, he started graduate school at Howard University in Washington, DC to further his studies in chemistry, where he taught a class in organic chemistry to help make ends meet.

“I had long had an interest in chemistry. My mother had always insisted that I read, and she encouraged me to go to the local library, where, after spending countless hours thumbing through scientific textbooks and pamphlets, I decided I wanted to be a research chemist. I always knew I had the intellectual ability to accomplish whatever I wished, and if any doubts ever crept into my mind, the firm hand of my mother quickly dispelled them.”

~ Alexander Jefferson

Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free: The Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman and POW

Before he completed his first year of graduate work, he received orders in April 1943 to report for flight training at Tuskegee Army Air Field, where he would go on to graduate with class 44-A on January 7, 1944. Further fighter training included time at Selfridge Army Air Field, 25 miles outside of his hometown of Detroit.

While there, Jefferson was part of a group that tried to integrate the officers’ club on base. Perhaps lesser known that the Freeman Field Mutiny of April 1945 in Indiana, in May of 1944 Jefferson and his fellow black officers questioned the legality of their exclusion from the officers’ club, as it violated an Army regulation that mandated club membership for all officers.

In his book, Jefferson says Selfridge’s white commanding officers “were willing to jeopardize our training and the war effort in order to maintain separate and second-class status for every African American under their command.” These leaders purposefully designated the personnel status of all white officers to “permanent” when the Tuskegee trainees came to Selfridge and ensured the black Airmen were listed as “transient,” regardless of the time spent there. This was done specifically as a way around the regulation to prevent the integration of this space formerly enjoyed by white officers only.

After many peaceful attempts to rectify this wrong, an Army general visited the base to quell the issue and flatly decreed that there should be no socializing between races. For several days following, the Tuskegee Airmen were confined to their posts, locked in without any access to telephones. They were then loaded onto trains without any information about where and why they were leaving Selfridge, and ended up in Walterboro Army Air Base in South Carolina. White soldiers with riffles and bayonets were stationed along both sides of the train when they arrived, prepared for what they were told were rowdy rioters. Walterboro would be their last training stop before deploying to North Africa and Italy for combat duty.

On June 3, 1944, Jefferson and his fellow officers were deployed to Italy with the 301st Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group, which would remain segregated from their white counterparts, even while serving in combat. He participated in many successful missions protecting bombers and strafing enemy targets on the ground. Tuskegee Airmen pilots, like Jefferson, soon became well known for their tenacity and skill as escorts, eventually being requested by bomber crews.

During a strafing mission over the southern coast of France on August 12 of that same year, on his 19th mission, Jefferson’s P-51 was hit by enemy fire and he was forced to bail out of his plane. He was reported as killed in action because the other Squadron members in the air with him did not see him make it out of his plane alive. His family was not informed by the Red Cross of this error and his status as prisoner of war (POW) until October.

Upon capture, he was initially questioned by a German officer that had lived and attended college in Michigan, recalling many of the same areas and entertainment that Jefferson had enjoyed growing up. During further interrogations, it became clear that German spies had provided a plethora of information from inside the states and, surprisingly, from Ramitelli Air Field. The amount of intelligence they had collected on him and his fellow Airmen was astounding.

As a POW, Jefferson was moved around to several locations, but, because it was apparent the Germans were losing their territorial holds, Jefferson believed he and his fellow Airmen we treated better than they would have been if they had been captured earlier in the War. On April 29, 1945, Jefferson was liberated from the POW camp Stalag Luft VIIIA. 12 other Tuskegee Airmen were also held there.

Unfortunately, his heroism and sacrifice was overshadowed by racism when he returned to the US, promptly reminded of his second-class status the moment he stepped off the boat in New York City. “It was very discouraging, upon returning to the United States, to find racism, segregation, and other social ills alive and well,” he writes in his memoir.

He was posted back at Tuskegee Army Air Field as an instructor, then on to Lockborne Air Force Base in Ohio. After a reduction of forces moved him from active duty to reserve status, Jefferson, like many of his counterparts, found the transition to the civilian workforce difficult because of stifling racism. After being passed over for positions numerous times, he decided to go back to school to pursue a Master’s degree in science education, and enjoyed a long career teaching elementary science and as a school administrator. He retired from the Air Force Reserves in 1969 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

To read Jefferson’s entire life story, and be inspired by his life and lessons, you can find his book, “Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman” in the CAF Red Tail Squadron store. The book is filled with deeply personal accounts of the racism and obstacles Jefferson faced, lessons of American history generations need to understand and absorb.

You can also see Jefferson in “The Luft Gangster: Memoirs of a Second Class Hero,” documenting his life and experiences. Both items are available in the CAF Red Tail Squadron store, with all proceeds benefiting the mission of the group and their educational outreach efforts.

We salute Lt Col Jefferson for your place in history and the lessons we have learned from your life. Thank you for your service and example of perseverance.

Brad Lang Alexander Jefferson and Bill Shepard with P 51C Tuskegee Airmen

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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A salute to CAF Red Tail Squadron founding member John Schuck

Bringing an aircraft to life, after decades of neglect and exposure to the elements, is a formidable task. The great excess of time, expertise, funds and parts needed to make this kind of dream a reality are in short order. Through sheer grit and determination, members of the Commemorative Air Force have pulled off this miracle time and again, rescuing heaps of scrap from the junkyard to return to flight, an ultimate honor to the heroes of World War II that flew and maintained these majestic warbirds.

Pic threeCAF member John Schuck shares his part in the spectacular resurrection of the CAF Red Tail Squadron’s own P-51C Mustang Tuskegee Airmen in his book There They Go. By all accounts, the memoir is a beautiful tale of one American’s love of aircraft, service to country and dedication to remembrance. Because of the good will of CAF members like Schuck, future generations will be able to see, hear and feel an important piece of history.

For the P-51 enthusiast, Schuck’s book recounts in great detail the humble beginnings of the restoration of the aircraft that would become the centerpiece of the CAF Red Tail Squadron. As with most things in life, the path was neither easy nor straight.

Schuck first encountered the aircraft that would become the CAF’s signature “red tail” in 1974 in a hangar at Crystal Airport in Minneapolis. It’s owner at the time had dubbed it the S&S Special and intended on modifying it for high performance at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, although that never came to fruition.

“It was 1974 when I first saw the CAF P-51C. It was a collection of parts with a relatively complete fuselage and wings…. Little did I think that restoring this aircraft was to be the prime focus of my CAF involvement. It was in the goals section of my application for membership in 1975.”

~ John Schuck

There They Go

Schuck attempted to help facilitate a restoration between the owner and another private investor, to no avail. The steep cost of warbird ownership, restoration and maintenance is a tough sell. 

The aircraft was eventually donated to the CAF, stored first at CAF’s old Rebel Field in Mercedes, TX, then assigned to the CAF Great Planes Wing in Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1983. Still a “bucket of bolts,” the plane was assigned to the CAF Minnesota Wing in 1988.

An important side note, the aircraft had been used stateside as a trainer during World War II, and after was designated surplus. It sat on static display at Montana State College (now Montana State University) for nearly 40 years.

When the P-51 came to the CAF Minnesota Wing, where Schuck was an avid and active member, the plane had found a home in which to recuperate and be nurtured to flight once again. It was here the decision was made to restore the plane in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen who had shown great success in the airframe as America’s first black military pilots in World War II. A vision was born, and the Red Tail Project, the precursor to the CAF Red Tail Squadron, would make its debut.

Shuck put in much research and effort to drum up support for the concept and was the main support driver for the program. Finally, in 1992, the Wing was able to shift their focus to the project. At this time, the Tuskegee Airmen were still relatively unknown, so the time was ripe to not only restore a legendary warbird, but also help bring an important piece of American history to the mainstream.

Other CAF Minnesota Wing members involved with the project’s concept and fundraising were Doug Rozendaal, Doug Olson, Robert Granvin, Jeff Keopp, Larry Daudt. Several folks outside of the CAF lent their support and volunteer service as well, including Dr. Rita Boags.

Original Tuskegee Airman Kenneth Woffard became involved in the project giving his guidance, as would many other Tuskegee Airmen as the years progressed. In 1998, Don Hinz became the first flying sponsor of the aircraft and took the reigns to lead the program from Schuck, financially backing the completion of the restoration. Hinz most notably laid out a roadmap to bring the lessons of the Tuskegee Airmen into every classroom in America.

The aircraft was named Tuskegee Airmen and made its first debut flight in May 2001, an instant hit on the airshow circuit. Tragically, Hinz passed away in 2004 from injuries sustained in an engine malfunction in the P-51C, yet the mission prevailed, and the aircraft took to the skies again, a testament to the supporters of this fine program.

Like Schuck, CAF members around the country are filled with a zeal for service and remembrance. Without their selfless dedication, many historic relics would have fallen by the wayside. John Schuck personifies the spirit of the founding vision of the CAF Red Tail Squadron. He holds an important place in our own history book, and we owe him hearty thanks for playing a significant role in the formation of what today is the CAF Red Tail Squadron.

There They Go is available on Amazon.

Pic two

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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Profiles of Tuskegee Airmen: Lee Archer

Tuskegee Airman Lee ArcherTuskegee Airmen pilot and notable record holder Lee Archer was born September 6, 1919 in Yonkers, New York and raised in Harlem. He was a graduate of New York University before he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in November of 1941.

Archer had aspirations of becoming a pilot, but at the time of his enlistment flight training had not yet opened to qualified black service members. Instead, he received training as a telegrapher and field network communications specialist and assigned to a post in Georgia. Then in December of 1942, Archer was accepted into the new aviation cadet training for black Americans at Tuskegee Army Airfield.

Archer earned wings on July 28, 1943 as part of class 43-G-SE with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. He graduated first in his class. He was assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group of the 302nd Fighter Squadron, who would later become known as the famed Tuskegee Airmen.

While serving in Italy during World War II, Archer flew an astounding 169 combat missions, strafing targets on the ground and escorting bombers on their important missions over dangerous territory.

On October 12, 1944, Archer was a part of a group of six members of the 332nd Fighter Group that shot down a total of nine enemy aircraft while on a strafing mission from Budapest to Bratislava. Archer, flying Ina the Macon Bell, shot down three German Me-109s, and Capt Wendall Pruitt, flying Alice-Jo, show down an He-111 and Me-109. The combined aerial victories earned the duo the nickname “The Gruesome Twosome.”

He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for his efforts, and a spot in the history books. After another victory, he became one of only four Tuskegee Airmen to achieve four aerial victories. During his military career he also received special citations from Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson, along with the Director of the CIA.

Following the War, Archer served as a pilot instructor and taught in the Reserve Officer Training Corps at New York University. He held numerous leadership and staff positions including chief of protocol for the French Liaison Office, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe; White House Air Force-France project officer; chief or executive officer of three international military organizations including the SHAPE Liaison Office, the 36th North American Air Defense Division and Headquarters U.S. Air Force Southern Command in Panama.

He retired from the Air Force with 29 years of service 1970.

Like many of his fellow Tuskegee Airmen, Archer had a successful civilian career following his military service. He was the Vice President for Urban Affairs at General Foods Corporation; CEO of North Street Capital Corp.; and chairman of Hudson Commercial Corp. He also served on the Board of Directors of Beatrice International Foods and the Institute for American Business, a General Motors Venture Capital Subsidiary. In these roles he helped to finance many important companies, including Essence Communications and Black Enterprise Magazine. He later founded the venture capital firm Archer Asset Management.

Lee Archer passed away January 27, 2010 at the age of 90. His legacy will never be forgotten.

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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Save the date! “Meet a Tuskegee Airman” live webinar and call-in event!

Join Tuskegee Airman Dr. Harold Brown and CAF Red Tail Squadron Leader Doug Rozendaal for a free LIVE webinar and conference call! Hear Dr. Brown’s inspirational story and learn how others can benefit from his extraordinary experiences.

February 28, 2018

7:00 p.m. Eastern Time

FREE!

Please join us for this free event to talk with Tuskegee Airman Dr. Harold Brown, a pilot with the renowned 332nd Fighter Group of World War II. Dr. Brown is a true American hero who overcame many obstacles, including prejudice and discrimination, to realize his dream of becoming a pilot. Learn how he survived being shot down over enemy territory and taken prisoner of war.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear Dr. Brown LIVE, listen to his inspirational story and learn from his extraordinary experiences! Stay tuned to the entire event for a live question and answer session!

Register now!

2018 webinar graphic

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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Don’t miss this documentary about the Tuskegee Airmen on February 3rd!

Mark your calendars or set your DVR! The documentary, “In Their Own Words: The Tuskegee Airmen” will be featured on the Discover Network’s American Heroes Channel Saturday, February 3 at noon. The film includes interviews with original Tuskegee Airmen that takes visitors on a journey of the famed Airmen’s experience, in their own words.

The filmmakers have teamed up with the CAF Red Tail Squadron to offer the DVD for purchase in our official webstore. Proceeds benefit the Squadron’s important educational outreach work, like the educational materials we curate and offer for free to teachers and youth leaders.

Don’t miss out on a unique perspective on the Tuskegee Airmen, and support the work of the CAF Red Tail Squadron by picking up your own copy!

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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Read a student’s interview of Tuskegee Airman Harry Stewart!

As the go-to resource for accurate information about the Tuskegee Airmen, and the premier provider of free, easily accessible educational content, the CAF Red Tail Squadron is happy to help accommodate the many special requests we get.

Recently, a high school student in New Jersey contacted us regarding his project to interview survivors of the Great Depression, World War II and the Korean War. He really wanted to learn from one of the Tuskegee Airmen, and luckily we were able to put him in touch with Tuskegee Airman Harry T. Stewart.

Read an expert form their interview with will be used in this student’s final work!

 

Q: What is your full name? What date and where were you born?

A: Harry T. Stewart, Jr., born July 4, 1924 in Newport News, VA

 

Q: Do you remember growing up during the Depression? What were things like for you and your family?

A: Yes, I remember the depression very well. I grew up in the borough of Queens in New York City. My father was a Postal Clerk, so we did not suffer financially.

 

Q: Did you ever face racism while growing up? Did this impact you personally?

A: My neighborhood and schools were fully integrated, but there was subtle racism.

 

Q: Did you go to school? Would you notice others suffering because of the Depression?

A: I went to public schools in Queens. I was very conscious of people in the community suffering from the Depression.

 

Q: When did you decide to join the military and why did you join?

A: All able-bodied males between the ages of 18 and 38 were subject to involuntary conscription. I volunteered by taking a qualifying examination to ensure my training to become a pilot.

 

Q: Where did you go to boot camp? What was your training like?

A: My pilot training started in March of 1943 at Tuskegee Army Air Field, Alabama. The training was very rigorous.

 

Q: Were you assigned to any particular fighting groups, divisions during the war?

A: Yes. I was assigned to the 301st Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group in Italy.

 

Q: When were you sent overseas? Were you excited?

A: I was sent overseas in November 1944. Yes, I was very excited.

 

Q: Were you in any particular battles during the war? Did you shoot down any enemy aircraft?

A: I flew 43 combat missions and shot down 3 enemy aircraft.

 

Q: When you joined the military was that the first time you saw an aircraft, or had you seen them before the War?

A: I grew up near an airport that had seen some military planes, but I never flew in a plane until I went into the military service.

 

Q: Did you come from a military family?

A: No!

 

Q: Do you remember when the War ended? What was your reaction to this?

A: The war in Europe ended in May of 1945. I was still in Italy. I wanted to go to the Pacific combat zone, but the war ended there in August 1945.

 

Q: Did you earn any specific medals during the war for your participation? If so could you list these medals?

A: Yes! I received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with seven Oak Leaf Clusters.

 

Q: Did you stay in the military after the War? If so what was the military like after the War?

A: I was discharged from the service January 1950.

 

Q: Do you remember the civil rights movement? Did this impact you in any way? Can you describe it?

A: Yes, I remember the civil rights movement very much. I attended the first March on Washington. It was a very meaningful time for the nation.

Learn more about Harry Stewart in the CAF Red Tail Squadron’s Profiles of Tuskegee Airmen!

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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Win a model P-51C Mustang and help share the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen!

Get out your camera! We are challenging YOU to send us a photo of your Tuskegee Airmen artifact, memorabilia, memorial, artwork, personal belongings… anything you think would make a good addition to our CAF Red Tail Squadron Virtual Museum!

side view SM 1024x10242xThe fun starts TODAY! The entire month of December, each time you submit a photo of an item to the Virtual Museum you will be entered into our weekly drawing for a mahogany wood model of our P-51C Mustang Tuskegee Airmen, an $85 value! You NEED this for your collection!

We know you appreciate the history and experience of the Tuskegee Airmen as much as we do, so we’re asking you to join the team and help up find some great items to include in the Virtual Museum. Building out this great resource will help people of all ages – from all over the world! – learn more about this import piece of history.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Is there a memorial to the Tuskegee Airmen near you? There are statues, plaques and other monuments at airports, parks and other public places all over the country. We want to showcase ALL of them in our Virtual Museum. Snap a pic and let us know!

Do you or someone you know have a medal, certificate, uniform, tool or other item that was used by a Tuskegee Airmen? We don’t house any physical items in our Virtual Museum, so the item stays with you. All we need is a picture, info and your permission to share!

Are there artifacts at your local history or air museum? Ask permission from the museum staff to include a photo in our Virtual Museum. We will gladly cite the resource and link back to their museum’s webpage.

Not sure? Contact the CAF Red Tail Squadron Virtual Museum manager with your ideas at darcy@redtail.org.

Don’t waste any time submitting your item for consideration! The first drawing will be Friday, December 8. Submit each week during the month of December for a chance to win!

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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Another year of firsts all to honor the Tuskegee Airmen!

AwardWe recently wrapped up our 2017 airshow season with the RISE ABOVE: Red Tail tour participating in 30 events from February to November. The year marked an evolution in the educational outreach of the CAF Red Tail Squadron’s important inspirational message, and we look forward to a productive winter at the CAF National Airbase in Dallas before heading out for a full 2018 season of events.

August marked the launch of the new CAF dome theater program in conjunction with the CAF Education team and national CAF RISE ABOVE education initiative. The original film “Rise Above” celebrating the Tuskegee Airmen, shown in the RISE AVOVE Traveling Exhibit mobile movie theater, can now also be featured inside a portable, cost-effective, inflatable dome theater. For the first time, this inspirational message of the Tuskegee Airmen can reach far beyond our annual tour to multiple films shown throughout the country at multiple events during the year. It’s an upgrade to the group’s educational outreach structure that allows for significantly greater opportunities to tell the story of the Tuskegee Airmen.

In October, the Virtual Museum was added to our online educational resources to shine a fresh light on the experience of the Tuskegee Airmen. This easily accessible gallery is curated by our internal team but populated with photos and information of items significant to the Tuskegee Airmen provided by supporters that also have an interest in honoring the legacy of these remarkable American figures to ensure their story is not forgotten. The addition of the Virtual Museum further defines redtail.org as the complete resource for all things related to the unique kind of inspiration that comes from learning about the Tuskegee Airmen.

This year, we also expanded our robust support offerings for events that have booked the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit and or P-51C Mustang Tuskegee Airmen. This community outreach protocol includes visits to local schools and other community venues before the show or event and pre-event marketing support for airshow producers and event planners, including professional social media tools. We are developing a deeper impact with the communities we visit by helping promote the host event while broadcasting the message of the Tuskegee Airmen to an even wider audience.

Also, we were recognized by the Experimental Aircraft Association with the AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 Service Award for our creative and compelling presence at the event’s KidVenture program. In addition to the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit as a centerpiece of this family-friendly attraction, we brought special guest Tuskegee Airman Harry Stewart to greet and interact with kids at the event, resulting in record attendance numbers.

“We take pride in the positive impact we have on the communities we serve,” said Kristi Younkin, CAF Red Tail Squadron logistics coordinator for the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit and P-51C Mustang Tuskegee Airmen. “We maintain a rigorous event schedule to ensure we bring the message of the Tuskegee Airmen to as many new places as possible, and the more we can engage these communities the greater our potential for honoring these important American heroes and inspiring people to rise above their own obstacles.”

Contact Younkin at logistics@redtail.org or (479) 228-4520 to book the CAF Red Tail Squadron for your event. The 2018 schedule is filling up fast, but some spots are still available and reservations can now be made for events in 2019. Attending the International Council of Air Shows annual convention? Stop by booth 223 to learn more about the benefits of including the CAF Red Tail Squadron in your next event.

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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Thank you for contributing to the Virtual Museum!

We are proud to report that since the launch of our Virtual Museum one month ago, we have received some remarkable submissions. Folks all over the country have been eager to share their personal or family treasures to help tell the story of the Tuskegee Airmen to a wide audience, and we invite you to “come in” and visit!

Photo of P 51 and Tuskegee Airman from B 17We’ve heard some pretty amazing stories, like David Ward Sr. His father, Elden Ward, was B-17 gunner. On a mission during the War, he captured a photo on his simple Kodak Brownie camera of one of the P-51s escorting their bomber. He was grateful to the “red tail angels,” as they were calling the Tuskegee Airmen at that time. They had developed a reputation for keeping the bombers safe.

Years later, Ward and his family were curios about the aircraft and pilot in that shot. His son did some investigating, and learned that the pilot was Tuskegee Airman Charles Lane. In fact, the two men had lived somewhat near each other in Nebraska, but never knew it. Remarkable.

We are humbled by the supporters and followers of the CAF Red Tail Squadron who have taken the time to send in their artifacts. If you’ve got something you’d like to share – an article of clothing, tool, book, anything that belonged to a Tuskegee Airmen or is relevant to their experience – we encourage you to submit through our easy online portal. All we need is a photo and to share any information you may have. The item never leaves you! We just want to virtually share it with the world as yet another meaningful way to honor the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.

In a very exciting development, you can now subscribe to the Virtual Museum and be kept up to take with all new artifacts! We will let you know via email when we have added something new, so you can be the first to see. Just fill out the subscription form on the Virtual Museum’s home page, and rest assured that your information will only be used to share news with you about the latest artifacts, memorials, artwork and other interesting items!

RISE ABOVE!

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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Profiles of Tuskegee Airmen: Vernon Hopson

Tuskegee Airman Vernon HopsonLike many of those that went on to become pilots with the famed Tuskegee Airmen, Vernon Hopson dreamed of flying from a young age, even though he had never had the chance to go up in an airplane. Because of the deep divides of racism that still blanketed the country, people of color were confined to menial roles and limited opportunities, and certainly being a pilot was far out of reach at that time.

Growing up in Lee County, Texas, a small community 60 miles outside of Austin, times were tough for Hopson and his family coming out of the Great Depression. He worked in the fields and joined the Civilian Conservation Corps to find employment. Students from a local flight school flew low over those fields, sparking his passion for flight.

With the war on the other side of the ocean drawing the U.S. into the conflict, military leaders slowly began to consider the possibility for adding black Americans to the talent pool for much needed pilots for the war efforts. When he read about black pilots being trained at Tuskegee, the dream started to become a reality.

He spoke about the news with his former high school principal, who encouraged him to pursue the program. He himself had wanted to be a pilot but was unable to fulfill that dream because of the color of his skin. He saw an opportunity for this young man to have a different fate.

Hopson entered military service in July 1943 after being accepted into Aviation Cadet Flight Training. By November 1944, he was successfully checked out in the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk and achieved the rank of Warrant Officer. He was assigned to the Operational Training Unit in North Carolina, and then to the 477th Composite Group, flying P-47s to escort B-25 bombers that were set for deployment to the fight the war in the Pacific theater.

Fortunately, World War II ended across the globe on August 15, 1945, and the 477th never deployed to combat. Hopson service was ended, and although he had earned his wings, he could not find employment as a pilot after the war because he was black. The best offer he got was to wash planes, an unacceptable offer for a licensed military pilot and war hero. Instead, Hopson re-enlisted in the United States Air Force where he served until 1963. His military career took him all over the world including Japan, Guam, Korea, Greenland and Italy.

His time in the Air Force led him to pursue a civilian career with the Federal Aviation Administration, and Hopson became one of the first black air traffic controllers in the country, working for more than 20 years at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the St. Paul Downtown Airport, also known as Holman Field.

In the tenuous years that marked the fight for civil rights in the 1960s, Hopson has said that he felt as if he had to keep a low profile or risk losing his job. After his retirement from his civilian career, and the story of the Tuskegee Airmen was beginning to come into public consciousness, Hopson gave his time speaking in public about his experience. Countless people were touched and encouraged by his story. Vernon Hopson passed away in 2009.

We salute you, Mr. Hopson, for your courage, valor and service to our country. RISE ABOVE!

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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BIG NEWS! The CAF Red Tail Squadron’s new Virtual Museum shines a fresh light on the Tuskegee Airmen!

artifacts collage low resThis just in! The CAF Red Tail Squadron is excited to announce the launch of our new Virtual Museum, creating yet another exciting way for people to learn about and appreciate the Tuskegee Airmen. Nowhere else can people of all ages, from all around the world, come to one site and learn so much about the history and experience of the Tuskegee Airmen.

“Step inside” this virtual hall of artifacts, memorials and artwork to feel history come alive. The CAF Red Tail Squadron is virtually curating a collection of items of significance to the Tuskegee Airmen, from a flight jacket worn by pilot Woodrow Crocket, to the Congressional Gold Medal awarded collectively to the Tuskegee Airmen, to a mural of Clarence Dart adorning the streets of Elmira, NY.

We’ve started this treasure trove of items to peruse, and now we pass the torch to YOU. Does someone in your family have any artifacts significant to the Tuskegee Airmen experience? Do you have a memorial to the Tuskegee Airmen in your community? Share that knowledge and inspire those who want to know more by including a photo of your Tuskegee Airmen artifact or memorial in our Virtual Museum, and play an important role in our mission, without your item ever leaving home! Tell us about it and include your piece of history in the Virtual Museum!

What began as a dream to broadcast the inspirational message of the Tuskegee Airmen across the entire country has become a reality in the years since the founding of the CAF Red Tail Squadron. As the years have gone by we have made some amazing strides – the full restoration of our P-51C Mustang Tuskegee Airmen, the success of our RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit mobile movie theater, and a treasure trove of free educational resources that are accessed and used by teachers and youth leaders at an ever increasing rate.

The launch of the new CAF Red Tail Squadron Virtual Museum is our next big adventure, and only propels our inspirational message to a wider audience. Check it out, participate and share the news!

This is a community collaborative effort and we are excited to facilitate the special kind of excitement that comes from each one of us sharing our knowledge about the remarkable Tuskegee Airmen. THANK YOU for being a part of this important journey!

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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Profiles of Tuskegee Airmen: Harry Stewart

nc tuskegeeai2 150220While still a teenager, growing up in New York City, Harry T. Stewart Jr. enlisted in the war effort and joined the legendary ranks of the Tuskegee Airmen. He earned his wings and commission in 1943, but his youth did not hinder his ability to become one of the most famous of the Tuskegee Airmen pilots of World War II, and beyond.

Stewart was born in Newport News, Virginia, and moved with his family to Queens when he was a toddler. The proximity of his family’s home to what is now LaGuardia Airport placed Stewart under the flight path of the aircraft coming and going to this burgeoning travel hub of New York City. In awe, the youngster grew up to become one of our country’s first black military aviators.

At 17, Stewart signed up for war service, volunteering before being drafted. He was called up promptly after turning 18 and passed the exams to qualify to train to become a pilot, and heading off shortly after to Tuskegee Army Air Field for initial flight training. He was destined to learn to fly before he even learned to drive a car.

After his time at Tuskegee, he completed combat and fighter training at Walterboro Army Air Field in South Carolina before being sent to Italy with the 301st Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group in 1944.

Stewart flew 43 missions in combat, amassing an outstanding record. He is widely acclaimed for being one of only four Tuskegee Airmen with three aerial victories in one day, amazingly taking down three German Focke-Wulf 190s on April 1, 1945. The feat took place while on a mission to escort and provide cover for B-24 bombers on a raid over Linz, Austria. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for the effort, and earned a place in the history books.

After the War, Stewart was a part of the team from the 332nd Fighter Group that won the first ever USAF fighter gunnery competition in 1949, a grueling 10-day event held at what is now Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada for all military fighter groups. Despite flying obsolete single-engine P-47 aircraft for the event, they led from the start and won in the conventional aircraft division.

Stewart was honorably discharged from active duty in 1950, serving as a Reservist for several more years, eventually retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He resumed his education and earned a degree in mechanical engineering from New York University in 1963 where he served as the present of the student council and chair of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

He went on to have a successful civilian career, retiring as Vice President of the ANR Pipeline Company in Detroit, Michigan, operators of one of the largest interstate natural gas pipeline systems in the United States. Outside of work, Stewart’s passion for aviation kept him in the air and he continued to fly, even earning his commercial glider pilots license at the age of 81.

Harry Stewart is a friend to the CAF Red Tail Squadron, appearing at events to inspire people of all ages with the important lessons of the Tuskegee Airmen. We salute you, Lt Col Stewart, and thank you for being an example of courage for generations to come.

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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A successful HUGE leap forward to tell the story of the Tuskegee Airmen!

IMG 7245Our educational outreach potential has just ballooned to enormous proportions!

In conjunction with the education team of the Commemorative Air Force, we are excited to announce the very first successful screening of our original film “Rise Above” inside a portable, cost-effective, pop-up dome theater. This means that the inspirational message of the Tuskegee Airmen can reach far beyond our tour directly to the 72 CAF units around the country!

That takes us from one film being shown inside the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit at stops around the country, to multiple films shown throughout the country at multiple events throughout the year.

Working together, we can grow our outreach numbers exponentially to inspire people to RISE ABOVE their own challenges and pursue their dreams, just like the Tuskegee Airmen. The potential for this new project is something to shout about, and we are poised and ready to help our fellow CAF units implement this awesome and cost-effective program.

The CAF Florida Wing is the first CAF unit to take up the challenge, led by Butch Stevens, their education technology officer. Recently, along with the CAF national education team and CAF VP of Education (and our very own P-51C Mustang pilot!) Bill Shepard, the group hosted the first “beta test” event in their dome theater, premiering the re-mastered film for this new format. Local children were invited to the CAF headquarters in Dallas, Texas for this fun, free and inspirational event. The energy and excitement was palpable, and this new RISE ABOVE experience was a huge hit.

With the portable dome theaters, our fellow CAF units are going to be able to extend the reach of the inspirational message of the Tuskegee Airmen directly to their communities. This is a giant leap forward towards our mission, and one that especially honors one of our founders, the late Don Hinz.

The CAF Red Tail Squadron was founded on Don’s vision to bring the story of the Tuskegee Airmen into every classroom in America. With hard work, determination and a lot of support from our donors and followers, we have evolved into a world class organization that inspires people of all ages with the remarkable history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen through our P-51C Mustang Tuskegee Airmen, the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit mobile movie theater and free resources for educators.

When the Traveling Exhibit made it’s debut, we were able to take our message “off the tarmac” with this remarkable mobile movie theater, reaching events that our Mustang could not. And now, the launch of the CAF education team’s dome theaters marks the next leap forward, multiplying out outreach potential to enormous proportions.

Stay tuned to find out where you will be able to see our film “Rise Above” in a new dome theater near you. And to our fellow CAF units, we hope to see all of you on board for this exciting and cost-effective educational outreach program that will help you increase your impact within your own communities!

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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Tuskegee Airman Speaking at Free Event in Red Wing September 12

Dr. Brown book coverThe CAF Red Tail Squadron is excited to announce an event in their hometown with Dr. Harold Brown, World War II pilot with the famed Tuskegee Airmen. The Squadron is hosting his appearance in Red Wing, which will inspire the local community through his remarkable experience as one of our nation’s first black military pilots.

The public is invited to meet this American hero in person and hear him speak about his personal experience from his new book, “Keep Your Airspeed Up: The Story of a Tuskegee Airman,” co-authored with his wife Dr. Marsha Bordner. The FREE event open to the public will be held Tuesday, September 12 at 6:00 p.m. at Sheldon Theater. All ages are welcome to attend.

Dr. Brown is a Minneapolis native and North High School graduate. He flew with the famed 332nd Fighter Group in World War II, the famed all black military pilots who overcame great adversity to fly and flight for our country. He graduated from the Tuskegee Institute’s segregated pilot training program and was commissioned as an officer in the then U.S. Army Air Corps in 1944. During his time in combat, Dr. Brown completed missions strafing targets on the ground and protecting bombers in the air. On his 30th mission, he was shot down over enemy territory, bailing out of his badly damaged P-51 and being taken as a prisoner of war.

Dr. Brown served his country for 23 years. He retired in 1965 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, experienced in 20 different military aircraft and with a post at Strategic Air Command under his belt during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Dr. Brown went on to earn a Ph.D., eventually retiring from Columbus Technical College as Vice President of Academic Affairs. His many successes after the war illustrate his passion for education and community service, which he has carried with him until today, speaking to countless groups and students to inspire them with his own personal story of struggle and success.

The event at Sheldon Theater will include a short video, a presentation by Dr. Brown, a question and answer session, and opportunity for autographs. Mark your calendar to meet, learn from and be inspired by this living legend. Sheldon Theater is located at 443 W 3rd St. in Red Wing. No tickets are required for this free event.

In addition to the event at Sheldon Theater, Dr. Brown has also made time to speak with local students and at a correctional facility in the area to encourage all to “rise above” their challenges and find success.

His visit to Red Wing is made possible by the CAF Red Tail Squadron, a non-profit group based in Red Wing that works to ensure the inspirational legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen lives on for generations to come.

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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