On December 12 The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Red Tail Squadron received a Pinnacle Award from the International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) at the Council’s convention in Las Vegas. The award, launched just this year, recognizes innovation, progressive ideas and originality in the air show industry. The CAF Red Tail Squadron won the award in the civilian performers category.
The mission of the CAF Red Tail Squadron is to educate audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen – America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel – so their strength of character, courage and ability to triumph over adversity may serve as a means to inspire others to RISE ABOVE obstacles in their own lives and achieve their goals. This is accomplished through a three-fold outreach program that includes an authentic, fully restored WWII-era P51C Mustang, the signature aircraft of the Tuskegee Airmen; the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit 53’ mobile theater featuring the original panoramic film “Rise Above”; and educational materials and programs for teachers and youth leaders.
As recognized by ICAS, the CAF Red Tail Squadron is using the excitement of aviation as a tool to help change lives, and air shows across the country are a platform to bring this inspirational message to audiences everywhere. The organization and their efforts are not only uniquely innovative; they are touching hearts and minds in a way that honors the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. They participated in 34 air shows and aviation events and over 26 additional educational outreach visits around the country in 2014 to get their message to those that need it most – the country’s youth who stand to gain a great deal from the lessons of these great Americans.
“We are honored to receive the ICAS Pinnacle Award,” said Doug Rozendaal, CAF Red Tail Squadron coordinator and pilot. “A great deal of effort from our staff and volunteers has gone into making our program successful, and we continue to work hard because we fervently believe in our mission. The message that is brought to these audiences of young people goes far beyond aviation – they are inspiring a generation to RISE ABOVE the obstacles in their own lives to triumph over adversity, as exemplified by the Tuskegee Airmen.”
Inside the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit, at visits tailored to youth, students are lead in an interactive discussion prior to and following the showing of the film “Rise Above” to engage them in thinking critically about concepts such as ambition, opportunity, drive and courage. When possible, original Tuskegee Airmen attend events and lead these discussions themselves, not just as celebrity guests, but also to further humanize the legacy of the Airmen and how their experience can resonate with the lives and struggles of young people today.
Individuals, businesses and foundations that are interested in supporting the educational outreach efforts of the CAF Red Tail Squadron can learn more about sponsorship opportunities by contacting LaVone Kay, marketing director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (888) 928-0188. One-time or recurring donations can be made securely online at https://secure.qgiv.com/for/crts or sent to the CAF Red Tail Squadron at 971 Hallstrom Drive, Red Wing, MN 55066.
The CAF Red Tail Squadron is 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. Their three-fold outreach program includes an authentic, fully restored WWII-era P51C Mustang, the signature aircraft of the Tuskegee Airmen; the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit 53’ mobile theater featuring the original panoramic film “Rise Above”; and educational materials and programs for teachers and youth leaders. The CAF Red Tail Squadron is part of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). To learn more about the organization, its mission or to become a donor, visit www.redtail.org or follow the Squadron on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cafredtailsquadron.