Profile - The CAF Red Tail Project

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South St. Paul, MN, United States
The mission of the Commemorative Air Force's (CAF) Red Tail Squadron is to preserve and share the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America's first black military pilots. The Airmen served with distinction during WWII (and beyond). They overcame racism on the ground to fight fascism in the air, fighting for a country that turned a blind eye to policies and a large population that discriminated against these men and their families because of the color of their skin. The CAF Red Tail Squadron restored and flies a red-tailed P-51C Mustang such as the Airmen flew during WWII. The airplane appears at air shows in North America and at each stop her crew tells the story of the Airmen and how through persistence and courage they overcame huge obstacles in order to serve in the military. In 2011, the CAF Red Tail Squadron developed a traveling exhibit called "RISE ABOVE" to educate people - especially young people - about the Airmen and how they demonstrated the importance of setting goals and overcoming obstacles in order to succeed.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Heritage Flight

     At the bigger air shows, event planners hope to be able to pull together a crowd favorite called a heritage flight.  Heritage flights feature a grouping of airplanes from older (warbirds) to newer (jets) flying together, thrilling the crowds. The CAF Red Tail Project's P-51C Mustang Tuskegee Airmen has participated in a number of them.
     This grouping consists of the Project's P51-C Mustang, a  P-38 Lightning, an F-86 Sabrejet from the USAF Sky Blazers- precursor to the Thunderbirds - and an A-10 Thunderbolt aka the "warthog."  [The Tuskegee Airmen are probably best known for flying red-tailed Mustangs, but they also flew P-38s and P-47s, which were  known as Thunderbolts, too, a good 30 years before the modern version came out.]

     It takes a lot of piloting skill to slow down the jets and speed up the warbirds so they can fly together over enthusiastic crowds!

      In this picture, the F-86 has gone solo, leaving the Mustang, the Lightning and the Thunderbolt.

     Now it's just the Mustang and the Thunderbolt - the propellered warbird and the jet.

      These photos were taken by the USAF.  I'd like to thank Max Haynes for sharing them from his extensive collection of photographs.  Max is a talented graphic designer and aviation photographer in his own right.  He has done amazing work for the Project such as designing brochures, creating the annual calendars, and working on the new web site (hopefully to launch in May or early June) and RISE ABOVE mobile exhibit  You can see his photography and graphic art work at his web site:

The Commemorative Air Force's Red Tail Project is a volunteer-driven 501c3 non-profit organization. For more information, please visit


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