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, June 10, 2011

What's In A Name?

     As you may have noticed, this blog has a new profile logo and description that refers to the CAF Red Tail Squadron.  We changed our name last week, but the rollout has been slow and deliberate.  In fact, this is the only one of our online presences that has the new name.  Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn will follow soon and our new website should rollout by the end of the month.  It's a busy time.
     I've  kept the blog's URL as it's always been - redtailproject - but, at some point, it will change. I'll let you know before that happens so you can rebookmark us and continue to follow the blog.
     The word "Squadron" in the context of our new name isn't really aviation-related although that's probably the most common usage of the word, particularly when discussing wartime fighting units.  The use of "Squadron" in our name is a way to indicate that the building we've been doing is done - there is no more "Project."  The airplane is flying and the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit is on track to be on the road in July.  The new name reflects that there is a group of people - a squadron - who all support the same thing: sharing the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen with other individuals - especially students - across the country.  These squadron members donate money, shop at the online store, follow us on social media, attend air shows where we have a presence, work on the airplane or volunteer with the CAF Red Tail team.  
     Of course, the Tuskegee Airmen were organized into real squadrons during World War II.  There were four "Fighting Squadrons" (FS) - the 99th, the 100th, the 301st and the 302nd.   They were eventually all brought together under the 332nd Fighter Group (FG).  The 99th fought in Africa before being reassigned to Sicily/Italy to join the other three FS, which had been assigned there right off the bat.
     There were also Service Squadrons - the 366th and 367th - which were assigned to the 96th Air Service Group. The members of these squadrons didn't fly.  Instead, they supported the pilots as mechanics, armament specialists, etc.  That's similar to how the CAF Red Tail Project has always been set up - only a few are qualified to fly the airplane while everyone else supports them and the educational mission.  The new name - CAF Red Tail Squadron - is a good fit.
     Our beautiful P-51C Mustang Tuskegee Airmen is painted to reflect the four FS:
*  The red and yellow striped cowling represents the 302nd Fighter Squadron.
*  The A on the side represents the 99th Fighter Squadron.
*  The yellow banding on the wings represents the 301st Fighter Squadron.
*  The red fins on the wings represents the 100th Fighter Squadron.


                                                                                           photo by Max Haynes

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven 501c3 non-profit organization that operates under the auspices of the Commemorative Air Force. For more information, please visit redtail.org.


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