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, August 12, 2011

Scenes From An Open House

     The FREE open houses to introduce the CAF Red Tail Squadron RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit to the folks living in and around St. Paul and Minneapolis continues today and tomorrow. The site is Fleming Field in South St. Paul and the hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.  [For online directions, use "310 Airport Road, South St. Paul, MN 55075"]
     Yesterday was the first day of the 3-day event and set the stage for today and tomorrow.  The Minnesota Wing of the CAF opened up their WWII-era Quonset-style hangar. 
      It's quite beautiful inside with its unique wood ceiling and examples of "nose art" on the walls. Besides vintage aircraft, the old hangar houses an interesting museum, a "PX" that sells tee-shirts and other aviation-related items plus a little snack bar.
     







     The Wing volunteers arranged all of their available airplanes on the tarmac Many of the planes had volunteers stationed by them to help visitors climb onto the wings to peer into the cockpits.  Some lucky youngsters even got to sit in the pilot seat.
     
     





     The Squadron's own P-51C Mustang was the only airplane left in the hangar.  It is  getting an oil change and other maintenance required by the number of hours flown.  It looks a bit forlorn, doesn't it?  Not to worry - it will soon be winging off to air shows in Kansas City (Kansas City Aviation Expo on Aug. 20-21) and Waterloo, Iowa (Thunder in the Valley, August 27-28).  The RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit will also be going to those air shows.
  

     As happened when the exhibit was at AirVenture Oshkosh, visitors of all ages were anxious to register and watch the "RISE ABOVE" movie in the climate-controlled theater.
     Hearing (and seeing) the story of the Tuskegee Airmen and watching the Mustang flight sequences on that 160-degree curved screen is a thrill for all viewers.
     
 



     Three young World War II re-enactors were also at Thursday's event.  Andrew Sahli (seated) was "the German" and Matt Stone was the US soldier. 










     Tyler Befort demonstrated a rudimentary machine gun set up.  He and Matt even dug the trench by hand.














These open houses have something for just about everyone.  If you're in the mood to see something interesting and out-of-the-ordinary today or tomorrow, we hope you'll drive over to Fleming Field to see the movie and the airplanes and the hangar and the volunteers and ... well, you get the idea.

[I apologize for the odd spacing in this blog entry.  Just couldn't get everything to even out.]

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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