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 26, 2011

To Honor Tuskegee Airmen...

Here are some interesting ways that three areas of the country have honored the accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen.

The entire stretch of Interstate Highway 75 through Kentucky has been designated Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Trail by the state.  It's 191 miles from Cincinnati (OH) to Jellico (TN).

Fun Fact:
Originally, only a 23-mile stretch of the freeway in one county honored the Tuskegee Airmen when the initiative started in 2007.  The additional 168 miles were added in 2010.

The Iowa Tuskegee Airmen Memorial is located on the north side of the Des Moines International Airport.  It has a full-size fiberglass replica of a P-51D Mustang.  12 Iowans successfully completed pilot training at Tuskegee (including Joe Gomer who now lives in Minnesota and often appears at local air shows and CAF Red Tail Squadron events.)  Seven others were Tuskegee trainees who, it was felt, deserved recognition even though for one reason or another they did not complete pilot training.

The CAF Red Tail Squadron's P-51C Mustang was at the dedication.
Tuskegee Airman Joe Gomer, among others, spoke at the dedication ceremony and dinner.

Fun Fact:
Iowa Tuskegee Airman Robert W. Williams wrote a manuscript about the Airmen that was used as the basis for the script of the 1995 HBO movie "The Tuskegee Airmen" starring Laurence Fishburne, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Courtney B. Vance and Andre Braugher.  The film also starred Cuba Gooding, Jr. who is one of the stars of the upcoming "Red Tails" movie which was produced by George Lucas.  A January 20, 2012 release date is planned for that movie.

This spring, 47 really big wall murals were noted in a Philadelphia (PA) art series.  [According to some sources, that city is home to as many as 3,000 murals!]  Called the Albert M. Greenfield African American Iconic Images Collection, the project was curated by a committee of African American scholars and leaders. One of the chosen murals is on the side of an apartment building on the University of Pennsylvania campus. It is called "Tuskegee Airmen:  They Met The Challenge" and was painted by artist Marcus Akinlana. The mural was dedicated in 2009. 

Fun Fact:
There is a 12 x 60 foot mural honoring the Tuskegee Airmen at the Palm Springs (CA) Air Museum. The mural was painted by renowned aviation artist Stan Stokes.

Air Show Note:
The RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit and the P51-C Mustang Tuskegee Airmen will be at the Thunder In The Valley Air Show this weekend at the Waterloo (IA) Regional Airport.  As always, if you're in the area and attend this great show, stop by and say hello!

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

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