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, September 23, 2011

Happy Birthday To The Blog

     Today's blog marks the 52nd Friday that the Red Tail Squadron's blog has been published - a whole year of sharing thoughts with friends who stop in to see what this week's topic is.  Our first order of business on this occasion is to thank you for stopping by and reading the blog so faithfully.  It's been a hoot and a half to do this for you, and I hope we'll be spending many more anniversaries together.
   A lot has happened to the CAF Red Tail this past year. The two biggies were that we changed our name from the CAF Red Tail Project to the CAF Red Tail Squadron in June and rolled out the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit in July.  These two events meant busy, busy months for the team, but have been so worth it. The Traveling Exhibit has opened minds to the story of the Tuskegee Airmen and how what they did can have meaning for today's youth. 
     The blog has spent a number of Fridays tying the Tuskegee Airmen to World War II to education to the military to aviation to American history to European history - whew!  We've had unusual entries (the story of Morse code, this history of military songs) and sad entries (history of military cemeteries, the 1925 War College Report, the story of the Leroy Homer, Jr. Foundation just last week).   We've talked about people from last century (Bessie Coleman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Noel Parrish, my dad and his love letters to my mom, German POWs ) and those who have spanned that century and this, including a number of Tuskegee Airmen (Joe Gomer, Charles McGee, Arthur Saunders and more).
     We've talked about airplanes - which should surprise no one.  The crash of the Liberty Belle, the restored Stearman bi-plane that turned out to be one used by cadets training at Tuskegee in the early 1940s, our own Mustang, the WWII liaison pilots' little "putt-putts."  We spent a lot of time on the rollout of the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit - some may even say maybe too much time but when your organization arranges to build an IMAX-type screen housed in a semi-trailer with expandable sides that's climate controlled, can seat 30 and shows a cool movie with airplanes flying like you're in the cockpit, it does qualify as news!
     I have no idea what the next year will bring as far as topics to write about and that's half the fun for me.  I can tell you that next week's blog will be about the Freeman Field mutiny of 1945 when 162 Tuskegee Airmen wouldn't put up with being treated like 2nd-class officers by a racist commander and let him know it in no uncertain terms even though they suffered major consequences.
     If you have a topic idea for the blog, email it to cafredtailsquadron@comcast.net and I'll see if we can work your idea into the schedule for this year yet.  My favorite thing about writing this blog is the research I have to do to get each week's entry ready so don't be shy even if you think your idea may be a bit off the wall.
     Remember, the Tuskegee Airmen knew that their desire to fly and fight was "off the wall," but that didn't stop them.  They changed people's attitudes through their performance and persistence and that in turn changed history.

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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