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 2, 2011

Tuskegee Airman Arthur Saunders

     The RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit was set up at the International Women's Air and Space Museum in Cleveland, Ohio this past Wednesday and Thursday.  Two special showings of the "RISE ABOVE" movie were scheduled on Wednesday, and Tuskegee Airman Arthur Saunders attended the morning event and was gracious during a meet-and-greet session after the movie.

Mr. Saunders was a 1st Lieutenant in the 477th Medium Bomber Group (which was later known as the 477th Composite Group).  Many people aren't aware of the fact that some Tuskegee-trained pilots trained to fly B-25 Mitchell bombers, but were never deployed because of the end of the war and other factors.  The 332nd Fighter Group was the only active unit populated by Tuskegee-trained pilots.

     Mr. Saunders was the Armament and Bombsight Officer for the 477th.  This meant that although he earned his pilot's license in 1941, he was earthbound but had big responsibilities. It was his job to ensure that all of the bombers had bullets for the defending machine guns, bombs in the bomb bays, and that each airplane's bombsight was operational (and accurate!).  He received his commission at Yale University in Armament, Bombsight and Engineering and trained at Tuskegee.
     We at the CAF Red Tail Squadron thank Mr. Saunders and the two other Tuskegee Airmen who stopped by the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit during its visit to the International Women's Air and Space Museum.  Some of these fine gentlemen may also be at the Cleveland National Air Show which runs Saturday, September 3 through Monday, September 5. 
      We hope to see you there!

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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