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 3, 2012

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - Part II

     AirVenture ended on Sunday afternoon and airplanes and participants began the journey home – except for the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit.  Before you could say “Tuskegee Airmen rock!” Terry and Jeanette Hollis were on the road taking the Traveling Exhibit to Ypsilanti, Michigan for the Thunder Over Michigan Air Show this weekend.
     After AirVenture ended, the CAF Red Tail Squadron team was tired but happy as they looked back on the previous week.  AirVenture is always a very busy time for the CAF and the Squadron but this one was particularly so because AirVenture chose to honor the Airmen along with other aviation veterans.
     The Squadron team had to coordinate having the Mustang moved from here to there and back again numerous times for photo ops with the Airmen.  They welcomed a number of Airmen to the Traveling Exhibit and helped them get set up to greet visitors.  They hosted a lunch for a group of Airmen and their spouses.  And while they were doing all this, they had to be sure the Mustang flew when it was supposed to during the program AND ensure that all visitors to the Traveling Exhibit got a warm welcome. Mission accomplished all around.
     It was a busy week, but the team is already planning for AV OSH 2013!

Here are some photographic highlights:
At Warbirds in Review on Friday, three airplanes that the Tuskegee Airmen flew during the WWII years were on display together – a Stearman bi-plane and T-6 (behind the Mustang) were used during training and, of course, they flew Mustangs like the Squadron’s red-tailed beauty.  The Airmen spoke about their experiences in the three aircraft.

 Tuskegee Airman Bob Ashby was one of the group of Airmen who flew to OSH - with a spouse or companion - via private jet.  Here he waves at the photographer as he looks around.

EAA President Rod Hightower and the Squadron’s Doug Rozendaal welcomed the group of Airmen to OSH.

The Airmen were honored at the Greatest Generation In The Air celebration.  From left William Thompson (partially hidden); Charles McGee; Harold Brown; James Harvey; Bob Ashby; George Boyd; Washington Ross.

 The P-51C Mustang and the custom Ford Mustang attracted a lot of attention when they were posed together!

 CAF CEO Steve Brown spoke about the CAF and the Squadron’s mission at a press conference.  Singer (and pilot) Aaron Tippin also attended.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (so to speak…):

MMTers (Mustang Maintenance Team) John Beyl (on left) and Steve Kaminsen kept the Mustang beautiful with their secret weapon – Pledge - while newly certified Mustang pilot Bill Shepard preps for his next flight. 

Tuskegee Airman Charles McGee always makes an effort to spend time with us when he attends AV OSH.  Here he is flanked by Squadron Logistics Manager Marvona Welsh (on left) and Jeanette Hollis, one of the Squadron's drive team duo, as he sets up to meet his public.  People just LOVE to have their picture take with Col. McGee, and he always graciously obliges.

Finally, because this is really what it’s all about for the Squadron team, Jeanette Hollis poses with two young visitors who are delighted to show off their new dog tags, ssolid reminders of the inspiring story of the Tuskegee Airmen.

In case you missed it:

The Mustang is featured in the August issue of AircraftOwner Online Magazine.  The cover is fabulous and the story starts on page 8.

Ford Motor Company designed and created a highly customized “red-tailed” Mustang and donated it to the EAA so it could be auctioned at AirVenture Oshkosh with proceeds benefiting the EAA’s Young Eagles program.  Read about it here.

As mentioned earlier, the Mustang and RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit are in Ypsilanti, Michigan for the Thunder Over Michigan Air Show this weekend.  Be sure to stop and see us if you're lucky enough to attend.

Countdown to election day:  3 months and 3 days

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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