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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The OFFICIAL Reminder Blog Entry

February 1st is tomorrow!  
Our first of two webinar sessions with Tuskegee Airmen Harold Brown and Charles McGee is tomorrow!  

Coincidence?  I think not!
Dozens have signed up for tomorrow's 8-8:45 p.m. (Eastern time) online webinar, but there's room for more.   Participants will have the opportunity to text questions to Harold and Charles, making this an interactive webinar.  There will be no boring Powerpoint presentation.  Instead,  Harold and Charles will speak off the cuff about their experiences as Airmen and comment on the new Red Tails movie.

How often have you gotten to listen to a pioneering WWII fighter pilot who became a German POW when his plane was shot down (Harold) and the pilot who holds the USAF record for the most combat missions flown (Charles) speak live online about their experiences?  If your answer is fewer than two times, you need to be there! 

We encourage you to share this webinar information with your children's teachers, too.   If their students listen in, the teachers' classroom prep for the next week will be very easy because the whole group will have a lot to talk about in class thanks to this one-of-a-kind opportunity!

Click here to register for tomorrow evening's session: 

Click here to register for Saturday afternoon's session (3-3:45 p.m. Eastern time): 

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

Friday, January 27, 2012

"Was The Movie Accurate?"

     Today’s blog was going to be about history and landing gear, but a great opportunity for our readers “landed” here instead!  It was announced just two days ago that the CAF Red Tail Squadron will host two FREE webinars (think seminar on a website) on February 1 and 4 - that’s next Wednesday and a week from tomorrow.  The webinars will be in the same format and with the same guests; we’re just running it live twice so that people have a choice as to when they want to participate.
     The guests I mentioned are what will make this such a great event (times two).  Tuskegee Airmen Harold Brown and Charles McGee will be talking about their experiences during World War II vs. what is shown on the screen in the movie Red Tails.  A real effort was made to make Red Tails as authentic as possible, but there’s always “artistic license” when it comes to movies. It will be interesting to hear how the screen version stacks up against these Airmen’s true experiences.
     Many of you are familiar with Charles McGee. We featured him on these pages when he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame last year. He’s also the “star” of the “Rise Above” movie that is shown at schools and other youth-oriented venues.        
     Harold also has an interesting story: On his 31st mission as part of the 332nd Fighter Group, his red-tailed Mustang was shot down and he spent months as a German POW.  AND he was born and raised in Minneapolis so, as far as the Squadron is concerned, he’s “home-grown.”
     Some other fun facts about these amazing gentlemen:  

  • Both men made the Air Force their post-WWII careers.  Col. McGee holds the record for the most combat missions flown – 409 in three wars (WWII, Korea and Vietnam) and was base commander at three different sites including the Philippines and Italy. Lt. Col. Brown also served in Korea and then posted stateside where he worked with the SAC (Strategic Air Command) until his retirement.  He was current in 20 different aircraft during his military career.
  • Both men returned to school after retirement from the Air Force.  Harold earned a Master’s degree and a Doctorate; Charles earned his BA.  Both men are quick to encourage their youthful audiences to “stay in school!”
     Charles McGee and Harold Brown have both been unfailing supporters of the Squadron’s educational mission and we’re delighted they have agreed to join us for next week’s webinars.  We know you’ll want to join us, too so here’s the skinny about how to register for the events:

To be part of the Wednesday, February 1 event, which runs from 8-8:45 p.m. Eastern time, click here 

To participate in the Saturday, February 4th event, which runs from 3-3:45 p.m. Eastern time, click here 

We also invite you to encourage any young people in your life to join you at the session of your choice.  This is a chance to hear about history as it happened and that’s an opportunity that doesn’t happen every day.

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

To make a tax-deductible donation in support of the Squadron's educational mission, click here (and thank you!)

Friday, January 20, 2012


With all of the well-deserved fabulousity attending the opening of the Red Tails movie today (whoo-hoo!!!), I got to thinking about the first American movie that featured aviation – 1927’s silent film Wings.  It was the first movie to win the “best picture” Oscar (although it wasn’t called that yet) and the only silent film to do so. It is one of my personal “Top 25” movies and I try to watch it whenever it is on cable TV. (Updated DVD and Blu-ray editions are supposedly coming out next week.)

      Because Wings has no dialogue, the audience really has to engage with the screen action in order to follow the plotline. This intensity heightens the emotional response to this story of two World War I pilots. It has a stellar cast (for the time) – Clara Bow, who was a huge star in the ‘20s; Gary Cooper in one of his first credited roles; Richard Arlen (who hailed from St. Paul) and Charles “Buddy” Rogers. Arlen and Rogers both served as flight instructors during World War II – Arlen for the Army Air Corps and Rogers for the Navy - so you can bet they’re doing most of their own flying in Wings.
     In a nutshell: Two lifelong friends enlist and are sent to train as aviators and then go on to France to fight the Germans in the air.  They leave sweethearts behind (the course of true love is never easy…), one of which decides to also enlist as an ambulance driver and ends up in France where the guys are stationed.  Things get dicey on the ground and in the air.  Everyone is flying biplanes, of course, and all pilots are basically sitting ducks to the enemy.  I can’t say any more without giving the ending away, but if you’re not in tears (or close to it) by the end, you’d best double-check to be sure you’re breathing.
     There are flying scenes throughout the movie, but the big dogfight at the end is pretty impressive when you consider the comparatively rudimentary camera equipment they had to work with in 1927.  I’m really looking forward to the dogfights in Red Tails, too – different centuries, different techniques, same thrills.

      If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know my dad introduced me to aviation because he lived and breathed airplanes, especially B-26s and Mustangs.  He brought me to Wings for the first time and we watched it straight through twice (with apologies to the theater owners…).  The only other movie we ever sat through twice was also aviation-based, but it was the exact opposite of Wings.  You all remember Airplane, right?!? 

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


Friday, January 13, 2012

Another Fun Wrinkle Regarding the "Red Tails" Movie

By now you've probably figured out that I don't do a lot of "selling" on the blog for the Squadron.  Once in a while I'll mention something we have in the website's online store that may be interesting, but that's about it. In fact, I'm so dedicated to NOT selling here that I completely forgot to tell you that we have some items on eBay we're selling at a discount! Our seller ID is "cafredtailsquadrons" (don't forget the "s" at the end...)  You can find those same items in the "special sale" category at the estore here if you're interested.

Having said that,  I do need to let you know about a deal we've put together to raise money AND benefit you regarding the Red Tails movie that opens a week from today.  This blurb went out in an email this week and I wanted to be sure you had a chance to participate if you wanted to.  Please forgive the odd spacing - I couldn't fix it!

Dear Treasured Blog Reader [the email was actually personalized...]

On January 20th, Red Tails, a movie honoring the Tuskegee Airmen starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., and many other talented actors will be released in theaters across the country.

Millions of Americans will discover for the first time the history of these brave men who rose above obstacles in their lives to help defeat the Nazis overseas and “Jim Crow” segregation at home. 
 Red Tails star Cuba Gooding, Jr. enjoys his cockpit  time in the Squadron's red-tailed Mustang this fall.        
The CAF Red Tail Squadron believes the values of the Tuskegee Airmen are as relevant today as they were in World War II.

That's why we restored a P-51C Mustang called “Tuskegee Airmen” and built the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit, that - with your help - will tour the nation in 2012 promoting the values and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.
Will you help?

In return, we'll email you a gift certificate to purchase 1, 2, or 4 tickets (respectively) to the 'Red Tails' movie within 48 hours of your donation. Your gift will accomplish not just one, but two objectives: 
1. You will be supporting the work of the CAF Red Tail Squadron, and;
2. You'll be helping to make the Red Tails movie a success at the box office, which will draw more attention to this movie and the heroism of the Tuskegee Airmen.
As someone who reads this blog, I know you share my excitement about the release of Red Tails.[Yes, I had to change this phrase a little bit...]
Your support will keep our P-51C Mustang and the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit on the road visiting over a million children a year at schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, and other venues.
If you want your tickets by opening night, donate by Monday, January 16th (Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday) and you'll have your tickets emailed to you by Thursday, January 19th. If you don't get a chance to give a gift before then, that's okay! We'll still send you a gift certificate to redeem at your leisure, as they do not have to be used opening night.
 NOTE from the blogmistress: the photo attribution for this photo is incorrect.  The shot is actually a still from the "Rise Above" movie that is shown to students in the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit.  I pulled this copy from another source so I can't change the attribution.  I LIKE the shot of the boy with the Mustang so decided to let folks know what was what rather than pulling it.  We thank Mr. O'Neil for contacting us with his concern about the mistake - he did not want credit where credit is not due - and for his wonderful photo of Cuba Gooding, Jr. above.

So please, respond to my call to action and experience the Tuskegee Airmen with us on the big screen. Make your donation today so we can help people 'Rise Above' tomorrow.
Brad Lang

Bradford Lang
Proud son of a Tuskegee Airman
CAF Red Tail Squadron Leader &

Pilot of the P-51C Mustang
P.S. Before you log out, won't you help spread the word to your friends and family by copying the blog's URL and forwarding this message to your friends and family who might be interested in seeing the Red Tails movie and passing on the values of the Tuskegee Airmen to young people.  Thanks!
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

Friday, January 6, 2012

This Just In

     Here's a special message for our readers in  Minnesota and western Wisconsin (and anyone who knows anyone who lives there…): 

There will be a special viewing of the movie “Red Tails” in Oakdale, Minnesota on the day it opens, January 20.  

Here are the details:

Who: The CAF Red Tail Squadon in partnership with the family and friends of Don Hinz

What:   Special showing of the new George Lucas movie “Red Tails” on the day it opens, January 20, 2012.

Where:  Oakdale Marcus Theater
                   5677 Hadley Avenue North
                   Oakdale, MN 55128
                   (651) 770-4994

When:   Friday, January 20, 2012 at 7:15 p.m.

Why:   It was Don Hinz’s vision to get the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, who flew the “red tails” during World War II, into every classroom in the country using a flying red-tailed P-51C Mustang to create interest in these amazing men’s accomplishments.  The CAF Red Tail Squadron has been on that mission since the mid-1990s.  In 2004, the mission was put on hold when the Squadron’s restored P-51C Mustang crashed at a Minnesota air show.  Don was the pilot and he died of his injuries. The airplane was restored by 2009, and the mission was revitalized and continues to this day.
      The Hinz family and their friends are delighted that this exciting new movie will help get the story of the Tuskegee Airmen – so dear to Don - out into the public eye.  They are partnering with the Squadron to arrange this special movie showing. 
     Tickets are $10 each and a portion of each ticket sold will benefit the CAF Red Tail Squadron, which is managing advance ticket sales.  To order advance tickets, email or call 888-928-0811.  You can pay by check or using Visa or Mastercard.  

NOTE: If we sell enough advance tickets, the theater has agreed to show the movie on its UltraIMAX screen!  A regular screen will be good, too, but imagine the flying scenes on IMAX!

     We know the movie is going to be awesome – a fabulous combination of humans recreating a serious time in American history plus crackerjack computer-generated flight/fight scenes.  My guess is that you will never see so many red-tailed Mustangs in one place in your entire life as you will see on the screen!     
     You know what Mr. Lucas did with the Star Wars franchise – I personally can still see and hear that huge ship coming onto the screen overhead in the first scene of Episode 4 (which was really the first one released).  Mr. Lucas is so enthralled with the story of the Tuskegee Airmen that he personally put up $58 million of his own money to make “Red Tails.”

     So, wake a neighbor and tell a friend about this wonderful event on January 20 in Oakdale, Minnesota.  If you don’t live close enough to attend but know someone who does, please pass this information along to him or her.

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