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Dates:  February 14 – 15, 2014
Event:  RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit visits the Palm Springs Air Museum
Location: Palm Springs, CA
Attendance: Estimated 1,000

_DSC2996-BerlinOn February 14-15, 2014 the Palm Springs Air Museum hosted  the CAF Red Tail Squadron’s Rise Above Traveling Exhibit. This is the first time the Rise Above Traveling Exhibit has travelled to the West Coast. According to Fred Bell, the Managing Director of the air museum, an estimated 900 -1000 patrons turned out to support the event. For those of you who are not aware, the Palm Springs Air Museum features a large display of historic WW II aircraft. Monthly events are developed which encourage the public to learn about the men, women and machinery that operated during WWII. In addition, there are displays in the museum, which pay tribute to those involved in the Korean and Vietnam wars as well.

_DSC3121-BerlinThis museum event featured a ribbon cutting ceremony which highlighted the museum’s efforts to restore their P-51D Mustang. The livery on the Mustang replicates the markings of Lt. Col. Robert Friend’s P-51D Mustang. Mr. Friend is a Tuskegee airman and local resident. The list of VIP’s included Tuskegee airman Buford A. Johnson (the TAI Chapter in Riverside is named after Buford), Buford Johnson TAI member and veteran Edison Marshall, Dr. Alan Cummings ( President of the Buford A. Johnson TAI chapter), actor/supporter Roger E. Mosley (aka TC from Magnum PI) and Brad Lang. Mr. Johnson was the Crew Chief in the 99thFS of the 477th Composite Group.  In 1949 the 332nd FG won the 1st place trophy at the Air Force’s first Weapons Meet flying P-47N Thunderbolts. The 332nd FG team were not recognized as the official winners at the time. This was corrected in 1995. Mr. Johnson’s presence was enthusiastically acknowledged with a standing ovation.

Patrons attending the event were warmly greeted by museum docents, as well as staff members, which included Lisa Slam and Fred Bell. Mr. Bell hosted and directed the ribbon cutting ceremony, which included short presentations by the VIP’s. Mr. Johnson concluded the ceremony with an elegant bit of prose and signed a P-51 rudder, which featured several other Tuskegee airmen signatures. While the majority of the patrons were mature in age, there were members of the youngest generation present as well.

There were approximately 315 individuals who viewed the RISE ABOVE  movie on Saturday. This group included Doug Rozendaal’s parents and younger sister Kelly. CAF Red Tail Squadron volunteers included Bill Baker, Herbert Jefferson Jr., Terry/Jeanette Hollis and Brad Lang. Finally, the CAF Red Tail Squadron would like to acknowledge and thank the tremendous efforts of Dr. Alan Cummings for his tireless effort in making our West Coast tour a success.

Please click here to see photos of  this and other events!

Submitted by Brad Lang, CAF Red Tail Squadron Leader

©CAF Red Tail Squadron 2014

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