Brad Lang 12014 has flown by! As we head into the last month of the year, we wanted to sit down with CAF Red Tail Squadron Leader Brad Lang to get his thoughts on the accomplishments from this year and his look ahead to 2015. Read on to hear Brad’s take on what we’ve done and where we’re going!

 

What were some of the Squadron’s biggest successes in 2014?

It was a great year for us. The RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit and our P-51C Mustang toured the West Coast for the first time. These were some amazing outreach opportunities. It was an honor to work in conjunction with Dr. Alan Cummings – former president of the Buford A. Johnson Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc. – to help build educational relationships with the Moreno Valley and San Diego school districts. The lives of numerous kids where positively affected with our visits.

Of course the annual event we attended in Port Clinton, Ohio, with original Tuskegee Airmen and longtime CAF Red Tail Squadron supporter Dr. Harold Brown, was a huge success. And we’ve made new friends in Canada at various events such as the Canadian International Air Show and the Canadian Aviation Expo!

What was something surprising that happened?

The Commemorative Air Force, our parent organization, is currently based in Midland, Texas, but they are working towards moving their headquarters to Dallas within the next year. When we attended the Dallas Air Expo, we were surprised and elated to see folks from the Oak Cliff community, where the CAF will be calling their new home, come out and support the event. It’s a great example of how the community has gained a better understanding of what the CAF does, and these interactions helped to dispel rumors and foster support.

Were there any obstacles that were overcome?

Of course being a 501(c)(3) charitable organization comes with its share of hard work, and fundraising is always a challenge. But we appreciate our supporters and are grateful for their ongoing commitment to help us fulfill our mission to share the legacy and history of the Tuskegee Airmen. We simply would not be able to do any of this without their generous support!

How has the organization evolved from prior years?

We have been in the process of growing from a small, grass-roots group to a larger entity that has the potential for greater educational impact. Our tools and outreach have expanded allowing us to reach more people. The RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit continues to be an awesome vehicle to educate people about the Tuskegee Airmen, along with the Mustang that, well, it just thrills! We’re delivering our inspirational message from the ground and the air!

What are we going to try to do better in 2015?

The CAF’s transition of their headquarters from Midland to to Dallas will be new for our Squadron and all the arms of the CAF. We will also continue to try to manage our growth more efficiently, while reaching and engaging existing and new donors in order to bring our message to those that need it most. The outreach never ends, and we will continue to be innovative and efficient!

What are some things for our followers to look forward to in 2015?

I’m very excited to say that we are planning to take our RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit and our P-51C Mustang on a tour of Northwest. That will be fun and challenging! I hope that those that follow our work that live in these areas will get a chance to come out and meet us in person, but most importantly this tour is important because it will be getting our inspirational message to triumph over adversity out to a whole new audience. Stepping out in to these new areas brings the hope and excitement of being able to bring the history of the Tuskegee Airmen to fresh ears, perhaps inspiring kids to change their lives in ways they never imagined.

Brad, you work really hard for the Squadron and are an important part of the organization’s success. What keeps you motivated?

I’m passionate about the educational footprint that we are able to impart on the public. It’s really simple; the ability to inspire others with the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen is why I continue to do this. Their courage and resilience to triumph over adversity cannot be forgotten to time. It’s a message that is sorely missing from the history books and it’s our mission to make sure kids – and adults! – get the chance to hear about and learn from these extraordinary American heroes.

We all know there’s a lot of competition for funding in today’s strapped economy. Why should donors continue to support the CAF Red Tail Squadron?

Our donors have such a great impact on the lives of those who are able to experience our RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit and see, feel and hear the Mustang in person. Their generosity is changing perspectives and lives. I know it for fact! We see it all the time out on the road. Every time someone makes a donation to our Squadron, THEY are the ones that enable us to touch and inspire so many people. The donors are making a difference! I can’t emphasize that enough.

What is something that a potential donor should know that may encourage them to become a first-time supporter?

It would be so great if people who are considering supporting the CAF Red Tail Squadron could come out to see us at an event, and see the kids’ excitement and enthusiasm up close. It’s infectious. At the very least, the photos of the smiling faces we post after these events captures the spirit of what we have been able to do for our visitors. It’s rewarding work, and the return on investment of a donation is priceless. Absolutely priceless.

***

Friends and supporters, on behalf of the staff and volunteers of the CAF Red Tail Squadron, we wish you and your families a very healthy and happy Thanksgiving. We are thankful for YOU, our followers and supporters who enable us to continue to press on towards our mission to educate audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, so their strength of character, courage and ability to triumph over adversity may serve as a means to inspire others to RISE ABOVE obstacles in their own lives and achieve their goals.

This holiday season, as you’re making your list and checking it twice, consider making a purchase from our online store at redtail.org/store/. There are calendars, books, videos, clothing and more…. and ALL proceeds benefit our educational outreach initiatives. RISE ABOVE!

 

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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