headerHere at the CAF Red Tail Squadron, we are pleased to report that this year’s air show season has been – yet again – filled with many wonderful opportunities to share the inspirational message of the Tuskegee Airmen through our RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit and P-51C Mustang, aptly named Tuskegee Airmen. We continue to crisscross the country to share this important piece of history wherever we can get a platform to do so.  But amidst the chaos of these many exciting summer events, it’s important to step back and reflect on why we do what we do, and to keep that goal in laser focus.

TA174The Tuskegee Airmen – heroes of WWII and the first black servicemen to serve as military aviators and their support crew in the U.S. armed forces – are as relevant today as they were when they were formed in 1941. Their accomplishments and ability to triumph over adversity serve as a model to all – regardless of race, age, gender or background. Under the lens of ignorance and hypocrisy, these men stared absurd obstacles square in the face and instead achieved nothing less than greatness. Their determination – coupled with immense bravery and hard work – helped our country win a war, and changed hearts and minds along the way.

“When I’ve been to Tuskegee University, the location of the flight training program for the Tuskegee Airmen, it’s like walking on hallowed ground,” said Professor Ron Brewington, Tuskegee Airmen historian and 22-year veteran of the Navy. “They proved an important issue – that blacks can fly an airplane, and disproved heartily the documents that said the contrary. They are role models to all races by showing that you can do anything if you try.”

We are blessed to have several of these men still with us today, but as time goes by and we move farther away from their generation, the legacy they have left us deserves to be universally known and remembered. Sadly, many people are unaware of this astonishing and inspirational part of our history. Don Hinz, founder of the CAF Red Tail Squadron, believed in the possibility to bring the legacy and lessons learned of the Tuskegee Airmen into every classroom in the county as a way to ensure their story would become known to all. And with our ongoing educational outreach efforts, we are working hard to make Don’s vision a reality, inspiring the next generation to carve out their own paths to success by sharing the exemplary story of these honorable men.

Supporters coverWe have one traveling exhibit and one airplane, but we have the resources to be in EVERY classroom! “Take Off For Fun” is our educational kit for teachers and youth leaders filled with resources that will help young people learn about the Tuskegee Airmen, American history, science and aviation. We also offer the original iBook Aim High – The Aircraft of the Tuskegee Airmen that is rich in interactive, exciting and informative content. We strive to put these tools into the hands of educators to help inspire youth to excellence and we hope every school will take the opportunity to utilize them.

As a fellow proponent of the importance of education, Professor Brewington shares in our passion to reach young people who have not learned the history of the Tuskegee Airmen. “We need to instill in the minds of young people who haven’t heard of the Airmen that education is important, and to remember those who came before us and fought for our freedom. They should be our role models,” he said. “The CAF Red Tail Squadron is doing a fantastic job using their resources to the best of their abilities to share this message.”

Current record keepers indicate that there are an estimated 30 known Tuskegee Airmen combat pilots still alive. When the last of these living legends has passed, we cannot afford to let their triumph over adversity continue to be glossed over in the history books. It is as relevant to this and future generations as it was to their own.

Booker T. Washington, founder of Tuskegee University and one of the most influential African-American educators and leaders in our country’s history, is quoted as saying, “I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by position that one has reached in life, as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed.” Every one of us faces our own obstacles, in varying shape and form, and can stand to learn a great deal from this important piece of American history.

As we continue our work taking us to events around the country and into classrooms everywhere, we will strive to honor and uphold the enduring legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. Please help us by sharing this information with YOUR school and community!

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