Each day, the staff and volunteers of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Red Tail Squadron work tirelessly towards our mission to share the inspiring legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen – America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. In doing so, we believe telling the story of their success in triumphing over adversity during WWII will inspire people of all ages to RISE ABOVE obstacles they may face. We’ve seen it happen, and it fuels our fires each and every day to continue the work Don Hinz and the CAF began so many years ago.

Photo by Gary Chambers

Photo by Gary Chambers

If you are an avid follower of our events and performances, you already know two of the avenues we use to fulfill our mission: the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit and our vintage WWII twice fully-restored P-51C Mustang Tuskegee Airmen. Those two pieces are exciting, immersive and very compelling for visitors of all ages.

10297770_633273436753669_1190516545582058637_nBut the lesser-known and equally important third prong to promote our mission is our educational outreach program aimed directly at school-aged children. We provide educational materials and innovative ideas for teachers and others who work with youth to motivate students to set goals and RISE ABOVE any obstacles in order to achieve success. These resources are available in our online store.

The impact that we have been able to make cannot be attributed to our dedicated staff and volunteers alone, but also to our donors and event sponsors. Without the funds to pay the bills, our theater lights go out and our airplane stays on the ground! It’s the generosity of our supporters and the communities we visit that allow us to continue to bring our message to triumph over adversity to audiences throughout the country, at a time when it is needed more than ever.

Unfortunately, we’re still feeling the affects of last year’s sequestration that had a huge impact on the air show industry, and ultimately our ability to participate at these events.

“The air show industry is still recovering and funding is a main concern for event organizers,” said Marvona Welsh, logistics coordinator for the CAF Red Tail Squadron. “Air show attendance remains strong but potential event sponsors are slow to respond to that success. It’s become an even greater challenge these days to secure sponsorships and, regrettably, it’s affecting the travel schedules of the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit and our P-51C Mustang.”

We can’t effectively reach those that need to hear our message the most by staying home. We’ve got to get our exhibit on the road, the P-51C in the air and our materials in the hands of teachers throughout the country. And we can’t do it without YOU and your communities!

“The RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit and the P-51C Mustang have become very popular attractions at air shows nationwide,” said Marvona. “Because of this, there are many communities interested in bringing the Mustang and the “RISE ABOVE” movie to their towns, which means sponsors are needed now more than ever! We encourage you to become involved and help find sponsors to bring the inspiring story of the Tuskegee Airmen to your community. Together, we can make this happen.”

Contact us to donate or become an active volunteer in your community! We can work together to ensure kids and adults alike in your area have the opportunity to learn about the Tuskegee Airmen and be inspired to RISE ABOVE!

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