Exhibit, planes pay tribute to Tuskegee Airmen

Photo courtesy of cafriseabove.org

Commemorative Air Force Redtail Squadron, a well known aviation company, recently visited Tallahassee to educate, inspire and honor the historical legacy and sacrifice of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Commemorative Air Force is an organization that was created to find and preserve combat aircraft used in World War ll for current and future generations. CAF has a sector called CAF Red Tail Squadron, a traveling exhibit that ventures across the United States paying tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen. According to the official website of Commemorative Air Force, the exhibition is dedicated to inspiring the younger generation to triumph through any adversity they may face by using the stories and lessons of the Tuskegee Airmen.

During World War ll, the Tuskegee airmen were known as the nation’s first African-American aviators within the Army air corps. The Tuskegee airmen were not only facing combat overseas but also racial discrimination in their own country. During that time, African Americans didn’t have the privilege to serve as aviators within the military.

Jim Crow laws were instilled to segregate the military, public schools and other public places. Despite being faced with countless obstacles and many who didn’t believe in their capability, the Tuskegee Airmen were still able to exercise their right to serve their country fully.

Photo courtesy of cafriseabove.org

The exhibit at Tallahassee International Airport included an indoor air-conditioned mobile theater that presents a mini-documentary about the history of World War ll, the Tuskegee Airmen, and the racial divide that was present in America at the time.

“I decided to bring my daughter with me because it would be a great educational experience for her,” visitor Pauline Goodwin said. “I’ve grown up hearing about the Tuskegee Airmen, so I believed this would be a good opportunity to introduce my daughter.”

Also present was a replica of the P-51C Mustang, the plane used during the war. Visitors had the opportunity to take pictures, observe and examine the aircraft.

“Our company travels all across the country but what makes Tallahassee so significant is that some of the airmen actually came to Tallahassee for training at one point,” coordinator Elizabeth Hyman said. “Benjamin O. Davis Jr. wrote about his time in Tallahassee within a book he wrote.”

Notable aviators acknowledged during the exhibit were Bettie Coleman, James Banning and Eugene Bullard.

“We had a great turnout this year despite some mishaps,” logistics coordinator Kristi Younkin said. “We are hoping when the exhibit visits again we will give the Tallahassee area a great airshow.”

For more information on future events held by the Commemorative Air Force, visit the official website at cafriseabove.com.