For Immediate Release
February 4, 2010
AFA Highlights Black History Month
Arlington, VA – The Air Force Association (AFA) today highlighted National African American History Month, celebrated each February to recognize the great contributions of African Americans to the nation.
Standing out in Air Force history is the remarkable story of the Tuskegee Airmen. A panel of three of the famed Tuskegee Airmen honored AFA recently by speaking at AFA’s 2009 Air & Space Conference: Col. Elmer Jones, Col. Charles McGee and Lt Col. Walter McCreary.
They told their stories, representative of the 13,000 people who served as Tuskegee Airmen during the 2nd World War. The Tuskegee Airmen Gold Medal recognizes the pilots, navigators and navigator bombardiers from the 477th Medium Bombardment Wing and the 10,000 enlisted men who armed and repaired the planes.
Their excellence and bravery throughout hundreds of missions, including shooting down 110 enemy aircraft in air-to-air combat and successfully escorting 200 bomber missions, is one of the reasons the Air Force was the first service to fully integrate in 1949, just two years after becoming an independent service.
“It was the armed forces’ racial integration that led America’s racial integration. If you wanted to track that particular reform in America, certainly the most important reform of the 20th Century, you would start with an acorn, the Tuskegee Army Airfield,” said Dr. Alan Gropman, who moderated the panel. “The Tuskegee Airmen were that acorn that grew into this great oak of racial integration.”
AFA is proud to remember the service and sacrifice of African American veterans throughout history, and appreciates the dedication of those serving our country now both here and abroad.
AFA is a 501(C)(3), nonprofit organization promoting public understanding of aerospace power and the pivotal role it plays in the security of the nation. AFA has over 200 chapters nationally and internationally representing 120,000 members. Visit AFA www.AFA.org.
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