History plays role in Tuskegee pushing for T-100 project - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

History plays role in Tuskegee pushing for T-100 project

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)

The city of Tuskegee continues to wait to find out if a big government contract will be moving in.

Global aerospace and defense firm Leonardo DRS is hoping to win a bid to build a new aircraft in Macon County for the U.S. Air Force.

If it comes though, the company will begin construction on the next generation T-100, a training aircraft. The project would create 750 high paying jobs with all of this happening at a site already famous in aviation history, Moton Field, home of the Tuskegee Airmen.

More than 75 years after the Tuskegee Airmen first took flight at Moton Field, their legacy still lives on inside the Tuskegee Airman National Historic site.

"We actually have a diorama showing you what it was like in Ramitelli Airfield," said Park Ranger Vester Marable.

Marable says although the journey started here, it was overseas during World War II where the Red Tails earned most of their recognition.

"It was in Italy where the airmen get those P-51 Mustangs, which are considered the Rolls Royce of aircrafts, and that's when they paint those tails red," said Marable.

It was then that the airmen formed a bond with the Italians, which came during a time they continued to fight against racism at home.

"This was a humbling experience for them. The airmen were able to feel as if they were making a difference," said Marable.

With the possibility of Italian-based global aerospace and defense firm Leonardo DRS setting up a plant across the runway, history has come full circle.

"This is a rebirth, this is a revitalization," said Marable.

Since the announcement came that the company was placing a bid with the U.S. Air Force, Mayor Tony Haygood said everything has been going smoothly.

"Leonardo came up very well in the initial review so we are very pleased with that," said Haygood.

As this community waits for the final decision they are pushing forward to show why they are the best choice.

"We are visiting people and sending letters. As people hear about it and understand the story behind it they're even more interested," said Haygood.

The final decision is expected to come between the end of September and the end of December. A campaign has been launched to engage the community, and garner support in order to land the project.

The national historic site in Tuskegee detailing their accomplishments is open Monday through Saturday.

Learn more about the T-100 Project here.

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