Tuskegee Airmen Honored at Thunder in the Valley Air Show

Tuskegee Airmen Honored at Thunder in the Valley Air Show

(WTVM) - Among several aircrafts on display this weekend at Thunder in the Valley is one that will bring honor to America's first African-American military pilots.

Those pilots are known as the heroic Tuskegee Airmen.

Rising above is what America's first African American Military Pilots used to overcome adversity while fighting for America during World War II. 

The Tuskegee Airmen's strength of character, courage, and ability to triumph is being honored by the Commemorative Air Force, also known as the CAF.

Volunteer pilot Doug Rozendaal says It's a nonprofit organization dedicated to telling the story of one of the highly respected fighter groups of World War II and how they overcame segregation and prejudice.

"You know in 1935 if you were a black kid in Detroit or Atlanta and your dream was to fly and fight for your country it wasn't a reasonable dream. About a thousand pilots and 10,000 soldiers went to Tuskegee and trained and ultimately, they weren't wanted, there was nobody that would take them and Eleonor Roosevelt went down there to shed some daylight on the situation and ultimately they went to Europe and when they got there they excelled", says Rozendaal.

With that same excellence, the CAF is bringing the Rise Above Red Tail Squadron exhibit to Columbus.

It's a traveling program that includes a fully restored aircraft like ones flown by the Tuskegee Airmen.

"The airplane on display was flown nearly 75 years ago and now we're flying it today in their honor," says Ronzendaal.

 The CAF also has a mobile theater telling the story of the heroic red tails through film.  

"You know the Tuskegee Airmen's story is not just an African American story we need to remember those stories and remember the sacrifices that were made and honor and remember those who made them so we can live free," says Rozendaal.

The P-51C Mustang was built in World War II. It didn't serve with the Tuskegee Airmen but the CAF painted the aircraft red to honor those brave men.

Very few combat pilot aircrafts used in world War II made it back to the U.S.

It's an honor to have a historic plane in the Chattahoochee Valley with the aim to remember the Tuskegee Airmen's bravery.

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