True American Heroes: Tuskegee Airmen

The Commemorative Air Force Red Tail P-51C is back on the circuit after extensive rebuild. Photo by Stefan Seville

A new firm about the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II premiered on January 20—Red Tails.  This film by George Lucas was a hard sell to the Hollywood studios.  Mr. Lucas invested his own money ($58 million) into this project. Additional information is listed below.

Who were the Tuskegee Airmen?

The Tuskeegee Airmen

The US Air Force: 

Tuskegee Airmen were an elite group of African-American pilots in the 1940s. They were pioneers in equality and integration of the Armed Forces. The term “Tuskegee Airmen” refers to all who were involved in the Army Air Corps program to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen included pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all the personnel who kept the planes in the air.

The National Park Service

Their love of flight became fully ablaze amid World War II as political pressure challenged the government to expand the role of African Americans in the military. The Army Air Corps was the first agency to accept the challenge. Tuskegee Institute, a small black college in Alabama, was selected to host the “military experiment” to train African American pilots and support staff—thus the Tuskegee Airmen were born. Military training in Tuskegee began in 1941 and ceased in 1946.

The outstanding performance of the over 16,000 men and women who shared the “Tuskegee Experience” from 1941-1949, is immortalized at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site.

Lt. Col. Luke Weathers Jr.

Air Force Lt. Col. Luke Weathers Jr.

Weathers flew P-51 and P-39 fighters during his service from 1942 to 1945 and earned a Distinguished Flying Cross, according to the National Guard Bureau. He and other Tuskegee Airmen were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007.

After the war, Weathers went on to become the first African American air controller, run a coin-operated laundry, raise five children, open a flight school, provide vocational rehabilitation for veterans and write a book about his life story that has not yet been published, Weathers Boyce said.

‘We are still educating people on the Tuskegee history,’ Weathers said, ‘because it’s a big part of American history, not African American or black history, but American history.’

Read more:

The Tuskegee Airmen


In 2012 it is difficult to comprehend how African Americans have been treated in this country over the centuries.  The Tuskegee Airmen were national heroes during World War II.

However, when the war ended and life went back to “normal”, the segregation of whites and blacks continued.   The struggle for civil rights would continue for the coming decades.

Basic inalienable human rights as listed in the Declaration of Independence have been difficult to achieve for African Americans, Native Americans, and others who share the same streets and towns and cities across this land.  This preface to inalienable rights is a constant struggle.

This land is your land, this land is my land is more than a song.  It has to mean this land was made for you and me.

As you go about your daily affairs, take a look at your community and work place.  If you see social injustice and discrimination against a fellow traveller do not let your voice be silent.

Prejudice is not an inherited trait.  It is home grown and nurtured by ignorance and fear.

Offering a helping hand or a word of encouragement is a necessary trait on the road of life.  Let’s remember those African Americans of World War II who fought an enemy, and then fought a worse enemy at home-racism.


G. D. Williams       © 2012

Tuskegee University

On Freedom’s Wings, the Legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen

Red Tails

MSNBC January 20, 2012

More than two decades in the making, George Lucas’ passion project “Red Tails” hit theaters today after a long search to find a distributor that wanted to market an expensive film with an all-black cast.

Lucas spent $58 million of his own money to produce “Red Tails,” an action movie about the Tuskegee Airmen, the first all-African American aerial combat unit that paved the way for the integration of the U.S. armed services.  It was a risky venture by Hollywood standards, and one that director Anthony Hemingway said carried enormous responsibility.

Air Force Lt. Col. Luke Weathers Jr.

Members of the 3rd U.S. Army Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) escort the caisson carrying retired Lt. Col. Luke Weathers Jr. during his burial ceremony Jan. 20, 2012, at Arlington National Cemetery, in Virginia. Weathers, an original Tuskegee Airman, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroic actions during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mareshah Haynes)

On the same day that retired Air Force Lt. Col. Luke Weathers Jr. took his resting place among other war and military heroes, his real-life story as a World War II aviator played out on movie screens across the country.

Weathers was buried Friday at Arlington National Cemetery in a service that began with a flyover of four F-16 jets in the Missing Man formation, a special honor reserved for pilots, by the 113th Wing of the D.C. Capital Guardians, the same unit that guards the airspace over the nation’s capital.