First Tuskegee Airmen Fighter Pilots Commemoration - Press Release

A "60th Anniversary of the First Tuskegee Airmen Fighter Pilots Commemoration" will be held by the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center, in association with the Los Angeles Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc., to recognize the first Tuskegee Airmen Fighter Pilots and honor some of the surviving members of the 99th Fighter Squadron--the trailblazing Tuskegee Airmen. The first five Tuskegee Airmen were awarded their wings on March 6, 1942, after training at Tuskegee Army Airfield on the campus of Tuskegee Institute, in Alabama.

Honorees include: William Campbell, Charles R. Dryden, Herbert E. Carter, William R. Thompson, Spann Watson, John W. Rogers, Elmer D. Jones, Bernard S. Proctor, Roger "Bill" Terry, and Hiram Little, Sr.

The "60th Anniversary Commemoration of the First Tuskegee Airmen Fighter Pilots" is also intended to remove the veil of invisibility that has kept the heroic accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen from the pages of popular history. These black fighter pilots, in the face of racism, became known and feared by the Germans as "Schwartze Vogelmenschen" (Black Birdmen) and as the "Fighting Red Tail Angels" to the American bomber crews they protected, and racked up an impressive combat record in the skies over Europe and North Africa. Flying more than 200 missions as fighter escort on long-range bombing raids, the Tuskegee Airmen never lost a bomber to enemy fighters. They flew more than 15,000 combat sorties in 1,5000 missions and destroyed more than 600 enemy aircraft. Of the 992 black aviators trained at Tuskegee Army Airfield, 66 were killed in combat and 32 were taken as prisoners in Germany.

Reception-Friday, March 8, 2002, 7 to 10 p.m., tickets $50 Community Day, Saturday, March 9, 2002, free admission
Meet and greet the Tuskegee Airmen, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. ·

Panel Discussion with Tuskegee Airmen, 1 to 2:30 p.m. · West Coast premiere screening of the Alabama Television Production documentary, "The Tuskegee Airmen," 3 to 5 p.m.
California Science Center, Exposition Park, Los Angeles

The "60th Anniversary of the First Tuskegee Airmen Fighter Pilots Commemoration" is sponsored by the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center, The Los Angeles Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc., the California Science Center, the Office of Assemblyman Roderick Wright, and Northop Grumman. Actor William Allen Young ("Moesha" and "Any Day Now") will serve as master of ceremonies for the Commemoration.

Founded in 1996, the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center is a nonprofit, public benefit organization designed to advocate, educate, research, develop, and preserve the history and future of Blacks in film and television.

For more detailed information about the "60th Anniversary of the First Tuskegee Airmen Fighter Pilots Commemoration," call (323) 957-4747; write BHERC at 1875 Century Park East, Suite 600, Los Angeles, CA
90067-2199.

 
   
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