The Tuskegee Airmen
Church hosting celebrated black aviation pioneers
Good Hope Baptist Church will host the Atlanta Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen as part of its Black History Month celebration from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 16.
“The Atlanta chapter will present the history of the Tuskegee Airmen, plus their personal experiences prior to and duringWorld War II to our Newton County community,” said co-organizer Jacquelyn McKenzie, secretary of GHBC’s pastor’s aide committee.
According to the Tuskegee University Web site, the Tuskegee Airmen were the first black military aviators in the United States.
The U.S. Army Air Corps contracted Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Ala., to train black pilots for combat in World War II, and from 1940 to 1946 around 1,000 pilots were trained there.
The all-black 332nd Fighter Group consisted of the 99th, 100th, 301st and 302nd fighter squadrons. The men were awarded several military honors, including three Presidential Unit Citations for tactical air support and aerial combat in 1943 and 1944 and for a bomber escort to Berlin in 1945.
The valor of the 332nd is often credited with facilitating the passage of the 1948 Executive Order No. 9981 which directed equality of treatment and opportunity in the U.S. armed forces and eventually led to racial integration of the U.S. military.
At the GHBC program, members of the Atlanta Chapter will present a short DVD and answer questions as well as make shirts, books and other memorabilia available for sale.
“This is a free event,” McKenzie said, “and the community is invited to this awe-inspiring living history affair.”
For more information about the GHBC program, call (770) 787-4928. To learn more about the Tuskegee Airmen, visit www. tuskegee.edu or www.tuskegee. org.
On a wing and a prayer:
A group of Tuskegee airmen pose for the camera on the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Ala.
Fighter planes: Tuskegee Airmen pilot P-51 Mustangs above the clouds during Wworld War II.