75 years strong: Tuskegee Airmen celebrate anniversary

  • Published
  • By Angela Woolen
  • Robins Public Affairs
During World War II, the Tuskegee Airmen were fighting a battle against the Germans as well as on the home front.

Before the Civil Rights Movement ever came into existence, the men and women who trained and fought in the 1940s struggled to answer their country’s call to arms.

“Think about what happened 25, 30, 40, 50 years ago in this country and then go back 75 years and realize where we were at as a nation, how we were separated as a nation but yet these young men and women were called to go forward and fight for this country because this was their country as well,” said Willie Jones, president of the Maj. Gen. Joseph A. McNeil chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc.

The story of those men and women is captured at the Museum of Aviation’s exhibit, which is the largest indoor Tuskegee exhibit in the world, second only to Moton Field in Tuskegee, Alabama, a National Historic Site where the airmen trained.

Relocated to the Scott Hangar in 2011, the exhibit received a U.S. Air Force Heritage Award in 2012. The museum has had a Tuskegee exhibit since1997.

It features a mural depicting the airmen on the flight line at Moton Field as well as a BT-13 Valiant trainer aircraft and a video about the airmen.

“This exhibit, as well as the museum, is a great expression of showing the world not only what we went through as Americans, but what one group of Americans went through just to see whether or not they could be defined as equal. Today we stand shoulder to shoulder with our comrades in arms,” Jones said.

The Tuskegee Airmen were an experiment by the U.S. Army Air Corps to test African Americans and their ability to fly military aircraft in war.

Not only did the men and women prove themselves in war time, but created opportunities for others to follow in their footsteps.

“It was amazing what they did,” said Jones.

Through the stories of those who served with the Tuskegee Airmen, now 75 years later, their fight to be able to fight for American as well as for equality, is one that continues to this day.

“What Middle Georgia has done over the years is bring forth the story that exemplifies the courage and the determination of a few Americans that made a major difference in America,” Jones said.