News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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October 3, 2012

Exhibit honoring Tuskegee Airmen features WWII warplane

Fighter, movie part of Rise Above Traveling Exhibit

TERRE HAUTE — A rare P-51C Mustang will visit Terre Haute International Airport Oct. 4-6 at Hoosier Aviation, 581 S. Airport St. This airplane is unique for two reasons: it has a bright red tail and it is a key part of an educational initiative to help people — particularly young people — understand and appreciate the history and legacy of the special group of black pilots who flew airplanes with bright red tails during WWII — the Tuskegee Airmen.

Visitors are spellbound as they hear how, after training at the segregated base in Tuskegee, Ala., the black pilots and their crews were deployed first to Africa and then to Italy where they distinguished themselves as American military aviators. The Tuskegee Airmen painted the tails of their fighter’s red and bomber pilots began requesting the “red tail angels” as escorts to protect their “big heavies” from the German fighters sent to disrupt their missions. The Tuskegee Airmen flew more than 15,000 combat sorties and earned hundreds of medals and designations, including the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 in honor of their war service for their country.  

Accompanying the P-51C Mustang is the Rise Above Traveling Exhibit, a customized 53-foot trailer with expandable sides that houses a 160-degree panoramic curved movie screen and seating for 35-40 in climate-controlled comfort.  It shows a short original movie called “Rise Above” that focuses on what the Tuskegee Airmen — America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel — had to overcome to be allowed to fly and fight for their country during World War II.

The CAF Red Tail Squadron uses the traveling exhibit along with the restored P51-C Mustang fighter to create interest in the inspiring story of how the young black men who would become known as the Tuskegee Airmen faced numerous obstacles as they worked toward their goal of becoming U.S. Army Air Corps pilots in the early 1940s.  

The exhibit reflects the CAF Red Tail Squadron’s educational mission of showing people how it is possible to set a goal and succeed even when the odds are against you.

The free exhibit will be welcoming visitors from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. In addition to the CAF Red Tail P-51C, the CAF B-25 from St. Louis will also be flying, offering rides, and making a low level flour bomb drop as the highlight of the day.

Since there is a seating capacity limit for the movie showings, groups are strongly encouraged to call or email to schedule a time for their visit. Contact Marvona Welsh by phone at 812-240-2560 or email at marvona@redtail.org.

About the CAF

Collecting, restoring and flying vintage historical aircraft for more than half a century, the Commemorative Air Force ranks as one of the largest private air forces in the world. The CAF, based in Midland, Texas, is dedicated to Honoring American Military Aviation through flight, exhibition and remembrance. For more information, visit www.commemorativeairforce.org. For more information about the CAF Red Tail Squadron, visit www.redtail.org.

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