The inspirational story of the Tuskegee Airmen is one that stirs up the entire spectrum of human emotions. The squadron and personnel on the base was made up entirely of African American volunteers who joined the aerial fight during World War II. Under the declaration of war, President Roosevelt had the necessary powers to bypass Congress and issue an anti-discriminatory executive order, which allowed for the formation of the squadron.
While still segregated from other military branches to keep in line with segregation laws, it did eventually pave the way for full military integration for African Americans.
During the war their primary role was to escort and protect bomber planes in P-51 fighters on runs that flew deep behind enemy lines over Nazi occupied Europe and Germany.
Under the protection of the Red Tailed Angels (a name given by the crews of the planes they escorted), the airmen had one of the finest safety records in terms of bombers lost under their protection. You may have heard they never lost a bomber, but this is not factually correct. However, their safety record is phenomenal and even more remarkable considering they were at a disadvantage in terms of flying experience. They were written off by most and deemed a token unit that were destined for failure. They quickly silenced the naysayers once they stepped into their cockpits, and slowly but surely they earned the respect they truly deserved.
The Tuskegee National Historic site at Moton Field pays tribute to these brave men, who heroically served their country with honor and valor, despite their own country treating them as second rate citizens. As one airmen can be quoted as saying. “I wanted to serve my country even though I hated my country for how it treated us at the time”.
This is a glorious exhibition that is located at the municipal airport. It features two hangars and a control tower along with offices, schools and supply stores. If aviation, war or history are your cup of tea then you will be in dream land here as they have a P-51 fighter plan on display inside the hangar. While not original uniforms they do have replicas which you can try on which is a nice touch as it offers you that extra sense of immersion.
Located in the second hangar is a Stearman model PT-17 which the pilots used to train.
The exhibits just ooze pure class and they are so tastefully done. It’s nice to see these men get a fitting tribute for their heroics. You can tell that a lot of work and passion went in to this historic site. If you are travelling in or around Tuskegee this is a must see attraction.
The Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site
After your visit here you can also benefit from another related free attraction at The Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site. Further tributes to the airmen can be found but most of all the institute is a museum that celebrates the life of George Washington Carver in a fantastic museum, along with the Oaks, the home of Booker T. Washington.
Admission to this fantastic attraction and the Institute is 100% free of charge. Donations are accepted on site and I can’t urge you enough to donate what you can to help keep this glorious tribute up and running for future generations.
The museums attraction at Moton Field are open from Monday through to Saturday from 9:00 until 16:30. They are closed on Sundays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s day.