CAF, Tuskegee Airmen forge alliance

The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) and Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. (TAI) have forged a new alliance to support aviation participation and enhance World War II education in youth and adults across the country.

“Since the mid-1990s, the CAF has been honoring the Tuskegee Airmen and using their inspiring story of overcoming adversity in order to serve their country as a lesson to all young people as to how they can “Rise Above” their own circumstances,” said Stephan Brown, CAF President and CEO. “In that time, we have worked with many of the Tuskegee Airmen, individually and with local chapters of TAI. Now, I am proud that we have formally linked the two organizations. The CAF’s efforts to honor the Tuskegee Airmen began with CAF member Don Hinz and continued after his death with Doug Rozendaal. Now Brad Lang, the CAF Red Tail Squadron Leader and son of a Tuskegee Airman, leads our efforts by piloting our P-51C Mustang Tuskegee Airmen and managing the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit. We value and support the TAI’s ongoing efforts to recognize and honor these heroes, and the CAF is proud to tell their story in an effort to use the lessons of the past to influence our leaders of tomorrow.”

Through the new relationship, the CAF and TAI will explore collaborative ways to provide opportunities for youth and adults to initiate and enhance their education of World War II by exploring the role of the Tuskegee Airmen in securing our nation’s freedom.

“We look forward exploring opportunities for Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.’s chapters and our national organization to work with the CAF in our common pursuits. While we will continue our individual organizational activities and programs, our Memorandum of Understanding allows us to come together when it’s in the best interest of both our organizations,” said Leon Johnson, Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. National President, CEO and Board Chair.

Since 2001, the CAF Red Tail Squadron (formerly CAF Red Tail Project) has operated a restored P-51C Mustang like those the Tuskegee Airmen flew over Europe as a tool to tell the Airmen’s story at air shows across the country. In 2011, the squadron debuted the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit to further bring to life the story of the Tuskegee Airmen’s struggle against adversity. The 53-foot mobile exhibit takes the Airmen’s story to people of all ages and exposes them to an immersive educational experience. The exhibit houses a 30-seat movie theater with a 180-degree screen. It travels to air shows, schools, youth gatherings and malls where visitors can sit in climate-controlled comfort to enjoy an experience documentary about the Tuskegee Airmen created by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Adam White.

Throughout the coming year, TAI and CAF will work together to educate Americans on the story of these heroes. The CAF Red Tail Squadron RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit will appear at TAI sponsored events and TAI representatives will support exhibitions at youth and aviation events across the country.

Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. is an Alabama based not for profit organization with over 50 chapters in 31 states including the District of Columbia and Virgin Islands is dedicated to honoring the accomplishments and perpetuating the history of African-Americans who participated in aircrew, ground crew and operations support training in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Introducing youth to career opportunities in aviation, aerospace and transportation, while educating them to the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics through local/national programs and activities, and lastly by providing annual educational assistance and awards to deserving individuals, groups and corporations whose deeds lend support to TAI’s goals. TAI also sponsors a program that gives awards to deserving youth in the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Collecting, restoring and flying vintage historical aircraft for more than half a century, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) ranks as one of the largest private air forces in the world. The CAF is dedicated to Honoring American Military Aviation through flight, exhibition and remembrance. A non-profit educational association, the CAF has more than 9,000 members and a fleet of 156 airplanes distributed throughout the country to 72 units located in 27 states for care and operation.

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