The Red Tail Project is a true example of this unbreakable
spirit. In 2004, the project experienced a tragic setback when
leader Don Hinz lost his life after the organizations P-51C Mustang
suffered a catastrophic engine failure. The Red Tail Project
quickly set forth an ambitious mission to restore the airplane and
continue Don Hinz’s remarkable vision, to inspire youth and
tell the story of the Tuskegee Airmen across the country.
The Red Tails, nicknamed for the red-painted tails that Tuskegee
Airmen used to identify themselves, deployed to Europe, the
Mediterranean, and North Africa. Forced to operate as segregated
units, the 992 pilots were neither allowed to train, nor fight
beside their white counterparts. Through their incredible
dedication and skill, however, the Tuskegee Airmen quickly became
one of the most requested fighter escorts, flying over 15,000
sorties in more than 1,500 missions. Their extraordinary combat
achievements, vision, and dedication helped break the barriers of
discrimination, despite all challenges.
Five years later, through the tireless efforts of its
volunteers, the Red Tail Project unveiled the restored aircraft,
Tuskegee Airmen, at EAA AirVenture 2009. With the plane flying once
again, the organization turned its focus towards their next
challenge, a program entitled “Rise Above.” This
traveling educational museum will allow the Red Tail Project to
travel not just to air shows, but also to schools and malls. The
message remains: aim high, believe in yourself, use your brain, be
ready to go, expect to win, and never quit. The Red Tail Project
has certainly exemplified that message over these last years.
NOTE: Aero-TV would like to
extend our condolences to the family of retired Air Force Lt.
Colonel Lee A. Archer. Archer, a Tuskegee Airman, was widely
recognized as the only black U.S. Air Force Pilot/Ace. He
passed away on January 27th at the age of 90. His courage
will be remembered.