They were trailblazers, and gave new meaning to the term “The Sky’s the Limit.” They were the first black U.S. military pilots in World War II, known as the Tuskegee Airmen.
A collection of 50 photographs of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, who fought America’s enemies abroad while facing racial discrimination at home, opened Thursday at Philadelphia International Airport.
The exhibit, which will be on display through June 2012, in Terminal A-East, is a photo essay of 70 years of aviation history.
“Without question, we changed the nation,” said Eugene J. Richardson, 85, who graduated as a fighter pilot in 1945 and later became a Philadelphia public school teacher and a principal.
President Bush saluted the Tuskegee Airmen yesterday, six decades after they completed their World War II mission and returned home to a country that discriminated against them because they were black.
A 1944 Army propaganda film, narrated by Ronald Reagan.
By the numbers
15,000 - Minimum number of combat sorties
994 - Pilots graduated from Tuskegee Army Air Field
950 - Railcars, trucks and other motor vehicles destroyed
744 - Air medals
450 - Pilots sent into combat
150 - Distinguished Flying Crosses
150 - Enemy airplanes destroyed on the ground
112 - Enemy airplanes destroyed in the air
66 - Pilots killed in action or accidents
32 - Pilots downed and captured
14 - Bronze Stars
8 - Purple Hearts
3 - Presidential Unit Citations
1 - Legion of Merit
1 - Silver Star
- Compiled by Theopolis W. Johnson, Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
Video, photographs and more on the units that were part of what eventually became the Air Force.
National Park Service
Moton Field, in Tuskegee, Ala., was named a National Historic Site. Includes photos and text.
Tuskegee Airmen Inc.
A nonprofit group dedicated to honoring those who served as Tuskegee Airmen.
Tuskegee Airmen Inc. - Philadelphia
The official website of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc.
The Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum has a section on "Black Wings: African American Pioneer Aviators."
Tuskegee Institute became Tuskegee University, which celebrates the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.