TICO Airshow 2014~Part 2

2 Apr

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Lites

 

The weather was perfect, and we all enjoyed a great Airshow together. The Airmen were a little disappointed that there were no P- 39s, P-40s, or P-47s taking part, as they were some of the first fighter planes they had flown during the war. Then later, I met one of the young men (18 or 19) who will soon be going to college, aided by one of the many Tuskegee Airmen Scholarships, to study engineering or another aviation related field, and maybe even become a pilot. He reminded me so much of what the original Tuskegee Airmen must have looked like in the early days of WWII, when all they wanted, was to do their part towards helping protect America and other freedom-loving countries from foreign aggression.

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Overall, it was a great experience that I will treasure for years to come. Now as my “Two down and one to go” painting with its Tuskegee Airmen autographs hangs on my bedroom wall, it has more meaning than it ever did before. All I have to do is look at it and the memories will take me back to the day when I was in the presence of a group of special men who loved their country enough to put their lives on the line for us. Some of the airmen’s feats included; 15,000 combat sorties flown, 260 enemy aircraft destroyed, 150 Flying Crosses and Legions of Merit earned, along with more than 700 Air Medals and clusters earned by many of the 1,000 black pilots flying combat missions during WWII.

This included the Distinguished Unit Citation, which wasawarded to the 99th Fighter Squadron in July 1945 for its performance in combat over Sicily.

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However, the war was not over for the Tuskegee Airmen when they returned home to America. They had to face the many challenges of segregation that continued to rage in their own country. Then, after 60 years, in 2007, approximately 300 Tuskegee Airmen and their families were collectively awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President George W. Bush for their, bravery, outstanding performance and dedicated service to our country during WWII.

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Thank you Tuskegee Airmen for your service to our country.

2 Responses to “TICO Airshow 2014~Part 2”

  1. divoran09 April 6, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    Great Blog!

    Like

  2. Old Things R New April 2, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    I have really enjoyed the airshow posts. I look forward to next years.

    Like

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