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Red Tails: A Salute to the Tuskegee Airmen by Ted T. Ellis



During World War II, a group of distinguished African American men were recruited from all over the United States to become Black fighter pilots in the U. S. Airforce. They were called the Tuskegee Airmen, because they trained in Tuskegee, AL. Each of their planes were distinguished with red paint at the tail of the planes. The Tuskegee Airmen , black airmen also became known as the ‘Red Tails”. These black fighter pilots were smart, valiant, and courageous.

Of the 992 pilots that graduated at Tuskegee Army Air Field, 450 served overseas with the 99th Fighter Squadron and the 332nd Fighter Group. The black squadron groups of the 99th FS and the 332nd FG were unique in the fact that they were the only all-black fighter units to fly combat missions. The 99th FS was the first to see action and when the 332nd FG arrived in Europe the 99th F/S was assigned to it. The 332nd had a distinguished war record. It received over 1,000 individual awards and decorations. The unit also accounted for over 250 enemy aircraft destroyed and was a highly effective bomber escort group. The 332nd squadron never lost a bomber to enemy fighters during world war II.

In March of 2007, after six decades, the Tuskegee Airmen, were invited to the White House to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for their outstanding service during WWII by the President of the United States, George Bush. At the medal ceremony, my print, “The Lonely Angels”, was selected to be signed by our distinguished Tuskegee Airmen, also known as, The Red Tails”. How amazing, of all the art to be chosen from, ” The Lonely Angels”, with my personal signature, “T. Ellis”, was at the White House along with my heroes, that I had years ago wanted to pay tribute to for their personal courage and sacrifice. They fought several enemies near and afar. The Tuskegee Airmen, black angels fought against racism and they fought for freedom.

On Jan. 20, 2012, legendary film producer, George Lucas, is releasing his movie, the “Red Tails”, honoring their heroic efforts.

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Ted T. Ellis

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