Tuskegee Airmen visit campus for Black History Month event

Army's first African-American military aviators share experiences of World War II | February 5, 2004

Members of the Tuskegee Airmen, the U.S. Army's first African-American military aviators, spoke at the University the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 18, in the Cintas Center Banquet Room. This Black History Month event was free and open to the public.

The Tuskegee Airmen are notorious for becoming one of the most celebrated fighter combat groups in World War II. While escorting more than 200 bombing missions, the 450-member group never lost a bomber and earned 150 military awards and medals. They were known as "Black Red Tail Angels" because of the red tails custom-painted on their aircraft. The group flew in 15,533 sorties over 1,578 missions throughout Europe and North Africa.

Among Airmen veterans speaking at the event were: James Madaris Sr. who began his service in 1938 and served in Africa, Italy, Germany and Sicily; Godfrey Miller, a B25 command pilot; Willie Norton, the former president of the Cincinnati chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen; and Samuel L. Finley, who was the first African-American air traffic controller and who served the U.S. Air Force for 23 years.

In addition, the movie "The Tuskegee Airmen," which details the aviators' story and stars Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, John Lithgow and Malcolm Jamal Warner, was shown on Tuesday, Feb. 17, in the Gallagher Student Center theater.

The speaking engagement and related movie screening were co-sponsored by the department of residence life, the resident student association and the black student association. For more information, contact Angie Kenflin at 513 745-3323.