As a daughter of a World War II soldier, I was privileged and personally touched to participate in a ceremony at Arrowhead Credit Union Park awarding the Congressional Medal of Honor to five Inland Tuskegee Airmen in 2007. They were Buford Johnson; Harlan Q. Leonard Jr.; Laska H. Jones, Robert Boyd and Charles Ledbetter (posthumously).
These brave heroes fought prejudice and discrimination to fight the Nazis in the air. They represented the 996 airmen, crew and staff who trained at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama during World War II. Four hundred and fifty pilots were sent overseas and completed 1,578 successful missions.
Sixty-six men made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our freedom.
Known as the Red Tails, this squadron of Black fighter pilots achieved an extraordinary feat. They not only overcame the racism, they went on to become one of the most respected and decorated regiments in history. They opened doors not just for Black Americans, but for anyone who aspires to achieve their dreams in the face of enormous challenge.
Their courageous story is well-chronicled in the new George Lucas film, “Red Tails.” The film’s release is a focal point for our celebration of Black achievement in American history this month. I hope many of you will see this film to honor the Tuskegee Airmen and to share their legacy with younger generations.
Wilmer Amina Carter Rialto
Wilmer Amina Carter is 62nd District State Assemblymember who honors veterans annually at a May appreciation reception.
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