We went to the Pacific Aviation Museum in Pearl Harbor, HI for a field trip. One of the Tuskegee Airmen was there to talk to the children about his experience during WWII.
He was very animated with the story he told us about one of his missions. His plane went down over South France and was taken POW by the Italians. It was an honor to sit and listen to him and to be in the presence of someone who truly was proud to be an American.
Here are a few of the questions the children asked him.............
1. What was your first flight like and how did you feel? R: It is the greatest feeling in the world. It is very exciting.
2. Were you ever afraid? R: I was never afraid. I was to busy to be afraid. You just did what you had to do. About two weeks later, when I was thinking about how close I came to death , I was afraid.
3. Would you do it again?R: I would do it two times over. It was a different time then. You didn't have people protesting war. You signed up to serve your country because that was your duty. My whole life I dreamed of becoming a pilot.
4. Was flight school hard?R: Yes.
5. How long did you serve in the military?I served active duty for eight years and then the reserves for twenty-two years.
His message to the children was to do well in school and to be proud that they are American because it is the best country in the world.
A Little History on the Tuskegee Airmen
The Tuskegee Airmen were dedicated, determined young men who enlisted to become America's first black military airmen, at a time when there were many people who thought that black men lacked intelligence, skill, courage and patriotism.
Those who possessed the physical and mental qualifications were accepted as aviation cadets to be trained initially as single-engine pilots and later to be either twin-engine pilots, navigators or bombardiers. Most were college graduates or undergraduates. Others demonstrated their academic qualifications through comprehensive entrance examinations.
No standards were lowered for the pilots or any of the others who trained in operations, meteorology, intelligence, engineering, medicine or any of the other officer fields. Enlisted members were trained to be aircraft and engine mechanics, armament specialists, radio repairmen, parachute riggers, control tower operators, policemen, administrative clerks and all of the other skills necessary to fully function as an Army Air Corps flying squadron or ground support unit.