"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear".
2009 Trumpet Awards
Originally presented by Turner Broadcasting in 1993 and now presented by the Trumpet Awards Foundation, Inc., the Trumpet Awards were created to herald the accomplishments of Black Americans who have succeeded against immense odds. Special recognition is given to the few, who symbolize the many, who have overcome the ills of racism and poverty and achieved special greatness.
The Trumpet Awards Foundation has a three part agenda:
The "Tuskegee Airmen" received the 2009 Trumpet Award as "Heroes", at the 17th Annual Trumpet Awards Ceremony on 25 January 2009 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, Atlanta, Georgia. James H Harvey III, a member of the Hubert L "Hooks" Jones Chapter TAI in Denver, Colorado, accepted the Award on behalf of the Tuskegee Airmen.
2008 Kentucky Aviation Achievement Award
On 1 November 2008, the Kentucky Aviation Hall Of Fame awarded their 2008 Aviation Achievement Award, to the Tuskegee Airmen. Dr. Florence Parrish-St John presented the award and James H Harvey III accepted the award on behalf of the Tuskegee Airmen.
In 1941 Congress mandated that the Army Air Corps develop an all black combat unit. The contract was awarded to the Tuskegee Institute, a historically black university with a proven civilian pilot training program with graduates performing highest on flight aptitude exams. At that time there were no black military pilots, but soon young black men came to Tuskegee and trained in P40s, P39s, P47s and P51s. The program began with the formation of the 99th Fighter Squadronan entire service arm that included ground crew and pilots. First deployed to the North African campaign, the 99th distinguished itself for outstanding tactical air support and aerial combat in the 12th Air Force in Italy.
They painted the tails of their aircraft red and became known as the "Red Tails." The 99th joined the all black 332nd Fighter Group and earned three Presidential Unit Citations by destroying German jet fighters without losing any American bombers or aircraft. Before long white bomber pilots requested the "Red Tail Angels" as their fighter escorts. By the end of WWlI, 450 Tuskegee graduates had shot down 111 enemy aircraft, destroyed 150 aircraft on the ground, flew 15,000 sorties and 1,500 missionsnot losing a single bomber to enemy fire in 200 missions (an unmatched record).
After the war ended in Europe, large numbers of black airmen decided to remain in the service, but due to segregation their assignments were limited. The Tuskegee Airmen faced racism and harassment from other military units. In 1948 President Harry Truman enacted an Executive Order directing equality of treatment and opportunity in all of the US Armed Forces. Eventually this led to the end of racial segregation in the military. Today African-Americans are well represented in the Armed Forces, ranging from new recruits to 4 star generals. In recognition of its contributions and accomplishments during WWII, it is fitting and appropriate that the Tuskegee Airmen receive the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame's 2008 Aviation Achievement Award.
November 1, 2008