Monday, November 10, 2008

Tuskegee Airman WWII Heros

Tuskegee Airman Spann Watson

The Monroe Veteran's Day Air Show was honored to have Tuskegee Airman Spann Watson as one of the speakers. Their outstanding success during World War II – not losing a single bomber to enemy fire in more than 200 combat missions – is a record unmatched by any other fighter group.

This video is about Tuskegee Airman John Leahr and his good friend WWII B-17 Commander Herb Heilbrun who grew up in the same neighborhood and were in the same third grade class together. They were classmates—not friends—because Herb was white and John was black. John and Herb were twenty-one when the United States entered WWII. Herb became an Army Air Forces B-17 bomber pilot. John flew P-51 fighter escort missions for the B-17. Both were thrown into the brutal high-altitude daylight bomber war against Nazi Germany, though they never met because the army was rigidly segregated—only in the air were black and white American fliers allowed to mix. Both came safely home but it took Herb and John another fifty years to meet again and discover that their lives had run almost side by side through war and peace. Herb and John launched a mission to tell young people why race once made all the difference and why it shouldn't anymore.  Their book "Black and White Airmen - Their True Story" by John Fleischman is great!

I was happy to find a website with a very touching story writen by the daughter of Tuskegee Airman Major Joeseph Gomer who received assistance by a local EAA chapter to attend President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration.