Local News

Tuskegee Airmen Remembered at Seymour Johnson

Posted May 17, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— More than 50 years after their initial flight, the Air Force honored the first ever African-American pilot squadron and their leader Major Benjamin Davis.

A special ceremony at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Saturday saluted the men who became known as The Tuskegee Airmen.

Airman Norris Washington believes it's important for the younger people to know about where history has been, and especially the black youth because they need to know their heritage.

These fighter pilots have another distinction. They never lost an aircraft during battle. And the importance of these legendary aviators wasn't lost even on the youngest of fans.

The main role of the Tuskegee Airmen was to escort bombers during World War II. But it's their role in history that has changed the face of the armed forces.

Captain Earl Odom says that the Tuskegee Airmen have been very influential on him as an aviator on the F-15E. He hopes that the young people adopt these kinds of men as heroes.

Other people attending Saturday's gathering at Seymour Johnson felt it an honor to meet the gentlemen who contributed so much to Air Force history and aviation-- a contribution that reaches beyond the history books and could make today's children tomorrow's heroes.

Julia Lewis reporting