PROUD MOMENT—Airman Dr. Harry Lanauze stands proudly with wife, Helen, and daughter, Karlyn Coward, after viewing the list of names on the roll of honor. (Courier Photos/J.L. Martello) by Genea L. WebbFor New Pittsburgh CourierJames A. Cotten sees the three and a half years he served as a Tuskegee Airmen as the best time of his life. “During that time I learned to contribute to the betterment of the United States,” said Cotten who, according to his wife, Oteria, was drafted into the service when he turned 18. On the recommendation of then-president Franklin Roosevelt, an all Black flight training program was created at the Tuskegee Institute and the Tuskegee Army Airfield in Alabama. The airmen belonged to the 332nd Fighter Group’s 99th, 100th, 301st and 302nd Fighter Squadrons and took part in more than 15,500 sorties in Europe, North Africa and Sicily. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the United States armed forces. “We were just doing what we were told to do,” said airmen Harold Slater, who grew up in the Hill District. “That’s what helped us get through the ordeal (of segregation and mistreatment) we paid our dues but we were able to help keep America safe.”
Tag: Red Tails
Wilbur Mason, left, and Val Archer, former members of the Tuskegee Airmen, speak to students about their military experiences during the Tuskegee Airmen Aviation Career Training program at Delta Air Lines headquarters, June 18, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Jaime Henry-White) by Jeff Martin ATLANTA (AP) — As the U.S. military’s first Black aviators, the Tuskegee Airmen had a double challenge: flying in the dangerous skies during World War II, and fighting a war against prejudice waged by allies both at home and overseas. Now some of the airmen’s members have undertaken another mission: helping high school students rise above obstacles in their pursuit of aviation careers through a program that also aims to ensure the survival of the Tuskegee legacy.