March 19- On this day in 1941 civil rights organizations and the black press exerted pressure that resulted in the formation of an all African-American pursuit squadron based in Tuskegee, Alabama. Prior to this time there were no African American military pilots. They became known as the Tuskegee Airmen. “Tuskegee Airmen” refers to all who were involved in the so-called Tuskegee Experience- the Army Air Corps program to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircrafts. The Tuskegee Airmen included pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all the personnel who kept the planes in the air. The airmen were dubbed the Red Tails because of the distinctive crimson unit identification marking on the tail section of the unit's aircraft.
Tuskegee University was awarded the U.S. Army Air Corps contract to help train America's first Black military aviators because it had already invested in the development of an airfield, had a proven civilian pilot training program and its graduates performed highest on flight aptitude exams. The all-Black, 332nd Fighter Group consisted originally of four fighter squadrons, the 99th, the 100th, the 301st and the 302nd. From 1941-1946, some 1,000 Black pilots were trained at Tuskegee. The Airmen's success in escorting bombers during World War II – having one of the lowest loss records of all the escort fighter groups, and being in constant demand for their services by the allied bomber units.- is a record unmatched by any other fighter group.
To commemorate the 75th Anniversary Fathom Events is partnering with Bryton Entertainment to present “In Their Own Words: The Tuskegee Airmen - The 75th Anniversary” in select U.S. theaters, for the first time ever, on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at 7 p.m. local time. This one-night cinema event features emotional interviews, rare photographs, archival footage and computer-generated recreations. Audiences will also experience an exclusive panel discussion captured at the National Air Force Museum with Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. George Hardy, Former Administrator of NASA Col. Fred Gregory, as well as the producer Bryan Williams and director Denton Adkinson. Tickets for “In Their Own Words: The Tuskegee Airmen - The 75th Anniversary” can be purchased online by visiting Fathom Events or at participating theater box offices. Fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in nearly 200 movie theaters through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network.
Learn more about the Tuskegee Airmen here: Watch here