Orlando Breaks Ground on Red Tails Monument
May 7th, 2013 | WMFE- City officials including Mayor Buddy Dyer helped break ground on a monument to honor the Red Tails pilots at the Orlando Science Center Tuesday afternoon.
Tuesday marked the anniversary of the last mission for the red tail pilots of the Tuskegee airmen, the first African American military aviators in the US armed forces, who fought in World War Two.
The fighter pilots flew escorts for bombers in Europe- they were called the "Red Tail Angels" because of the crimson paint on the tail units of their aircraft.
Science center spokesman Jeff Stanford said the airmen were fighting not only for the United States- but also against racial prejudice at home.
"They were making a tremendous contribution to defend our country, they were amazing pilots," he said.
"But they were also overcoming adversity both in what they had left at home and some of their fellow soldiers in the war effort," said Stanford.
During the second world war, African Americans in many states were still subject to Jim Crow laws.
Three of the last surviving Red Tail pilots were at the groundbreaking: Lieutenant Colonel Leo Gray, Lieutenant Colonel George Hardy and Lieutenant Colonel Hiram Mann.