The Commemorative Air Force Rise Above Traveling Exhibit & P-51 “Mustang.”

The Commemorative Air Force Rise Above Traveling Exhibit & P-51 “Mustang.” (New England Air Museum/Facebook)

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (Tribune News Service) — The New England Air Museum will open its latest permanent exhibit, “The Tuskegee Airmen: Their Untold Stories,” Sunday, June 4.

The exhibit details the first Black pilots to fight in World War II and their battles against the Nazis in the skies over Europe, and Jim Crow racism on the ground in home front U.S.A.

“The Tuskegee Airmen shattered barriers and redefined possibilities,” said Museum President and CEO Stephanie Abrams. “Their legacy embodies social activism, determination, and the unwavering power of the human spirit. It was an honor to interview these American heroes and their families, and through their stories continue to inspire future generations.”

Their accomplishments during the war helped bring about the integration of the military in the United States and inspired the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s.

Included in the initial unveiling of the exhibit, Tuskegee Airman Eugene Richardson will give two talks about the history of the unit and his own experiences in World War II. Richardson will speak at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 4. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Tuskegee Airmen flew the famous P-51 Mustang fighter and painted the tails of their planes bright red to enhance identification. Those red-painted P-51s were a comfort for American bomber crews and the bane of German pilots who called them “red-tailed devils.”

Starting in April 1943 when they first flew out of North Africa, the 99th Fighter Squadron — just one of the Tuskegee units — served as bomber escorts for the 15th Air Force over Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Germany. The pilots of the 99th are reputed to have never lost one of their charges in combat.

During the month of June, the Commemorative Air Force’s immersive Red Tails Theater will be showing its 160-degree panoramic film giving viewers the opportunity to see and feel what it was like in a Tuskegee Airman’s cockpit during combat soaring through the clouds.

The Commemorative Air Force will also raffle off three tickets for a flight in a red tail P-51 Mustang. All proceeds will go to the Commemorative Air Force to support its ongoing programs. The plane itself will be on display at the museum on June 3 and 4.

©2023 Advance Local Media LLC.


Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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