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Fri, Jul 29, 2011

Commemorative Air Force Red Tail Squadron Intros Educational Tool

"Rise Above" Traveling Exhibit Features Two Documentaries About The Groundbreaking Pilots

By Maxine Scheer

The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Red Tail Squadron has come to AirVenture to introduce a new educational tool, the Rise Above Traveling Exhibit. It can be found near the CAF Red Tail Squadron Booth at the ConocoPhillips Plaza. The initiative includes a traveling theatre, with a 180 degree screen, housed in a brand new customized 53 foot trailer with expandable sides that can comfortably accommodate an audience of 30 people.

The theatre features two films, one 14 minutes and the other 35 minutes, created by Emmy award-winning filmmaker Adam White. The film was produced to inspire young people with the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, and provide an experience of flight. The story focuses on how the Tuskegee Airmen persevered to “rise above” all of the obstacles they faced as they became America’s first black military pilots. The story of the thousands of other black Americans who served with the Airmen as their support crews is also featured.

The exhibit was designed to be mobile and accompany air shows that feature the Squadron’s $1 million, restored P-51C Mustang named Tuskegee Airmen. The Rise Above Exhibit is envisioned to arrive at a venue, such as schools, community centers, or other facility so young people can enjoy the experience. “The airplane is a tool that tells the story” said Doug Rozendaal, Red Tail’s Project Coordinator. “The exhibit provides an experience and is more memorable than just a visit to the airport for an air show.”

The project will invite participants to sign up to social media venues that provide the opportunity for them to engage in more discussion about what they learned and stay in touch with the activities of CAF and other entities involved in the project. At today’s media brief, Doug described how this fast track project was conceived in April of this year and funded by a group associated with CAF called the Texas Flying Legends Museum. “The paint is fresh on this exhibit and is debuting today, here at AirVenture,” says Rozendaal. The Rise Above Exhibit is free and will be at AirVenture through Sunday.


Doug Rozendaal

And in case it eluded your notice, the Commemorative Air Force’s (CAF) Red Tail Project has changed its name to the CAF Red Tail Squadron. The volunteer-driven non-profit organization remains dedicated to preserving and sharing the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen – America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel.

The group, which has been in existence since 1993, uses a restored World War II P-51C Mustang fighter such as the Tuskegee Airmen flew over Europe as a tool to create interest in the Airmen’s story. The red-tailed Mustang appears at air shows from April through October. The CAF Red Tail Squadron is also outfitting the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit, which will house a 30-seat movie theater with a 180-degree screen. It will travel to air shows, schools, youth groups and malls where visitors can sit in climate-controlled comfort to enjoy an experience documentary about the Tuskegee Airmen created by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Adam White.

“Over time the CAF Red Tail Project has evolved into something larger than a ‘project’- it has become a group of individuals with a shared vision to tell the story of the Tuskegee Airmen in such a way that it brings to life their struggle against adversity,” said CAF President/CEO Stephan Brown. “The CAF Red Tail Squadron RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit and the P-51C Mustang will tour the country sharing the Tuskegee Airmen’s achievements through overwhelming adversity to encourage and inspire today’s children to Rise Above their own challenges in life.”

The leader of the CAF Red Tail Squadron, Bradford Lang, is also enthused about the name change. He said, “Our mission has always been focused on educating people about Tuskegee Airmen. They were talented and courageous aviators who were fighting the Nazis in the air and the military’s segregationist policies on the ground during World War II. The Airmen and their crews painted the tails of their fighters red and, as they proved their skill and daring in the skies over Italy and Germany, white bomber pilots stepped back from their own prejudices and began requesting the ‘red tail angels.’ Adding the word “Squadron” to our new name reflects the fact that hundreds of people support our desire to tell the Airmen’s story by making donations and volunteering.”

www.redtail.org, www.flyingfreedom.us

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