Columbus AFB commemorates Tuskegee Airmen
By Tech. Sgt. Javier Cruz, 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 11, 2021
COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
The Airmen of Columbus Air Force Base make history everyday by providing exceptional pilots to project airpower across the globe but now they have a very special tie to our Air Force legacy.
On the 10th of February, the 41st Flying Training Squadron officially opened an innovation flight room and named it in honor of the former World War II, commander of the 99th Fighter Squadron and 332nd Fighter Group, General Benjamin O. Davis Jr, but that was just the beginning.
“General Davis certainly helped shape the lethal Air Force we have today, which is critical to safeguarding the freedoms we all enjoy”, said Lt. Col. Timothy Thoren, 41st Flying Training Squadron commander and presiding officer of the ceremony. “I’m confident that our instructors and students will look to General Davis to become the officers and aviators our Air Force needs to accelerate change and to fly, fight and win.”
Davis was the first African American Brigadier General in the United States Air Force and served with distinction in the first all-black air unit in the European theater during World War II.
The news of what Columbus AFB had planned quickly spread through the Air Force community prompting several other Air Force units with ties to the Tuskegee legacy to reach out in support of the growing event.
The 100th Red Tail Fighter Squadron, attached to the 187th Fighter Wing, Alabama Air National Guard, and the 99th Flying Training Squadron attached to Randolph AFB, TX, coordinated to have their Red Tail heritage painted aircraft represented alongside the P-51 Mustang warbird. The group static display consisted of a T-1A Jayhawk, F-16 C plus and two Columbus heritage painted aircraft, the T-6 Texan II and T-38 Talon.
“The museum serves to tell the inspirational story of the Tuskegee Airmen and their support personnel’, said Captain Nichole Evans, 41st Flying Training Squadron T-6 instructor pilot. “Their mission is to education people of all ages about these important American icons so their strength of character and ability to triumph over adversity may serve as a means to inspire others to rise above obstacles in their own lives and achieve their goals.”
Cadets from the local Air Force Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Crops along with Columbus community partners, local school age programs and Columbus residents were able to participate in guided tours of the aircraft and the commemorative museum.
What began as a room dedication evolved into an opportunity to bring the community together and reconnect over the history and contributions of the Tuskegee Airmen while celebrating diversity, inclusion and the spirit of innovation.
The commemorative museum and P-51 Mustang are scheduled to be open to DoD ID card holders until the 12th of February.