History Rises Above: Red Tails Exhibit Headed to Area
September 29, 2015
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  • It was an experiment that was supposed to fail and led to the development of one of the top performing fighter groups of World War II.

    The Commemorative Air Force’s Rise Above Traveling Exhibit, which honors and tells the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the U.S. Army Air Corps black fighter group, will be at the Vicksburg-Tallulah Regional Airport Oct. 13 to 17 to tell the story of the struggles and success of the nation’s black World War II pilots.

    It is sponsored by the cities of Vicksburg and Tallulah, Louisiana.

    The exhibit will be presented to school children from Vicksburg and Tallulah Oct. 13-16, and open to the public with a flying exhibition by Bill Shepherd, a member of the CAF’s Red Tail Squadron, who flies the restored P-51C Mustang with the distinctive red tail that travels with the show. The plane will be on exhibit at the Southern Heritage Air Foundation hangar though Oct. 17.

    An exhibit and dinner in the SHAF hangar with a showing of the movie “Red Tails,” will follow the Saturday program, SHAF president Patty Mekus said. Admission for the dinner and movie is $35.

    The CAF Mustang won’t be the only plane performing that Saturday. Warbird flying teams from across the country will be at the airport from Oct. 15-17 for a formation flying clinic to certify pilots to fly in performance formations, and will be demonstrating maneuvers those three days.

    “What’s exciting about this is with the Rise Above traveling exhibit we’re a two-part exhibit,” Shepherd said.

    “One being the aircraft, the P-51C model Mustang, which is a very rare Mustang and one of the few operating in the world. It’s a very special and was the aircraft flown by the Tuskegee Airmen. We decorated this aircraft to commemorate the men and women of the Tuskegee experiment and the 332nd fighter group.”

    The second part is our traveling movie exhibit, which we bring and host area community kids and adults to share in the lessons learned by the Tuskegee airmen and live the experience.

    The traveling movie exhibit, he said, is a film presented to local children and adults, which allows them to live the airmen’s experience, and shares the lessons learned by the Tuskegee airmen.

    He said the exhibit does 40 presentations throughout the year from February through November at air shows community events, fundraisers and schools all across the U.S.

    Tuskegee Airmen is the name given to black aviators who were involved in what was called the “Tuskegee Experience,” an Army Air Corps program to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft.