Minneapolis, Minn. – November 30, 2015 – The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Red Tail Squadron, America’s tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, recently finished their 2015 annual tour of their RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit and fully-restored P-51C Mustang WWII fighter aircraft. This year marked a record number of groups that came through the Exhibit, and brings a total of over 173,000 visitors to off-tarmac events since the Exhibit’s debut in 2011. In addition, hundreds of thousands of people learned about the Tuskegee Airmen through the CAF Red Tail Squadron’s inspirational program at air shows and community festivals.
Each year this unique outreach program brings the history of the Tuskegee Airmen to life at schools and events across the country. In 2015, the CAF Red Tail Squadron visited multiple locations in Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Colorado, Wisconsin, Missouri, Michigan, Ontario, Ohio, Louisiana, Texas and Alabama, and for the first time visited Oregon, Washington state and Massachusetts.
The mission of the CAF Red Tail Squadron is to educate audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen – America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel – so their strength of character, courage 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. The group’s Six Guiding Principles – Aim High, Believe In Yourself, Use Your Brain, Be Ready To Go, Never Quit and Expect to Win – serve as the foundation for their outreach programs and are based on the experiences and successes of the Tuskegee Airmen.
The RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit is a fully functional movie theater featuring the original short film “Rise Above.” This immersive experience is housed in a climate controlled 53’ semi trailer with expandable sides and equipped with a ramp and hydraulic lift to ensure access to all, comfortably accommodating 30 visitors for each showing.
Because of its dynamic 160-degree panoramic screen, the film creates the feeling of being in the cockpit soaring above the clouds in the P-51C Mustang – the signature aircraft of the Tuskegee Airmen in WWII. Audience members will learn what it was like for the Airmen as they worked toward their goal of becoming U.S. Army Air Corps pilots in the early 1940’s, and the obstacles they had the perseverance to overcome. At the conclusion of the film, audiences experience the excitement and thrill of flying this historic aircraft – touted the world’s greatest fighter – in formation, aerobatics and picturesque passes. View a preview at www.redtail.org/traveling-exhibit/.
“2015 was a banner year for us. We were able to reach a record number of people with the inspirational message of the Tuskegee Airmen, using the excitement of aviation to positively affect people of all ages across the county,” said CAF Red Tail Squadron Leader and P-51C Mustang pilot Bill Shepard. “This is truly a one-of-a-kind adventure. Kids and adults walk away from the CAF Red Tail Squadron experience with a greater understanding of the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, inspired to achieve their potential. Our 2016 event lineup is already filled with many new communities that will have the opportunity to experience this important and inspirational message.”
About the CAF Red Tail Squadron
The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Their three-fold outreach program includes an authentic, fully restored WWII-era P-51C Mustang, the signature aircraft of the Tuskegee Airmen; the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit 53’ mobile theater featuring the original panoramic film “Rise Above”; and educational materials and programs for teachers and youth leaders. The CAF Red Tail Squadron is part of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). To learn more about the organization, it’s mission or to become a donor, visit www.redtail.org or follow the Squadron on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cafredtailsquadron.
About the Commemorative Air Force
Collecting and flying warbirds for over half a century, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) is the largest flying museum in the world. The CAF is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to honoring American military aviation history through flight, exhibition and remembrance. The organization feels this is best accomplished by keeping the aircraft flying. The CAF has more than 12,000 members and a fleet of over 164 airplanes assigned to 70 units across the country. These units, comprised of CAF volunteer members, restore and operate the planes, which are viewed by more than 10 million spectators annually. Visit www.commemorativeairforce.org or call (877) 767-7175 for more information.
CAF Red Tail Squadron
Visit www.redtail.org/news-media-kit for access to more photos and materials especially for the media.