TUSKEGEE, Ala - On a warm fall afternoon, three Scott Air Force Base pilots made history, becoming the first all-African American crew to land the C-21 at Alabama’s historic Tuskegee airfield.
The group was joined by two other team members from the 458th Airlift Squadron, who spent the day touring the airfield and visiting with students from the Red Tail Flight Academy, named after the legendary Tuskegee Airmen who trained at the very same airfield over 80 years ago.
“I’ve always known about the history of the Tuskegee Airmen, and so to be able to visit the site of their old training grounds really left a deep impact on me,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Kyle Green, C-21 pilot.
Back in the early 1940s, the Tuskegee Airmen became the first African-American military pilots in the U.S. Armed Forces, in a time where much of the U.S. Military remained racially segregated.
Over the course of World War II, 992 Tuskegee Airmen were trained, leading to over 15,000 missions flown across Europe and North Africa.
“It’s no doubt that the history runs deep here, but being able to witness it first-hand left all of us feeling inspired,” said U.S Air Force Capt. Johnny Frye, C-21 pilot.
The Scott AFB crew also spent time visiting with dozens of students from the local Red Tail Flight Academy, a school for young pilots interested in building flight time and learning more about aviation.
“Having the chance to visit with the students was inspiring, just knowing that the legacy of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen continues to be carried out to this day,” said Frye. “Seeing their dreams and aspirations and also helping them learn more about the opportunities the military offers for aviators, was something that will stick with me for a while.”
After giving personal tours of the C-21 to the students, the crew spent the rest of the afternoon walking around town and visiting the historic Tuskegee University, before returning to the airfield to fly back to Scott.
“What struck me the most was how much pride the people of Tuskegee have for their town and their community,” said Green. There is no doubt in my mind that the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen will continue to be carried long into the future, and I am so honored to have had the chance to spend time walking in the footsteps of giants.”