Vision of Flight Is Dedicated To Tuskeegee Airmen

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[Black History Month Tribute]

A 1925 U.S. Army War College Study declared: “Blacks are mentally inferior, by nature subservient, and cowards in the face of danger. They are therefore unfit for combat.”

Michael McKenzie was touched by one mere fact: the Red Tails Pilot had never truly been honored as a separate group ‘within’ the Tuskegee Airman. After a chance meeting with one of the original Red Tails, McKenzie set out to give this special group of courageous African American men their just due – honor.

And so the flight began – a monument dedicated to the Red Tails.

McKenzie soon learned this was no easy task, yet began extensive research, communications, knocking on several doors to establish the monument to honor this elite group of ‘way makers’. He never let up. Today in Orlando, Florida at the Orlando Science Center there is a monument in honor of the Red Tail Pilots.

“There were 932 African American pilots trained at Tuskegee, Alabama that graduated from the pilots program. Of that 355 of them were considered amongst the best, an elite group of pilots,” Mckenzie said.

“We need to realize that dreams are possible; these gentlemen who did this for us 68 years ago, proved that despite the disparities, the myths, everything that they said we couldn’t do, is achievable,” he said.

According to Red Tails the movie, “It was once believed that Blacks did not have what it took to handle the pressure, strategy and discipline to be a successful fighter pilot, not until a group of young Black males proved the 1925 U.S. Army War College Study wrong. The highly decorated Red Tails compiled one of the best records of any air fighter group in World War II, including 96 Distinguished Flying Crosses.”

We’ve all seen the movie and saw blatant discrimination turn into sheer respect when these skilled pilots guided their white counterparts into safety. Just in case it escaped some of us, the movie also depicted the ability that all people have to work together no matter the skin color. This is yet another area McKenzie focuses on through his organization Vision of Flight.

Vision of Flight, the tribute, exists as living history; a continuation of the “Red Tail Pilots”; the men who flew for the Tuskegee Airman. McKenzie envisions all children with an interest in aeronautics learn the skills and work together as adults.

“This is for every kid. We have to get passed this thing where there’s too many of this and too many of that we need to get them working together. They are going to have to work together on a global platform. I just want to support the kids. The kids that are willing to learn, willing to help the other kid we want to support them,” shared McKenzie.

Vision of Flight is dedicated to providing students, especially those with a keen focus towards aviation/aerospace, with an introduction to the myriad careers available to them in aeronautics through an exciting, engaging and interactive program.


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