The Dixie Wing unit of the Commemorative Air Force will host Atlanta Warbird Weekend at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport October 6, 7, and 8. This year, Atlanta Warbird Weekend celebrates seventy-five years since the Tuskegee Airmen’s class graduation. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black U. S. Army Air Corps pilots, training at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama during World War II.
According to Atlanta Warbird Weekend Chairman Moreno Aguiari, “We are bringing at least twenty original Tuskegee Airmen veterans to share in the acknowledgment of the outstanding history of the black aviators who overcame prejudice and adversity to serve their country so well. We also plan to exhibit aircraft flown by the Tuskegee Airmen, including the P-51, P-47, P-40, and trainers used then, such as the BT-13, PT-17 Stearman and T-6. An original Tuskegee Airmen T-6 will appear courtesy of the Tuskegee Airmen National Museum out of Detroit, Michigan. It was delivered to Tuskegee Army Airfield in Alabama in 1943.”
The Commemorative Air Force Red Tail Squadron’s RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit mobile movie theater along with its restored P-51 Mustang , “Tuskegee Airmen,” will be on display for the weekend. The goal of Commemorative Air Force is to acquire, restore, and preserve combat aircraft and make these aircraft available for education and enjoyment. The Dixie Wing unit is based out of Peachtree City. As the former home of Naval Air Station Atlanta during World War II, DeKalb-Peachtree Airport is a fitting location for this event.
The Tuskegee Airmen flew 15,000 combat sorties, downed 100 enemy planes, and earned 150 distinguished flying crosses. The documentary “In Their Own Words: The Tuskegee Airmen” will be shown on Friday night on the Epps aviation ramp. There is a $5 charge to attend the documentary, which will include a discussion session featuring several people who served our country in the military both during and since World War II. Gates open at 6 p.m.
Tuskegee Airmen who will be there Friday evening to share their inspirational stories include “top gun” pilot, James Harvey III; “Red Tail” pilot and German Prisoner of War, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Jefferson; B-25 Bombadier Navigator, Hillard Pouncy; B-25 Bomber pilot, Oscar Lawton Wilkerson; Instrument Panel Specialist, Val Archer; and Crew Chief, Thomas Bristow.
Representing the military post World War II will be Major General Marcelite Harris (Retired), who was the first black female general in the United States Air Force. Also, Lieutenant Colonel Edgar Lewis, retired Air Force pilot; Jesse Wrice, retired Marine pilot; Anthony Holder, retired Air Force pilot; Ron Hutchison, retired Air Force crew chief.
B-17 and Warbird rides are part of Atlanta Warbird Weekend, including B-17, P-51 Mustang, SBD Dauntless Dive bomber, T-6 Texan, PT-19 and T-34 rides Friday through Sunday and Warbird rides Saturday and Sunday. Warbirds are the fighter planes that escorted bombers in the European and Pacific theaters during World War II. Go to atlantawarbirdweekend.com to sign up and purchase your ride or for details on all events for the weekend.