The story and legacy of World War II’s famed Tuskegee Airmen – America’s first African-American military pilots and their support personnel – is vividly told in “Rise Above: Red Tail Triumph Over Adversity.”

The Commemorative Air Force’s traveling exhibit will be at Terrell’s No. 1 British Flying Training School Museum, 119 Silent Wing’s Boulevard, Oct. 28 – Nov. 1.

“We are so excited to offer this immersive experience to families in Terrell and surrounding communities,” said Rudy Bowling, executive director of the museum, which is dedicated to the World War II pilots from Britain and Canada who trained in Terrell. “This message of character, courage and the ability to triumph over adversity is a message to all ages who seek to accomplish personal goals.”  

Housed in a climate-controlled 53-foot semi-trailer with expandable sides, a 160-degree panoramic movie screen allows visitors to experience the feeling of being in the cockpit soaring about the clouds in a P-51C Mustang. Each movie showing lasts 30 minutes. Visitors are required to wear facemasks and maintain social distancing. Visitors can enjoy visiting the BFTS Museum before or after their movie experience. 

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps (AAC), the forerunner to U.S. Air Force. Trained at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama, the airmen flew more than 15,000 individual sorties in Europe and North Africa during World War II. Their performance earned them more than 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and helped encourage the eventual integration of the U.S. Armed Forces.

The program’s trainees, nearly all of them college graduates or undergraduates, came from all over the country. In addition to some 1,000 pilots, the Tuskegee program trained nearly 14,000 navigators, bombardiers, instructors, aircraft and engine mechanics, control tower operators and other maintenance and support staff.

What the men had in common – and what made them ultimately succeed – was the ability to recognize that all the obstacles they faced could be overcome with hard work and dedication, even during a time of Jim Crow and segregation.

These timeless lessons were reflected in their six guiding principles – Aim High, Believe In Yourself, Never Quit, Be Ready To Go, Use Your Brain, Expect to Win.

Each visitor to the exhibit will receive a dog tag emblazoned with these guiding principles. 

The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) honors the men and women who built, maintained and flew airplanes during World War II. The CAF ranks as one of the largest private air forces in the world as they collect, restore and fly vintage historical aircraft. The CAF’s Red Tail Squadron maintains a fully restored P51-C Mustang whose paint scheme, with its distinctive red tail, represents the four squadrons that made up the famed 332nd Fighter Group. 

The exhibit will be open from 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Wednesday–Sunday. For information or group reservations, call 972-551-1122 or visit www.bftsmuseum.org.

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