Youth Art Gallery, Between Terminals D and E
October 8, 2004 - February 1, 2005
The Tuskegee Airmen, named after Tuskegee, Alabama, where the young aviators trained, were America's first black military pilots. Serving in World War II their achievements were many both militarily as well as culturally. Between June 1944 and May 1945 when the war ended, the Tuskegee Airmen completed 1,578 missions, destroyed 260 enemy planes, sank one battleship, and in 200 escort missions they never lost one bomber plane to enemy aircraft. With these impressive statistics, American bomber crews requested the Tuskegee Airmen as their permanent escort. In less then one year, the Airmen earned 95 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 8 Purple Hearts, and a Distinguished Unit Citation. Sadly, 66 Tuskegee Airmen were killed in combat and 32 were prisoners of war.
Ultimately, their extreme sacrifices and remarkable military feats led to President Truman's Executive Order of 1948, which ended racial segregation in the United States armed forces. The Tuskegee Airmen have been credited with laying the foundation for racial equality in the United States and their military performance continues to motivate young men and women who serve our country.
In celebration of the Airmen's 60th anniversary, the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen have sponsored an art contest to inform local youth about their achievements and to ensure their legacy among future generations.