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Tuskeegee Airmen Story Told During Humanities Festival In Walterboro
3/19/2014 2:53:54 PM

Captain Richard Winston (left), who says Tuskeegee Airmen Fighter Pilots saved the lives of him and his crewmen during WWII?misson over Italy with local Airmen Chapter Historian Johnnie Thompson (right).
The story of the famed Tuskeegee Airmen was told through exhibits, talks and tours as part of the 2014 Humanities Festival recently held in Walterboro.

The World War II Symposium: Exploring Walterboro’s WWII History was held March 8.

The day-long activities began with an exhibit at the Colleton County Memorial Library which featured photographs, training records and local newspaper articles.

The airmen’s last surviving member, Lt. Col. Hiram E. Mann, was special guest during an hour-long talk about the Walterboro Army Air field’s origin, life at the base, its camouflage school and prisoner of war camp conducted at Walterboro’s Lowcountry Regional Airport.

Participants toured the remains of the old air field, the Walterboro Army Air Field Memorial Park and the Tuskeegee Mini-Museum.

The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II deserve praise as the vanguard for racial equality in the armed forces of the United States. Fighting successfully for the right to fly combat missions in defense of their country, they proved that black men could succeed in a field from which they had previously been excluded. They fought successfully against two enemies at the same time: Nazi Germany, and racism among their own countrymen.

The Tuskegee Airmen often paid the supreme sacrifice in order to protect the lives of the bomber crews they were escorting, destroying well over a hundred enemy aircraft, including three German jets. They laid the foundation for the integration of all the services, and, eventually, American society as a whole. By increasing opportunities for African-Americans, they earned an important and indelible place in American history.

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