Living History Veterans
"Tuskegee Airmen" refers to all who were involved in the so-called "Tuskegee Experience",
the Army Air Corps program to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen included pilots,
navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all the personnel who kept the planes in the air.
The Tuskegee Airmen were dedicated,
determined young men who enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps to become America’s first black military airmen.
The CAF Redtail Squadron's P51 will be performing a demonstration during the
show. During the performance you will hear a brief narrative about the P51 and the Tuskegee Airmen. Below is a brief history
on the Tuskegee Airmen:
Like so many others in the late 1930s, the young black Americans who would become known as the Tuskegee
Airmen were full of patriotic zeal and eager to serve in the military as the war in Europe and Asia intensified. What
set them apart was that they wanted to fight the enemy from the air as pilots, something that black people had never been
allowed to do before.
Many applied to U.S. Army Air Corps (USAAC) flight training program, but all were initially rejected because
of the color of their skin – all branches of the U.S. military were deeply segregated. 1940, under the pressure from
black activists, the press, other political groups, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the USAAC reversed its position on
accepting black flight program applicants. However, the brass was not fully committed to this change and anticipated that the program would fail
spectacularly. The Army’s decisions about blacks in its ranks were still influenced by a 1925 Army War College
report called The Use of Negro Manpower
in War. The 67-page report was full of cruel and untrue
generalizations about the behavior of black men during wartime and the black race in general. The new program’s cadets were determined
to create a record of excellence during their training and future war service so there could be no doubt about their value
as patriots and aviators.
Jack Widowsky served
as navigator on B-29 #72 "Top Secret" which flew the historic atomic missions of 1945. The Top Secret crew were
members of the 509th Composite Group. The 509th CG was an Army Air Forces unit created during World War II, and tasked with
the development of nuclear weapons. It conducted the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in August 1945. The
B-29 "Top Secret" was one of the 15 B-29's that Paul Tibbets ordered using the code word "Silverplate"
which gave him unlimited power for anything that he needed. The crew of V-72 "Top Secret" flew both atomic missions
utilizing two different B-29's. The crew flew as the Hiroshima standby B-29 leaving before the Enola Gay and stationed on
Iwo Jima in case the Enola Gay malfunctioned. If it did, the bomb would have been transferred to the waiting B-29 and the
Enola Gay Crew would have flown the standby B-29 to Hiroshima. This crew flew the advance weather recon B-29 to Nagasaki before
the bomb was dropped to report the weather to the B-29 "Bockscar".
American Airpower Museum C-47
Army Air Forces Historical Association
Formed in 1993, the Army Air Forces Historical Association®, based in northern New Jersey,
is a historical and educational non-profit organization. The association participates in air shows, historical retrospect's,
educational programs, and seminars providing static displays of World War II Army Air Forces memorabilia. These artifacts
portray what service life was like when the world was at war and fathers, sons, and daughters trained and served in many distant
Constellation a.k.a. "The connie"
Greenwood Lake's Constellation, or Connie, was first flown in 1946 for Air France and continued flying up
until 1950 when she was bought by TWA. She continued her service flying trans-atlantic flights until 1959. Throughout the
1960s and 70s she saw many different owners including Frank Lembo, former owner of Greenwood Lake Airport. In 1976 she
was flown in for use as a restaurant and lounge project. Today she is a permanent part of the main building at Greenwood Lake
Airport and currently serves as a flight school and pilot lounge. To learn more about the Connie you can visit www.greenwoodlakeairport.com or visit her year round at the airport and see the display lining her walls.
The Aviation Hall of Fame
display set up by the Aviation Hall of Fame located in the Constellation. Learn about aviation history and see some unique
aviation memorabilia. Before the event you can always visit them at www.njahof.org.