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March 29, 2006
CONTACT: Ward Mullens
734.487.4400
ward.mullens@emich.edu

Aviation Lecture Series opening features stories from three Tuskegee Airmen

YPSILANTI — Three members of the Tuskegee Airmen organization will help get the

Eastern Michigan University Aviation Program’s Distinguished Lecture Series off the ground Thursday, March 30, 6:30 p.m. at the Hoyt Conference Center on the main campus. The event is free and open to the public.

The program, “An Evening with the Tuskegee Airmen,” will feature Alexander Jefferson, who flew missions during World War II. Jefferson was shot down and spent time in a German POW camp. Former pilots Al King and Lucious Theus, who flew combat mission in Korea and Vietnam, respectively, also will speak.

In July 1941, the Army Air Force began a program, dubbed the “Tuskegee Experiment,” to train black Americans as military fighter pilots. Primary flight training was conducted at the Tuskegee Army Airfield in Tuskegee, Ala. Thirteen started in the first class and, from 1942 through 1946, nearly 1,000 pilots graduated from the program and received commissions and pilot wings. Pilots then were shipped overseas to serve with either the 99th Pursuit Squadron in North Africa, or the 332nd Fighter Group in Italy.

Between 1943 and 1945, the Tuskegee Airmen developed and enviable reputation - none of the bombers they escorted was lost to enemy fighters. They destroyed 251 enemy aircraft and won more than 850 medals. Their record, however, was not without losses; sixty-six Tuskegee Airmen were killed in action, while another thirty-two were either forced down or shot down and captured as prisoners of war. Their legacy continues today.

For further information, contact Philip Tartalone, EMU Aviation Program, 734-487-1161.

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their careers and lives, and to be better citizens.

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Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.


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