DOINews: Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, Partners Host Tuskegee National Tuskegee Airmen Warrior Run

Last edited 09/05/2019

Group photo of two original Tuskegee Airmen, Tuskegee University ROTC students and others.
Tuskegee University students on April 14 gather around two of the original Tuskegee airmen for a group photo. (Front row, from left: Maggie Thomas, administrative director of Tuskegee Airmen Inc.; original Tuskegee Airman Wilbur G. Mason, currently a supply inspector at the Tuskegee Army Air Field (advanced flight training field); original Tuskegee Airman William Childs, currently an aircraft mechanic at Moton Field (primary flight training field); and Col. R.J. Lewis, USAF Ret., current president of the Tuskegee Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc. and guest speaker for the event. Photo by NPS.

On April 14, 2012, Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site partnered with Tuskegee University and Tuskegee Airmen Inc. to host the annual Tuskegee Airmen Warrior Run. The run involves Tuskegee University ROTC cadets (Army, Air Force, and Navy) running from the campus of Tuskegee University to Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, at Moton Field. Approximately 70 students participated in the four-mile run, with support provided by Maxwell Air Force Base, Fort Benning Army Base, and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity volunteers.

After a brief welcome by National Park Service Chief of Interpretation Timothy Sinclair, cadet Col. Hunt greeted her fellow cadets and spoke of the honor and responsibility placed upon their shoulders as the New Tuskegee Airmen to continue their legacy of excellence.

At Moton Field the runners were honored to have two original Tuskegee Airmen, William Childs and Wilbur Mason, to share words of encouragement for their present accomplishments and to urge them to continue to stretch forward as future military leaders. Col. Roosevelt Lewis (USAF, Ret.) and vice president of the Tuskegee Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc., served as guest speaker. Lewis spoke about the legacy and heritage he received from the Tuskegee Airmen who were his heroes and encouraged the cadets to always strive to be the best. Lewis presented the first runner to arrive at Moton Field a special lithograph of Col. Benjamin O. Davis Jr. former commanding officer of the 332nd Fighter Group (Tuskegee Airmen). Lewis commended him on being number one and stressed that the Tuskegee Airmen were number one.

Lewis shared a lesson he learned from the Tuskegee Airmen, that is, it is good to be number one in excellence. He related some of the struggles of the airmen against racism and quoted Davis, saying, "The antidote for racism is excellence." Lewis then recognized the accomplishment of all of the cadets by providing them with Tuskegee Airmen Inc. history calendars.

After brief refreshments the cadets were thrilled at the arrival of two other original Tuskegee Airmen, Sam Jones, and Col. Jenkins, who shared with them additional words of wisdom.

Next Hunt recognized the support of Tuskegee ROTC instructors and support staff. Graduating seniors Hunt and Glover then stressed to their fellow cadets the need to continue on the journey for excellence in performance and shared their sentiments in ending their tenures with the program.

Finally, the cadets and other park visitors, including bikers and a youth mentoring group, were thrilled to be able to visit with the airmen one-on-one and to have their posters autographed by the airmen.  

By: Christine Biggers, NPS

May 1, 2012

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