|On Clipped Wings
"As America's first black military pilots, Tuskegee airmen faced a battle against racism" - BY Keith Weldon Medley
As a piper cherokee 235 cut through a cloudless Alabama sky and began its descent, Moton Field emerged beyond a cluster of pine trees. Sixty years ago, several hundred young men began their training here to become America’s first black military pilots. Now, every Memorial Day, in an event that got its start more than three decades ago, ever-dwindling members of those pioneering World War II veterans return to Moton for a fly-in to remember their struggles and triumphs.
On the ground, 14 Tuskegee veterans made their way gingerly around the airfield, stopping to gaze fondly at a vintage Stearman PT-17, the type of plane in which they earned their wings. Located two miles from the city of Tuskegee, Moton Field today serves as a municipal airport. But it still exudes history. Behind a wire fence adjacent to the terminal, Moton’s vintage buildings—most notably a crumbling tower and a boarded-up brick hangar—await restoration as part of the National Park Service’s Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, scheduled to open in 2008...