2016 - Two Special Anniversaries

Benjamin O Davis, Jr. Being Recognized by Benjamin O. Davis, Sr.--the First Black General in the US Army
BO Davis Jr. & BO Davis, Sr.

Air Force Historical Research Agency

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News Release Date: February 24, 2016

Contact: Christine Biggers, 334-724-0922

The Tuskegee Airmen Celebrate 75 Years!!!

The National Park Service Turns 100!!!

The year 2016 marks two great anniversaries that will be celebrated both in Tuskegee, Alabama and across the nation.  

Seventy-five years ago, on March 22, 1941, the 99th Pursuit Squadron was activated at Chanute Field, Illinois.  This was the beginning of an Army Air Corps (Air Forces) military experiment to determine if Negroes had "the right stuff" to become military pilots and support staff. The participants in this experiment are known today as Tuskegee Airmen.  The first Tuskegee Airmen trained were the Mechanics who would provide technical support before the first plane ever left the ground.

2016 also marks the Centennial anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS).  With the passage of the Organic Act on August 25, 1916, the National Park Service was created.  NPS manages 410 areas with over 84 million acres in every state in America.

With these two major anniversaries in mind...

On March 22, 2016 the Tuskegee Airmen Foundation will hold a press conference at Moton Field, in Tuskegee, Alabama.  In 1941 Moton Field served as the primary flight training base for the new cadets. 

Later that evening, a gala honoring the Airmen will be held at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery, Alabama (invitation only).

On March 29, 1941 First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt graced the City of Tuskegee and paid a visit to Tuskegee Institute.  Mrs. Roosevelt served on the General Education Board of the Rosenwald Fund. During her visit she toured the Civilian Pilot Training Program flight training location at Kennedy Field.  There she requested and was granted a ride by Chief flight instructor, Charles A. Anderson.  The flight so impressed Mrs. Roosevelt that it garnered her steadfast support for the Tuskegee Negro flight training programs, both civilian and military.  That historic event was captured in time on photograph.

To celebrate Mrs. Roosevelt's visit and support, on Saturday, March 25, 2016 the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, at Moton Field, will host a "History Rewind."  This event will allow visitors to become part of history by being photographed with, Ms. Sherylfaye Miniscalco, an "Eleanor Roosevelt" reenactor, and Charles Anderson, son of "Chief" Charles Anderson in the cockpit of a J3 Piper Cub.  A small sitting fee will be required.  "Roosevelt"  will follow with a discussion of Mrs. Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" which became the foundation cornerstone of President Roosevelt's 1942 Presidential reelection campaign and part of his "New Deal" package.  Anderson will then share reminiscences from the historic "First Flight" his father took with Mrs. Roosevelt, who became the first First Lady in the history of America to fly with a Black pilot.

At 1:30 p.m., the celebration will continue at the Overlook at Moton Field, where park visitors are invited to bring their kites for a "Let's Go Fly A Kite" for the Tuskegee Airmen activity.  As part of the NPS 100th anniversary, President Barak Obama initiated an "Every Kid In A Park" campaign which focuses on bringing or encouraging all fourth graders in America to visit a National Park in 2016.  To this end., a complimentary kite will be available for the first 50 fourth graders to register (no group or multiple registration allowed). Kites are also available for purchase in the park's Eastern National Giftshop.

Stay turned for other activities in the coming months, as we celebrate 75 years of Tuskegee Airmen and 100 years of National Park Service existence.

For information on the "History Rewind" and "Let's Go Fly A Kite" activity contact Ranger Christine Biggers at 334-724-0922 or christine_biggers@nps.gov.


The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.

Last updated: February 26, 2016

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Mailing Address:

1616 Chappie James Ave.
Tuskegee, AL 36083


(334) 724-0922

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