MIAMI – In celebration of Black History Month, the Miami-Dade Aviation Department this Friday will honor three living legends – surviving members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen who now live in South Florida. The three Airmen – Lt. Col. Leo Gray, Lt. Col. Eldridge Williams and Judge Richard Rutledge – will be treated to lunch with the Department’s senior leadership at Miami International Airport, receive special certificates for distinguished service, and share their heroic experiences.
Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Jean Monestime will also attend and Florida Memorial University’s Ambassador Chorale will provide two musical renditions. The luncheon will be held on Friday, February 13, 2015 at 12:30 p.m. at the Miami International Airport Hotel, 7th Floor Conference Room, MIA Central Terminal E.
The Tuskegee Airmen, also known as the Red Tails, were men and women who enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corp or served as civilian support staff in the Tuskegee Experience. Approximately 300 Airmen flew more than 15,000 missions in Europe from 1943 to 1945, serving as bomber protection escorts and destroying more than 400 enemy aircraft either in the air or on the ground. Their bravery earned them more than 850 medals, including 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses.
In 2007, then President George W. Bush and Congress bestowed the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, on the group. The medal recognized their “unique military record that inspired revolutionary reform in the Armed Forces.”