A 90 Year Old Tuskegee Airman from Monticello Receives a Replica of the Congressional Gold MedalBy Lawayne Childrey | Published 28 Jul 2012 02:09pm |
Retired Tuskegee Airman Johnny C. Whitfield of Monticello now holds one of the nation’s highest honors. The Congressional Gold Medal. MPB's Lawayne Childrey has more.
Before a standing room only crowd at the Lawrence County Courthouse -- 90 year old Senior Master Sergeant Johnny C. Whitfield receive a replica of the Congressional Gold Medal of honor. Afterwards he spoke candidly about how it feels to receive such a prestigious award.
"Well it feels as though I've received some of the recognition I should have received years ago. But now that it's here I'm willing to accept it."
Whitfield was one of almost 1,000 pilots trained as a segregated Army corps in Tuskegee, Alabama during World War II. The Tuskegee Airmen were Known as the "Red Tails" for the color of the tails of their fighters. Mississippi's 3rd district Congressman Greg Harper presented the award to Whitfield and reflected on how an all black squadron provided escort coverage --and fighter coverage for thousands of bombers during World War II.
"They did it with valor and distinction. It's an American story that makes you proud. And you see the courtroom is packed with family and friends and people that love this history. And we’re just glad to be here today with Sergeant Whitfield."
"And what they did, it was an experiment."
That's Major General Catherine Lutz Commander of the Mississippi Air National Guard.
"Which now it just seems unreal that you would even have an experiment to show that if you give anyone no matter what their race where they came from. If you give them equal opportunity and equal training that they can stand in combat, they can fight they can lead just like the next person."
The Tuskegee Airmen collectively received the medal during a 2007 ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. Other honorees include George Washington, the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Rosa Parks and the Dalai Lama. Lawayne Childrey, MPB News.
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