Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: April 1, 2016
State Senator Anastasia Pittman and Mahlon Smith, President of the
Charles B. Hall
Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, are joined by other chapter members
on the Senate floor
March 30 to present honorary Congressional Medals of Honor to family
members of the
original three Oklahoma Tuskegee Airmen.
Sen. Pittman’s Resolution adopted Wednesday honoring
A Senate Resolution authored by Senator Anastasia
Pittman recognizing the 75th anniversary of the Tuskegee Airmen,
the first African American military aviators, and honoring the three
original Oklahoma Tuskegee Airmen was presented March 30 in the
The presentation, given in cooperation with Mahlon Smith, President
of the Charles B. Hall Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, acknowledged
Faythe A. McGinnis of class 42F of Muskogee, Oklahoma as the first
Tuskegee Airman to be killed in a training accident; Charles B.
Hall of class 42F of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma as the first African
American Tuskegee Airman to shoot down an enemy aircraft; and Robert
C. Smith, of class 45D of Muskogee, Oklahoma as a prominent and
well-respected community leader in his hometown.
“It was an honor to make this presentation at the Capitol
last week,” said Smith. “It was a long time coming for
these Oklahoma families and I’m glad we were able to honor
the legacy of the original Oklahoma Tuskegee Airmen.”
Pittman echoed Smith’s sentiments, remembering the heritage
of the three Oklahoma Tuskegee Airmen.
“These three airmen represent the rich legacy of the Tuskegee
Airmen, who as Oklahomans, served their country and were instrumental
in the integration of our armed forces,” said Senator Anastasia
Pittman, D- Oklahoma City, who was the primary author of the resolution.
“The Congressional Gold Medal that was awarded collectively
in 2007 represents their rich and unique military record, and it
was an honor to extend the presentation of the Congressional Gold
Medal to these heroes’ families today.”
Tuskegee University was awarded the U.S. Army Air Corps contract
to help train America’s first black military aviators. The
all-Black 332nd Fighter Group was comprised originally of four fighter
squadrons, the 99th, the 100th, the 301st and the 302nd. In the
years spanning from 1941 to 1946, approximately 1,000 African American
pilots were trained at the Tuskegee University facility. The Airmen's
success in escorting bombers during World War II – having
one of the lowest loss records of all the escort fighter groups,
and being in constant demand for their services by the allied bomber
units - is a record unmatched by any other fighter group.
“These airmen fought for the freedom of their nation in a
time where they also faced segregation and oppressive laws,”
said Pittman. “They fought with a vision of independence and
the chance for opportunity for their future children and grandchildren.
They are brave heroes and leaders, and their legacy is one that
should never been forgotten. It’s opportunities like this
that allow us to recognize and commemorate Oklahoma’s rich
African American history.”
For more information,
Sen. Pittman: (405) 521-5531