Link to main pageLink to SenatorsLink to LegislationLink to ScheduleLink to CommitteesLink to PublicationsLink to NewsLink to Staff

Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

For Immediate Release: April 1, 2016

Printer-friendly version

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.
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 Tuskegee Airmen

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 Senate chamber.

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, contact:
Sen. Pittman: (405) 521-5531

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

March Press Releases | Press Releases