By Megan Sayles
In 1941, the Tuskegee Airmen became the first all-Black flying crew in the U.S. military during World War II. Also known as the Red Tails, the 992 fighter pilots executed more than 1,500 missions, and 15,500 forays, defeating 261 enemy aircrafts and winning more than 850 medals.
Despite their success, Leon Haynes, founding CEO of Hosanna House, felt that young people, as well as the broader public, didn’t know much about the airmen’s history today. In 2022, he opened the Center for Aviation Technology and Training (CATT) and Tuskegee Airmen Museum at the organization’s event center to expose youth to not only the history of the Red Tails, but the opportunities available to them in aviation.
“We have a cockpit fight trainer, which is our main simulator. Kids can take off, and they can land. We have wearable wings, imagination mirrors and an airport play table,” said Haynes. “A lot of our kids have never been to the airport. They’ve never been in this setting or sat in an airplane seat. All of a sudden, we’re triggering things. We have to empower our young people so they don’t get fearful of what they can do.”