Petersburg Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Honor Congressman Don McEachin
Fourth District Democratic Congressman Don McEachin was made an honorary member of the Tuskegee Airmen over the weekend. They were the first all-black squadron of fighter pilots who distinguished themselves in combat in World War II and made the case for integrating America’s military.
"Shortly after the war, Truman integrated the armed services and it was in large part because of folks like the Tuskegee Airmen," said McEachin.
The Petersburg Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen is named after Lt. Colonel Howard Baugh, a Petersburg native who enlisted in the US Army Air Corps in 1942 as an aviation cadet. The military was still segregated and many white leaders held racist views that Black soldiers couldn’t be trained to fly. But Baugh’s son Richard said his father and hundreds of others proved them wrong.
“As a result of the success of the Tuskegee Airmen, Harry Truman went ahead and desegregated everything, which was the beginning of the modern civil rights movement in this country,” Richard Haugh said.
McEachin said he stands on the shoulders of the Tuskegee airmen who "flew so I could run for office, so I could have a nice life, so I could raise my children in a safe America."
The Chapter’s mission is to keep alive the memory of the Tuskegee Airman and to educate and inspire the next generation.