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Museum's Tuskegee Airmen exhibit selected for Air Force Heritage Award

  • Published
  • By Sarah Swan
  • National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force was recently selected by the U.S. Air Force History and Museums Program as the recipient of the 2016 Air Force Heritage Award for “The Tuskegee Airmen” exhibit.


The award recognizes outstanding achievements by Air Force History and Museums personnel that foster a better understanding and appreciation of the Air Force, its history and accomplishments.


The exhibit, which opened in February 2015 in the museum’s World War II Gallery, honors the famed Tuskegee Airmen – black military pilots, navigators, bombardiers, armorers, maintainers, trainers, administrators and support personnel who fought during WWII. The U.S. military remained racially segregated during the war, reflecting American society and law at the time. Most African American soldiers and sailors were restricted to labor battalions or other support positions, but the Tuskegee Airmen demonstrated conclusively that African Americans – if given equal opportunities and training – could fly in, command and support combat units as well as anyone.


Visitors can see information and photos of this historic group, as well as many artifacts, including Col. (Ret.) Edward C. Gleed’s flight jacket, Maj. (Ret.) Charles Hall’s Distinguished Flying Cross, and objects from Lt. Col. (Ret.) Charles H. DeBow, one of the five men in the first class of pilots to graduate from Tuskegee. A diorama that includes the PT-13D and instructor and cadet mannequins helps tell the story of flight training during the war.


Museum Historian Dr. Jeff Underwood, who curated the exhibit, is excited about the honor.


“The history of Tuskegee Airmen remains one of the Air Force's most inspirational stories,” Underwood said. “It is a great honor for the museum's staff to receive recognition for this exhibit, which shares that important story with our visitors.”

More information about this exhibit is available at


The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, is the world’s largest military aviation museum. With free admission and parking, the museum features more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts amid more than 19 acres of indoor exhibit space. Each year about one million visitors from around the world come to the museum. For more information, visit


NOTE TO PUBLIC: For more information, please contact the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at (937) 255-3286.


NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information, please contact Sarah Swan at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Division at (937) 255-1283.