Push underway to bring WWII aircraft used by Tuskegee Airmen to Contraband Days

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA.(KPLC) -A local man is pushing to get several WWII aircraft to come to Lake Charles for Contraband Days.  The aircraft would include the North American P-51 Mustang flown by the Tuskegee Airmen in World War 2.

The Tuskegee Airmen of WW2 are some of the lesser known heroes in our nation's military history-- that's part of the reason John Holston is working non-stop to bring the aircraft they made famous to Contraband Days 2011.

Says Holston, "These men were outstanding fliers."  Their story is missing from the pages of many history books--but finally their story is being told. They were the first African American fighter pilots to serve in what is now the U.S. Air force. And their success and heroism in WW2orld War Two is being passed along, in part through the aircraft they flew.  Holston, with the Commemorative Air Force, told Calcasieu Police Jurors, "They were trained in Tuskegee Alabama and they were very good at their job. They escorted the B29's over Europe, never lost a plane. At one point, there were 35 Tuskegee against 100 Messerschmitts and they fought the German Messerschmitts off of the aircraft and they were very successful to ending World War Two."

The story of the Tuskegee airman and refurbishment of the P-51 Mustang came to be known as the Red Tail project. Holston is working with others to get the P-51C mustang here for Contraband Days. He's passionate about teaching young people the history. "They don't know where Azio Beach is. They never heard of Omaha Beach or Iwo Jima or anything like that."

And he hopes to get other aircraft here too in part to enhance education for Southwest Louisiana's students. "They have to know what the country stands for and they have to know what freedom is so you don't lose the freedom. Freedom is given to every generation to defend it. It's not like a blood transfusion that you get. You have to educate every generation to carry the torch like a lot of young people are doing today."

It's hoped the airplanes from the Red Tail project will be here from April 28th through May first as part of Contraband Days.

The cost to bring the planes here along with fuel and related costs is estimated at $28-thousand. The Commemorative Air Force has set up an account at Lakeside bank at 4735 Nelson Road for anyone who wants to contribute to the effort. Call Holston at 433-1011 for more information or 877-556-5454

Look for more on this story on later editions of KPLC7News.

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