Tuskegee Airmen honored by LA County Board of Supervisors for service


The airmen were among the nation's first African Americans to serve as fighter pilots.

Supervisor Michael Antonovich presented scrolls to the black fighter pilots who fought as part of the highly-decorated Army Air Corps unit.

The World War II veterans were also joined by young student winners of a Tuskegee essay contest. Their teacher took them to see the movie "Red Tails" earlier this year as part of Black History Month and encouraged them to participate in the contest.

The segregated combat unit served as escorts for U.S. bombers and shot down more than 100 enemy aircraft, but still faced intense racism during the war and on returning home.

"After the war, we did not receive the kind of recognition that we should, in our opinion," said airman Ted Lumpkin Jr. receiving a scroll from Antonovich, "but now it's a pleasure to see that everyone is pleased and honored to know that the Tuskegee Airmen are around."

The Tuskegee airmen helped pave the way for then-President Harry S. Truman to desegregate the armed forces. The group was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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