2004 Regular Session
By: Representative Smith (39th), Chism, Ellis, Harrison
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION DESIGNATING AND RECOGNIZING MARCH 5, 2004, AS TUSKEGEE AIRMEN DAY IN COLUMBUS, MISSISSIPPI.
On July 19, 1942, the Army Air Force began a program in Alabama to train African Americans as military pilots; and
WHEREAS, primary flight training was conducted by the Division of Aeronautics of Tuskegee Institute, the famed school of learning founded by Booker T. Washington in 1881; and
WHEREAS, the first class of all black pilots graduated on March 7, 1942, and made up the 99th Pursuit Squadron, fighter pilots slated for duty in North Africa; and
WHEREAS, additional pilots were assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group, which flew combat along with the 99th Squadron from bases in Italy; and
WHEREAS, by the end of World War II, with the last class graduating on June 29, 1946, a total of 926 pilots had earned their wings at Tuskegee; and
WHEREAS, 450 Tuskegee pilots were deployed overseas for combat assignment in P-39, P-40, P-47 and P-51 aircraft, of which 66 gave the ultimate sacrifice of life in combat action and another 32 became POWs; and
WHEREAS, Mississippi is proud to have been called home to ten Tuskegee Airmen, all of whom were Second Lieutenants: Leonelle A. Bonam, Herbert E. Carter, Oliver M. Dillon, Walter M. Downs, John L. Hamilton, Wellington O. Irving, Eddie A. McLaurin, Luke J. Weathers, Quitman C. Walker and Edward L. Toppins; and
WHEREAS, it is the policy of this Legislature to pay special homage to these outstanding and valiant individuals for the sacrifices made and services rendered to the great State of Mississippi and these entire United States of America:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE SENATE CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby designate and recognize March 5, 2004, as Tuskegee Airmen Day in Columbus, Mississippi.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to the City of Columbus and to the members of the Capitol Press Corps.