Wings Over Miami Air Museum will host the “Rise Above” traveling Tuskegee Airmen Exhibit, featuring the Commemorative Air Force Red Tail Squadron’s traveling theater and Flying Fortress B-17, Mar. 24-26.
“It’s our way of extending February’s Black History month for an encore celebration,” said Suze Rice, president of the museum, located at Miami Executive Airport.
The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-Americans to be trained as military pilots in WWII. The Commemorative Air Force’s traveling exhibit highlights inspirational stories that provide details of their missions and educates how the pilots overcame adversity to strive for success.
“The purpose of ‘Rise Above’ is to continue the legacy of these men by telling their story, even when they’re unable to tell it themselves,” Rice said. “The visiting exhibits, coupled with the beautiful war birds in the Wings Over Miami hangar, represent the best of the trainers and bombers of the World War II era. We’re lucky to have them all together for one week!”
Equally important is the objective of educating and inspiring young people through a fast-paced theater experience highlighting an empowering message of overcoming adversity, she said.
“Its guiding principles form the basis of the educational program: aim high, believe in yourself, use your brain, be ready to go, never quit and expect to win.”
Each visiting student will receive an inspirational Red Tail “Dog Tag” emblazoned with the six principles as a reminder of the Tuskegee Airmen’s success story.
The Tuskegee exhibit is enclosed in a semi-trailer housing a 40-seat, 160-degree panoramic screen movie theater. A 30-minute video plays during tours, detailing the history of the Airmen and providing a simulation of actual flight experience.
On the Wednesday, Mar. 23, before the exhibit formally opens, Wings is offering student, church and youth groups special admission rates for a museum tour and Tuskegee exhibit visit. Reservations can be made in advance for the group tours by calling the museum at 305-233-5197. Regular museum rates apply Mar. 24-26.
“Because of generous donors, we’re excited to host a special day for youth group tours on Mar. 23 because our community stepped up with donations to make the event affordable for organizations throughout the county,” Rice noted. “The event was scheduled during Miami-Dade’s public school spring break to provide flexible visiting hours to accommodate the maximum number of group tours.
“We’re looking forward to hosting day campers, home schoolers, and other youth organizations on the first day of the Tuskegee exhibit,” Rice said.
The Commemorative Air Force’s Flying Fortress, “Texas Raiders” was one of the last B-17s ever built, coming off the manufacturing line in July 1945 as WWII drew to a close. Her last military assignment was at Naval Air Station Atsugi in Japan where she flew AWACS combat patrols during the Korean War, Rice said. The Flying Fortress is scheduled tentatively to arrive around noon on Mar. 24 with updates on its arrival and program information at the museum’s Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/wingsovermiami.
Texas Raiders will offer tours and the unique opportunity to ride in the historic B-17 from Mar. 24 to 26. Reservations for one of a limited number of 25- to 30-minute flights may be made in advance by calling 855-FLY-A-B17 or visiting www.TexasRaiders.org.
Wings Over Miami is open Wednesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 14710 SW 128 St. off the SW 137th Avenue entrance to Miami Executive Airport.