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As Black History Month reaches a close, the World War II Black fighter pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen will be honored in an upcoming traveling exhibit. The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Red Tail Squadron exhibit makes its debut this week at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina.

Sponsored by Charlotte-based power company Duke Energy, the RISE ABOVE exhibit opens tomorrow (Feb. 26) inside the Carolinas Aviation Museum and will remain until the weekend. Open from -5 p.m. each day until this Saturday, the exhibit will feature a P-51 Mustang airplane which is similar to the planes the Airmen flew as part of the 332nd Fighter Group. The unique coloring on the tail of the plane is why the group is also known as the “Red Tails.”

The Airmen made history by becoming the first Black fighter pilots to serve as part of the U.S. Army Air Corps (now known as the U.S. Air Force). Flying on several missions and garnering a host of awards, including the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007, the Airmen gained fame for both their bravery and skill. Despite the racial barriers the Airmen faced, many servicemen requested air support from the Red Tails Squadron as the United States took on German forces.

“Duke Energy is again sponsoring RISE ABOVE not only for its wealth of historic information, but for its unique educational outreach program that encourages visitors to ‘rise above’ all challenges,” said Richard “Stick” Williams, president of the Duke Energy Foundation. “The messages in this exhibit are universal. It emphasizes the importance of studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The Airmen combined their education with courage and perseverance to achieve their goals.”

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