Fantasy of Flight Celebrates Black History Month in February With Visit From Famed Tuskegee Airmen

They Dared to Fly" will be held Thurs., Feb. 10 through Sat., Feb. 12 and feature several open-forum/question-and-answer sessions as well as meet/greet autograph signings with five of the original Tuskegee Airmen.

• George E. Hardy (Sarasota, Fla.) - Hardy started Aviation Cadet Training at Tuskegee Army Air Field, Alabama, in December 1943, and graduated as a pilot in September 1944. He has flown in combat missions around the world including: Italy, Germany, Guam, and Korea. Hardy retired in November 1971 with the rank of Lt. Colonel.

• Roscoe C. Brown, Jr. (Riverdale, NY) -Brown is considered by many as one of the country's most distinguished African-American advocates. A member of the Air Force and the Tuskegee Airmen, Brown is credited as being the first 15th Air Force pilot to shoot down a Nazi jet fighter aircraft. For his bravery he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with eight Oak Leaf Clusters. After his military service, he received his masters and doctorate degrees. In 1969 he became the director of the Institute of Afro-American Affairs and a professor of education. During his career he has been director or chair of over 25 organizations including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Metropolitan YMCA, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and Libraries for the Future.

• Leo. R. Gray (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) - Gray, after completing the College Training Detachment Program at Tuskegee Institute, he entered aviation cadet training to become a pilot. He graduated from the Tuskegee Army Air Filed Flying School as a 2nd Lieutenant Single Engine Pilot in Class 44-G (SE). Gray was stationed in Italy as a fighter pilot with the 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group. He flew 15 combat missions over Europe before separating from active duty in 1946.During his 41 years of military service, Lt. Col. Gray was awarded the Air Medal with one oak leaf cluster, a Presidential Unit Citation, and the Mediterranean Theatre of Operation ribbon with three battle stars.

Fantasy of Flight's permanent multi-media Tuskegee Airmen exhibit and vintage aircraft collection, including the P-51C Mustang, provides the perfect backdrop for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the brave men who fought America's enemies abroad while enduring racism at home.

The compelling and historically significant Third Annual Legends & Legacies Symposium Series brings to life the experiences of some of America's most courageous aviators through permanent and semi-permanent exhibits, real aircraft, and most importantly, their own personal stories and interactions with guests. In addition, the newly expanded series will also include heroes from WWII who served on the ground protecting and supporting the men and women in flight, as well as relatives of those heroes who fought in the air. The six topics scheduled for 2011 include "They Dared to Fly: Featuring the Tuskegee Airmen" in honor of National Black History Month, Feb. 10-12; "Breaking All Barriers: The Amazing Women of WWII," in honor of National Women's History Month, March 4-5; "Calculated Risk: The Extraordinary Life of Jimmy Doolittle," April 15-16; "D-Day: The Invasion of Normandy," May 13-14; "The Pacific War: Power and Pursuit," June 10-11; and "The Great Escape: Heroes Underground," Oct. 14-15.

The series events are included in the price of Fantasy of Flight general admission of $28.95 plus tax for adults, $14.95 plus tax for youth (age 6-15) and five and under are free with full paying adult. Group rates are available. For more information, visit

We Recommend