New York, NY – (March 21, 2010) – The Wings Club, recognized as the premier aviation club in the world, will honor the Tuskegee Airmen with the new Outstanding Aviator Award.
The Outstanding Aviator Award has been created this year by the Wings Club in partnership with IAWA (the International Association of Women in Aviation). The mission of the award is to recognize airmen and airwomen whose actions have made major contributions to aviation and/or security and serve as leadership role models.
The presentation of this first Award will take place at The Wings Club’s Annual Meeting, to be held on the evening of Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at The Yale Club in New York City. Dave Barger, President of The Wings Club and Ken Gazzola, past president and Chairman of the Historical and Educational Committee will present the Award to Patt Terrelongue, President of the Claude B. Govan Tri-State Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, and six select decorated members of the Tuskegee Airmen, who will be in attendance: Captain Roscoe C. Brown, Jr., Ph.D., Commanding Officer of the 100th Fighter Squadron, Combat Fighter Pilot; First Sergeant Samuel Wesley Henderson, 99th Fighter Squadron; Combat Technical Sergeant Wilfred R. DeFour, Sr., 96th Service Group, 366th Air Service Group and 332nd Fighter Service Group, Lieutenant Colonel Clayton F. Lawrence, Navigator-Bombardier, 477th Bomb Group; Major Victor Terrelonge, Combat Fighter Pilot, 302nd Fighter Squadron and Lieutenant William M. Wheeler, Combat Fighter Pilot, 302nd Fighter Squadron.
The Tuskegee Airmen are a group of African American pilots who fought in World War II as the 332nd Fighter Group of the US Army Air Corps. They were the first African American military aviators to serve in the US Armed Forces, flying with distinction despite racial discrimination both within and outside the Army. From 1941 to 1946, a total of 994 pilots were trained in the Tuskegee program and approximately 445 of those deployed overseas. Their impressive combat record and remarkable success in missions as bomber escorts in Europe earned the Airmen Multiple Distinguished Unit Citations (DUCs), several Silver Stars, 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 8 Purple Hearts, 14 Bronze Stars and 744 Air Medals. In 2007, The Tuskegee Airmen were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, presented by President George W. Bush. Nicknamed the “Red Tails” or “Red Tail Angels” due to the distinctive crimson paint on the tails of their aircraft, the distinguished Tuskegee Airmen played an important role in paving the way for equal rights and the end of racial segregation in Armed Forces.
The Wings Club, founded in 1942, is the premiere aviation club in the world. Dedicated to preserve the history and traditions of aviation, the Club provides a forum for discussion and debate on aeronautical and aviation issues. The Wings Club serves nearly 1,100 members including industry leaders, pilots, professionals in related service organizations and students of aviation.
Recognizing significant achievements that contribute to the advancement of aeronautical and aviation matters, The Wings Club recognizes and honors people throughout the year with the Distinguished Achievement Award, Distinguished Scholar Awards and now the Outstanding Aviator Award. The Club also hosts Aviation Leader Series Luncheons that feature keynote speeches by industry leaders.