OTA John Steward Sloan, Sr.

March 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

check helvetica, more about sans-serif;”>John Stewart Sloan, visit this Sr., an original Tuskegee Airman, shot down during WWII, was an author, community activist, active church member, dedicated husband, father and successful executive, who became the Inland Steel Company’s first black personnel officer and rose to the position of corporate finance manager.  Mr. Sloan died on December 28, 2001, at the University of Chicago Hospitals from coronary artery disease.

Mr. Sloan received a degree in history and sociology from Kentucky State University.

Then Mr. Sloan heard of an unprecedented opportunity: “The United States Army Air Corps announced a training course for Negro airmen to be conducted at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute.  Sloan, a Kentucky postal worker who dreamed of being a pilot, eagerly submitted his application and was accepted into the program. Thus began a life-changing odyssey for a young man determined to serve his country, prove his mettle and see the world.”1

In 1942, Mr. Sloan joined the Army Air Corps at Tuskegee, Alabama and received his pilots wings on June 30th, 1943.  On March 30th, 1944, while returning from a combat mission with the country’s first black fighter squadron, Mr. Sloan was shot down over Italy after he crossed into Allied territory.  Gunfire from the ground during the second battle of Monte Cassion set Mr. Sloan’s plane on fire and shrapnel ripped into his left leg.  Before he parachuted to safety, Mr. Sloan took steps to prevent further loss of blood.  “First thing I had to do was put a tourniquet on my thigh”, Mr. Sloan told the Chicago Tribune newspaper in 1999.  “As the Lord would have it, that day I was wearing my white silk scarf.  This was one my wife had given me and I made a point of not wearing it every time I went up, so it wouldn’t become a symbol I would feel I needed in order to fly.  But I had decided to wear it that day.”  Mr. Sloan and his high school sweetheart, Wilhelmina “Billie” Carson had married the day before he received his wings at Tuskegee the previous year.

After moving to Chicago, Mr. Sloan became an active member of the Chatham community.  He joined the Chicago Urban League and was a consummate member of the Church of the Good Shepherd Congregational United Church of Christ, where he served as a member of the men’s club, the church trustee board and the church cabinet.  Also, as an early member of the Chicago “DODO” Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Mr. Sloan chaired the chapter’s Corporate Fundraising Committee.

Earlier in 2001, Mr. Sloan and his wife had been celebrating the release of his autobiography entitled: “Survival! A Purple Heart Tuskegee Airman”.  In addition to his wife, Mr. Sloan left behind a daughter, Linda Jeanne Sloan Locke; a son, John Steward Sloan, Jr.; a sister Mary Sloan Edelen; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

1.  Excerpted from his autobiography: “Survival! A Purple Heart Tuskegee Airman”

 

OTA George A. Taylor

March 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

information pills helvetica, more about sans-serif;”>George Taylor was one of 966 Black military pilots trained during World War II at Tuskegee Army Air Field, Alabama, near Tuskegee University; and one of 450 single-engine fighter pilots who participated in combat overseas. When Mr. Taylor first left his hometown of Middlesex, Va. to enlist in the Army Air Forces at Tuskegee Alabama, he did not tell his neighbors and friends of his plans. According to his wife Joan, “he never told any of them because so many cadets were washed out during training.” “He didn’t want them to know, so when he did get his wings, he went home and shocked everyone.”

Born the youngest and only boy of five children, Mr. Taylor graduated from high school in 1938 and went to Virginia State University in Petersburg for three years before he decided to enlist. After the war he came to Chicago, entered the Curtiss-Wright School of Aeronautical Engineering and graduated in 1950. While going to school he worked at the post office.

As an original member of the 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, Captain Taylor flew the P-39, P-47, Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang Fighter Planes in combat. His base locations overseas included Montecorvino Airfield, Italy, Capodichino Airdrome, It aly, Ramitelli Airfield, Italy. Captain Taylor
flew more than 50 missions with the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group over Italy and was awarded two Bronze Stars, an Air Medal, and four Battle Stars. He had twelve years of active and reserve military duty.

George A. Taylor, former WWII Fighter Pilot, along with other original Tuskegee Airmen, was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal Award at a prestigious ceremony in honor of his accomplishments as a Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. The event took place in the Rotunda of the Capitol of the United States on March 29, 2007. George was always proud of his WWII aviation legacy, but the proudest moment of his life came when the Tuskegee Airmen were presented with the Congressional Gold Medal. He had a small replica made and had it put on a chain which he wore around his neck from that moment in 2007 until the day he died.

In later years, George became the first African American Sr. Civil Engineer with the Engineering Department of the Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. He worked as the chief engineer on the first Deep Tunnel project at La Grange Road and Illinois Highway 171 near Hodgkins, IL. He retired in 1986, with 35 years of service. Mr. Taylor was a treasurer of the Chicago Tuskegee Airmen Inc. and the former national chairman of the committee on nominations of Tuskegee Airmen Inc.

His survivors include his wife Joan, his stepdaughter, Susan Chatman; and a sister, Otelia Payne. Mr. Taylor, 88, died of prostate cancer Saturday, June 21, 2008 in his home. His family plans to have his remains scattered over Moten Field by chapter aviators in October 2008, during the dedication of that WWII training base as a National History Site.

 

Tuskegee Airmen of World War II

January 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

During WWII there were many men that were forgotton. The Tuskegee Airmen made a major contribution. Where did they come from? Jakeman’s book, order “The Divided Skies” recollects where the Tuskegee Airmen came from. It is he who goes in depth about the Tuskegee Institute and its formation, which ultimately gives birth to the Tuskegee Airmen. After their superb flight training, there were a select few that made a major impact in the war
through their excellent piloting skills. These men are known today as the Tuskegee Airmen.

March 1942 – Tuskegee Army Air Field, Alabama

5 men received the silver wings of Army Air Forces polots: George S. Roberts, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., Charles H. BeBow, Jr., Mac Ross, adn Lemuel R. Custis

  • these men completed standard Army flight clasroom instruction
  • these men completed many hours of flying time
  • marked milestone in US military Aviation
  • first African-Americans to qualify as military pilots in any branch of the armed forces
  • Before these five men entered the program, blacks were continuosly excluded from aviation training programs in
    the military

By the end of WWII, almost 1,000 African-Americans had won their wings at Tuskegee Army Air Field. Not until 1948 did the first Black American received the gold wings of a Navy pilot

As you can see, racial exclusion in the Navy continued on many years after the first black men graduated from
Tuskegee

Approximately half of the black men that graduated from Tuskegee fought in the European and Mediterranean wars as combat mission fighter pilots

  • The Tuskegee Airmen have a respectable record in combat:
  • they flew more than 15,000 sorties
  • destroyed over 1,000 German aircraft
  • received hundreds of Air Medals
  • more then 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses

Why Tuskegee?

1939 – The establishment of an aviation course at Tuskegee

The aviation course was a direct result of blacks crusade to be included into the nation’s military component to crusade was admitting blacks into Air Corps

  • Ulysses Lee characterizes wide spread pressure campaign
  • The Air Corps drew its strength from three important sources
  • black America’s high regard for military service
  • increase in enthusiasm for black public in aviation
  • the emergence of civil rights as a national issue during the 1930’s
[“Books are Weapons. Read About…The Negro in National Defense; Africa and the War; Negro History and Culture” – J.P. (signed) New
York, NY Silk-screen poster Prints and Photographs Division (67), Library of Congress]

The early months of 1939

  • US Congress enacted legislation to expand the Air Corps and train thousands in flying
  • There were amendments to Public Law 18 which allowed the Air Corps to be expanded
  • The 1940 campaign put a lot of pressure on the military
  • late 1940 military began to make plans for a segregated air unit
  • early 1941 the secretary of war approves plan to establish 99th Pursuit Squadron and base it near Tuskegee
  • A Brief Overview of Aviation and Tuskegee Institute

[detail from The Lincoln Gates at Tuskegee c1906, from the Library of Congress]

Tuskegee Institute, founded in 1881, continues today as Tuskegee University commemorated since 1974 by a National Historic Site in Alabama May 22, 1934 – the first airplane lands on the ground in an oat field flown by John C. Robinson, Chicago aviator occurred during the commencement exercises of 1934 many black newspapers noticed the event marked Tuskegee’s first attempt to enter the air age

Next two years, Tuskegee has growing interest in aeronautics

1936 – newspapers announce that Tuskegee planned to offer courses in aviation Tuskegee was considered and ideal place for aviation training for many reasons:

  • situated in deep south afforded excellent year-round flying weather
  • rural setting afforded ample underdeveloped land for an airfield
  • aviation would complement school’s traditional emphasis on task-oriented vocational education
  • credibility of school would make it easier to enter into a field that many whites felt blacks could not master

Booker T. Washington, graduate of Hampton Institute arrived at Tuskegee to organize a normal school for
the training of black teachers in 1881 this aviation idea was only a “fantastic dream in 1881 to Booker T. Washington…” according to Robert Jakeman in The Divided Skies

In early 1881 Tuskegee was chartered by act of the Alabama legislature. Three trustees had the responsibility too of selecting a principal. Trustees wrote Samuel C. Armstrong asking for a good white candidate Armstrong responded that he did not have a white one, but strongly recommended Booker T. Washington. They selected Booker T. Washington as new principal

July 4, 1881 despite limited resources, Washington was able to open the school.he worked fast to get school on firm financial and educational footing and he added industrial training courses such as carpentry, masonry, blacksmithing, and housekeeping [“bricklaying at Hampton Institute”, from My Larger Education, 1911].

He saw Tuskegee as “a veritable cathedral of practical learning and black self-help, a Hampton run entirely of black people” (for more on his doctrine of self-help, see his article “The Case of the Negro” published in the 1899 Atlantic Monthly)

By 1895 Tuskegee is well established

That same year Washington makes his famous speech at the Atlanta Exposition and publishes his autobiography Up From Slavery.

After the death of Booker T. Washington in 1915, Robert Russa Moton is selected as principle by
trustees, who served as commandant of cadets at Hampton for 25 years. Morton had ideologies different than Washington; saw himself as principal first “…occasionally as a race leader, and only rarely as a political boss.”

By 1915 Tuskegee is well established as a vocational school training teachers, tradesmen and farmers, providing courses at the high school level

1920 – Moton introduces college courses although no degrees were conferred

1925 – Moton raises ten million dollars by having a joint campaign fund-raiser with Hampton; this allowed the construction of buildings for a new collegiate division

1927 – collegiate level was organized by Moton with courses such as education, agriculture, and home economics. He argues that such changes was needed in order to train future graduates to teach
September 1934 – Moton and administration supports plans for two black aviators to do an air tour (Pan – American) using plane christened as the Booker T. Washington; the first time Tuskegee Institute is linked with a major aviation venture publicly

1935 – Moton retires and Frederick Douglass Patterson becomes Tuskegee’s third president, differing very much from former presidents. Unlike his predecessors who graduated from Hampton, Patterson brought professional and academic credentials

Tuskegee continues on

Spring 1940 – Tuskegee had beginnings of aviation program thanks to Civilian Training Program

“In the 1930s, America was dealing with the Depression, legal segregation and blatant racism. These issues made it difficult for Negro pilots to find jobs. But in 1939, about 20 Negro pilots came together and formed
the National Airmen’s Association. They hoped to change the policies that limited their options as pilots by gaining public attention. They began holding air shows that amazed the crowds with their daredevil tricks. In May of 1939 the National Airmen’s Association, with the help of the Chicago Defender, a Negro newspaper, sponsored Chauncey Spencer and Dale White on a 10-city tour. While in Washington, D.C., the pilots met and found an ally in a senator from Missouri, Harry S Truman. Along with other congressmen, Truman helped put through legislation that permitted black pilots to serve in the Civilian Pilot Training Program.” (from http://www.rmwc.edu/WhatsNew/black.hm)

G.L. Washington’s ability to run CTP helps aviation to blossom at Tuskegee

  • expands CTP
  • focusses attention on securing airport
  • spoke with Asa Rountree, AlabamA Aviation Commission’s director of airfield development
  • January 1940 – Rountree visits Tuskegee
  • April 1940 – proposed airfield site selected
  • April 3, 1940 – state airport engineer, Draper, advises Washington that airfield can be constructed
  • two grass landings perpendicular would accomodate 8 airplanes
  • construction of site would cost $22,900
  • By early October 1940, ten secondary student’s ground and flight training had been completed
  • campaign continues to get blacks into Army Air Corps
  • December 18, 1940 – Air Corps sends plans for training and establishment of the black pursuit squadron at Tuskegee
  • January 6, 1941 – General Hap Arnold tells the Assistant Secretary of War for Air that blacks could only be trained at Tuskegee
  • selected because only possible place to start negro training school in shortest amount of time
  • major facilities already available
  • no question of air congestion there
  • would allow school to be started with minimal delay
  • close enough for control and supervision by Maxwell Field, Commanding General
  • January 9, 1941 – plan receives formal approval of the Secretary of War

“…the era of the all-white air force had ended, and the day of the segregated air force had arrived.”

  • Towards end of 1941 flight training begins
  • Early November 1941 only 10 weeks of training, drew to an end, only six of orginal thirteen remained in program
  • The flight training was only one phase of the training of the 99th Squadron
  • March 1942 – the first black Americans earn the wings of Air Corps pilots graduates form Tuskegee
  • The P51 in flight over Califfornia 1943, from the Library of Congress
  • In North Africa, the Tuskegee Airmen flew the P-51 Mustang escorting bombers.

Conclusion

As you can see, the military was very racist against blacks in the military. How could one be a pilot if there was no place for blacks to train? How could a young African-American fulfill a dream if they did not have the motivations nor the apparatus to do it? The Tuskegee Airmen proved the nation wrong. They showed blacks and whites alike that blacks were as capable as anyone else to fly and fight for their country. Ben O. Davis, Jr. and his colleagues were the spearhead of such thinking. If it wasn’t for the 99th Squadron who knows where blacks would be in the military. Would they be pilots? You and I both know the answer to this question!

Sources:

  1. Divided Skies, The : Establishing Segregated Flight Training at Tuskegee, Alabama, 1934-1942, by RobertJ. Jakeman. Tucaloosa : University of Alabama Press, 1992.
  2. Tuskegee Airmen, The : the Men Who Changed a Nation, by Charles E. Francis. Boston, MA : Branden Pub. Co., 1988; 3rd ed., rev., up-dated and enlarged, Boston : Branden Pub. Co.,1993.
  3. Double V : the Civil Rights Struggle of the Tuskegee Airmen, by Lawrence P. Scott, William M. Womack, Sr. East Lansing : Michigan State University Press, 1994.
  4. Lonely Eagles : the Story of America’s Black Air Force in World War II, by Robert A. Rose. Los Angeles :
    Tuskegee Airmen, Western Region, 1976.
  5. Segregated Skies : All-Black Combat Squadrons of WW II, by Stanley Sandler. Washington, D.C. :
    Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992.
  6. Booker T. Washington; the Making of a Black Leader, 1856-1901, by Louis R. Harlan. New York, Oxford
    University Press, 1972.
  7. Booker T. Washington : the Wizard of Tuskegee, 1901-1915, by Louis R. Harlan. New York : Oxford
    University Press, 1983.
  8. Booker T. Washington Papers, The, Louis R. Harlan, editor. Urbana, University of Illinois Press,1972-1989.
  9. My Larger Education, by Booker T. Washington, New York: Doubleday, 1911.
  10. America’s First Black General : Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., 1880-1970, by Marvin E. Fletcher ; with a foreword
    by Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, 1989.
  11. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., American : an Autobiography. Washington :Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991.
  12. HAP : the Story of the U.S. Air Force and the Man Who Built It, General Henry H. “Hap” Arnold, by
    Thomas M. Coffey. New York : Viking Press, 1982.
  13. Blacks in the Army Air Forces during World War II : the Problem of Race Relations, by Alan M. Osur.
    Washington : Office of Air Force History : U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1977; and New York : Arno Press, 1980.
  14. Employment of Negro Troops, The, by Ulysses Lee. Washington, D.C. : Center of Military History, U.S.
    Army, and Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O., 1994.
  15. Invisible Soldier, The : the Experience of the Black Soldier, World War II, compiled and edited by Mary
    Penick Motley ; with a foreword by Howard Donovan Queen. Detroit : Wayne State University Press, 1975.
  16. He, too, Spoke for Democracy : Judge Hastie, World War II, and the Black Soldier, by Phillip McGuire. New
    York : Greenwood Press, 1988.
  17. Liberators : Fighting on Two Fronts in World War II, by Lou Potter with William Miles and Nina Rosenblum.
    1st ed. New York : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992.

Additional Links:

  1. Tuskegee Airmen Page from Gary Carmichael at the Discovery Channel School site
  2. “Tuskegee Airman: Breaking the Myths” by Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman, Chief of Staff, a speech delivered at
    the Tuskegee Airmen Convention Banquet, Atlanta, Aug 12, 1995 (from AirForceLINK)
  3. “Tuskegee Airmen present paintings to the Air Force” by by Master Sgt. Merrie Schilter Lowe Sept. 12,
    1995 (from AirForceLINK) and photo of one of the paintings.
  4. “Black pilots shatter myths” by MSgt. Linda E. Brandon, Sept. 15, 1995 (from AirForceLINK)
  5. “Tuskegee Airmen to convene “, Aug. 23, 1995 (from AirForceLINK)
  6. “LORs removed from Tuskegee Airmen’s records” by Master Sgt. Merrie Schilter Low. Sept. 12, 1995
    (from AirForceLINK)
  7. “CBI no place to be in 1945” by TSgt. David P. Masko, Aug. 31, 1995 (from AirForceLINK)
  8. “Tuskegee Airmen’s dramatic story lands flat” by Curt Schleier, The Detroit News, Aug. 26, 1995
  9. “Black Airman’s WWII Conviction Overturned” (in “U.S. Briefs,” CNN Oct. 22, 1995)

written by Davina Hoyt at the University of San Diego, August 25, 1995 – last modified March 11, 1996

TUSKEGEE AIRMEN GOLD MEDAL BILL SIGNED INTO LAW

January 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

President Bush Gives Final Approval to Congressman Rangel’s Legislation Conferring Highest Congressional Award on African-American WWII Heroes
The legislation conferring the Congressional Gold Medal on the Tuskegee Airmen in recognition of their heroism in World War II was signed into law today, illness April 11 2006, generic Congressman Charles Rangel announced.

“This is the culmination of a huge effort by many people to grant the recognition to the Tuskegee Airmen that they have earned and so well deserve, this ” Congressman Rangel said. “I especially want to thank Senator Carl Levin of Michigan who carried this bill successfully in the Senate and worked with me every step of the way to get us to this day.”

The bill was signed by President George Bush at 10:00 a.m. today in a private bill-signing at the White House. It was passed in its final version by the House of Representatives on February 28, 2006, and by the Senate on March 27th.

The Gold Medal, Congress’ most distinguished civilian award, will be presented to the Tuskegee Airmen, collectively, in ceremonies in the U.S. Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C. later this year. As authorized under the law, the President will present the specially designed Gold Medal on behalf of Congress. Designed by the U.S. Mint, the award medal containing 15-ounces of gold will be housed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, and made available for temporary display at museums around the country. Bronze replicas will be stamped for sale to the public.

The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of 994 African American pilots who gained fame during WWII for their heroism escorting American bombers in raids over Europe and North Africa. Their distinguished service is credited with influencing President Truman to desegregate the U.S. military. Among the surviving Airmen living in New York are: educator Roscoe Brown, broadcast executive Percy Sutton, and business executive Lee Archer.

******************************************************************************** *

Background Information on the Congressional Gold Medal

Since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. Each medal honors a particular individual, institution, or event. Although the first recipients included citizens who participated in the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Mexican War, Congress broadened the scope of the medal to include actors, authors, entertainers, musicians, pioneers in aeronautics and space, explorers, lifesavers, notables in science and medicine, athletes, humanitarians, public servants, and foreign recipients.

In addition to the requirement that all Congressional Gold Medal legislation must be cosponsored by at least two-thirds (290) of the Members of the House, specific standards are set forth by Rule VII (c)(vii) of the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services’s Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy when considering such legislation. Additionally, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee requires that at least 67 Senators must cosponsor any Congressional Gold Medal legislation before the committee will consider it.

The Congressional Gold Medal of Honor is the highest award which may be bestowed by the Legislative Branch of the United States government. The decoration, commonly referred to simply as the Congressional Medal of Honor, or Congressional Gold Medal, is awarded to any individual who performs an outstanding deed or act of service to the security, prosperity, and national interest of the United States of America. The recipient need not be an American citizen.

The Congressional Gold Medal of Honor is considered the United States Congress equivalent to the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Both decorations are generally considered to hold the same degree of prestige (though significantly fewer Gold Medals have been awarded), with the difference being that the Freedom Medal is personally awarded by the President of the United States and the Congressional Gold Medal is awarded in the name of the U.S. Congress.

Legislation bestowing the Congressional Medal of Honor to a recipient must be co-sponsored by two thirds of the membership of both the House of Representatives and the Senate before their respective committees will consider it.

The Congressional Gold Medal of Honor is created by the United States Mint to specifically commemorate the person and achievement for which the medal is awarded. Each medal is therefore different in appearance and there is no standard design for the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor. The Congressional Gold Medal of Honor is also considered “non-portable”, meaning that the medal is not meant to be worn on a uniform or other clothing, but rather displayed much like a trophy.

The Congressional Gold Medal of Honor is a completely separate decoration from the Medal of Honor which is a military award for extreme bravery in action. Another similarly named decoration is the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, presented by NASA for extreme accomplishment to the mission of United States space exploration.

Young Eagles Rally Reports – 2009

December 1, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

 


April 11, 2009 – Young Eagles Rally

Another Picture Perfect Day for Flying

Saturday, April 11 was sunny and breezy…and perfect for a Young Eagles Rally.

Forty-six youngsters flew with our intrepid pilots: Butch Bejna, Victor Croswell, Steve Hammond, Andy James, and Steve MacCabe. Conspicuously missing was our Fearless Leader/Chief Pilot, Ken Rapier. We struggled on valiantly, while he recovered from a hospital stay.

On the ground our volunteers included (in order of signing in): Matthew Robinson, Veleda Robinson, Carol MacCabe, Bob Mullins, Moses Jones, Paul Wilson, Hilton Joseph, Betty Guice, Charles Guice, Bev Dunjill, Jean Dunjill, Clarence Holland, Desmond Underwood (F.A.A.), Lt. Col. Karen Bashaw (Civil Air Patrol), Milton Wlliams, Karon Thompson, Barb Werner, Welton Taylor, Derrick Henry (all the way from New Jersey), Mary Ward, Victor Croswell, Dana Richard, Briana Dracousis, Gary Werner (Barb’s son), Rufus Hunt, Jr., LaVerne Shelton, Don Clay, Evie Clay, Zebulun Clay (our youngest volunteer ever), Rob Strickland, Clayton James, Keith Renfroe, Julius Jackson, Bob Martin, and Duane Hayden.

Lunch was chili (Barb) and Sloppy Joes (Don), fresh fruit (Betty), chips and dip, chocolate Easter cupcakes (Don), brownies (Carol), never-empty coffee pot (Mary) and soft drinks (Don).

We now have TWO Young Eagles Rallies in a row. How wonderful, after months of poor weather (and a TFR) forcing rally cancellations. Our next rally will be Saturday, May 9, 2009. Why not make plans now to join us at the Gary Airport. For the Chief Pilot: Happy Flyin’!

Carol MacCabe

Young Eagles Regional Representative

June 14, 2009 – Young Eagles Rally

Flag Day – 2009

June 14th, 2008. Flag Day and International Young Eagles Day and a beautiful day it was. Sunny, clear skies with unlimited visibility and light winds. A perfect day for pilots Butch Bejna, Vic Croswell, Joe Gmitter, Mark Odeen, Ken Rapier and Dan Skoda to team up with volunteers Rhonda Buss, Don Clay, Clarence Holland, Julius Jackson, Wil Johnson, Moses Jones, Hilton Joseph, Melvin Knazze, Bob Mullins, Keith Renfroe, Carl Robinson, Vince Saunders, LaVerne Shelton, Welton Taylor, Karon Thompson, Mary Ward, Barb Werner, Milt Williams and Paul Wilson to fly 34 Young Eagles. The pilots and volunteers started the day with coffee doughnuts, sweet rolls and breakfast sausage sandwiches. The afternoon closed with chilli, hot wings, ribs, chips, cole slaw, carrots, celery, watermelon and birthday cake for Don Clay. This is what happens when the volunteer cooks give Rob Strickland a day off from the grill. Our thanks to Don, Vic, K aron, Mary and Barb for providing such a delightful feast. A good time was had by all. You were invited to join us so it’s your fault if you missed it. Okay, you get one more shot at it. June 28th is Volunteer Appreciation Day. Join us at the airport for lunch at Noon for some good food and socializing. Why not bring your significant other to meet the rest of the Team? You’re invited to fly in, drive in or walk in, just join in. There will be no Young Eagles flights on Volunteer Appreciation Day.

Reminder: The next Young Eagles rally will be July 12th. The Young Eagles rally for August is CANCELLED. Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

July 18, 2009 – Young Eagles Rally

Young Eagles Rally held at Lewis University

Orchestrated by Duane Hayden, under the direction of Director of Operations, Bob Mullins and Flight Director, Vic Croswell, Butch Bejna, Ken Rapier and Keith Renfroe flew the 21 youngsters that arrived at the Lewis University Airport on the Chicago bus. They were assisted by the Lewis University Flight Operations staff and Young Eagles Volunteers Rosalind Cobbs, Bev Dunjill, Jean Dunjill, Betty Guice, Charles Guice, Moses Jones, Melvin Knazze, Rob Strickland Welton Taylor and Milt Williams. The July 18th rally was a special rally for the summer since there will be no Young Eagles rally in August because the Tuskegee Airmen will be in Oshkosh August 1st, in the Bud Biliken parade August 8th, at the Chicago Air & Water Show August 15th and the Rockford Airshow August 22nd. The Young Eagles rally last Saturday was also significant because there was a surprise 11th birthday party for Joseph Cobbs. DeSean Hayden, son of Chicago Chapter 2nd Vice Pre sident, Col. Duane Hayden, reached his 7th birthday, making him eligible for his Young Eagle flight. DeSean took his momentous flight in one of our Redtail Cherokees with Chief Pilot Ken Rapier at Col. Hayden’s Alma Mater, Lewis University. Upon completion of his flight, he and the other new Young Eagles were sworn in as Young Eagles by Milt Williams and DeSean had his Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Wings pinned on by his Godfather, Milt Williams. After the rally, surrounded by the delightful Blue Angels theme decorations, everyone enjoyed Joseph’s Blue Angels birthday cake and were treated to pizza and soda provided by Rosalind Cobbs; all of this while watching Blue Angels videos. It would certainly be an understatement to say that a good time was had by all. You had to be there. Our next Young Eagles rally will be on Saturday, September 12, 2009. Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

September 12, 2009 – Young Eagles Rally

CAPS & Sea Cadet Students Participate in End of Summer Rally

Being blessed with picture perfect flying weather at Gary, while Midway, DuPage and Chicago Executive airports were fogged in, gave pilots Butch Bejna, Bob Brutvan, Vic Croswell, Ken Rapier and Steve Whitney an opportunity to put smiles on the faces of 63 new Young Eagles. 22 of the youngsters came on the Chicago bus under the supervision of Julius Jackson, 10 youngsters came from the Chicago CAPS program and 7 from the Sea Cadets program. Volunteers assisting to make the rally possible were Mike Askew, Bev Dunjill, Jean Dunjill, Julius Echols, Betty Guice, Charles Guice, Duane Hayden via remote, Rufus Hunt, Moses Jones, Hilton Joseph, Melvin Knazze, Keith Renfroe, Charlie Richardson, LaVerne Shelton, Rob Strickland, Welton Taylor, Karon Thompson, Barb Werner, Milt Williams and Paul Wilson. After a long day of flying, the pilots and volunteers enjoyed the usual social hour and relaxation time with an awards presentation and a luncheon of hot d ogs, chips, turkey, ham, cheeses, crackers, potatoe salad, fruit salad, red beans and rice, prepared by our now famous team of chefs led by Rob Strickland, assisted by Cathy Bell, Betty Guice, Karon Thompson and Barb Werner. Having completed our 5th rally of the year, our 2009 Young Eagles total is 221 for an average of 44 youngster per rally, keeping our averages pretty consistent. Our grand total for Gary Airport now stands at 2420. A special thanks goes to the dedicated men and women of the Gary Airport, the Gary Jet Center, the Gary Airport Control Tower and the Gary Fire Department for opening up the fire station for all of our Young Eagles to see and have a hands on experience operating the fire hose. All of these people get paid to help us and always do so willingly with a smile. Everyone associated with the Young Eagles program is a winner. Plan now to join the team of winners at our next Young Eagles rally on October 10, 2009. Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

October 10, 2009 – Young Eagles Rally

Chicago Frogs Club Sponsor Refreshments for Students & Volunteers

I will begin this report by clearing up a misconception from last month’s report. I expressed our gratitude to some paid employees that help us with our Young Eagles rallies. Those employees are the staff of the Gary Air Traffic Control Tower, the staff at the Gary Jet Center and the Gary Airport staff. These employees are on the “clock” when the rallies take place and by virtue of that fact, they are getting paid.

We are indeed grateful for their assistance every month but make no mistake about the fact that the pilots and ground volunteers that make up the Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Team do not get paid. The Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program would not exist without our Volunteer Team and each member of the Team knows how grateful I, the Tuskegee Airmen, the parents and particularly every child is for their participation. I will remain eternally in their debt. I sincerely wish we could pay them but I know they are satisfied by the sense of accomplishment they carry with them at the completion of a successful Young Eagles rally each month. The candid response youngsters treat us to is our payment. The resultant smile on the face of a newly sworn in Young Eagle is literally priceless. You simply have to be there to understand.

The weather Friday was blustery and frightful. The weather the following day, Saturday, October 10, 2009, Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Volunteer Team Young Eagles rally day, blessed us with sunny skies, gentle winds and cool temperatures. Perfect weather for flying. It could just as easily have been November according to the temperature, not to mention the fact that after the rally, our pilots and volunteers dined on a turkey, deep fried by Don Clay, sweet potatoes whipped by Barb Werner, greens cooked by Rob Strickland, fruit salad made by Betty Guice and sweet potato pie made b y Cathy Bell, all served by Karon Thompson. We achieved a coup le of first as well. 1) We had 60 youngsters pre-registered and all 60 showed up. 2) We fed every youngster that came to the rally. 60 Subway box lunches were served to the youngsters, compliments of the Frogs Club of Chicago, delivered by Capt. Mark Stevenson with additional donations from the Frogs Club Community Service Chairman, Waymon Davis, of Davis Apartments and from Tony Peraica, 16th District Commissioner of the Cook County Board. We can’t afford to provide lunch for the youngsters that attend our rallies. The luncheon for pilots and volunteers is donated by the volunteers. Thanks to a special effort from the Frogs Club, every youngster was treated to lunch.

10 of the Sea Cadets that came to the rally did not get the opportunity to fly because of the time constraints of another event they had planned for the afternoon. Since we are operating out of the Gary Airport terminal building on a temporary basis, we were forced to wait outside for an hour and a half before someone arrived to unlock the terminal building, resulting in a late start for the rally. Additionally, the terminal parking lot is now suddenly locked, which created chaos because initially, parents parked their cars in front of the terminal. This caused us to have to get every car moved to another place because if the terminal is occupied, the fire lane must be kept clear but make no mistake about it: even though youngsters had to wait outside in the cold for over an hour and the parking of vehicles was a fiasco, the Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Volunteer Team is dauntless and will never allow some simple, man-created obstacles to stand in the way of our youth aviation program.

The pilots that flew the 50 Young Eagles were: Butch Bejna, Vic Croswell, Rufus Hunt, Keith Renfroe and Ken Rapier. Assisting the pilots with the rally that was successful, in spite of man’s attempt to make it otherwise were: Bev Dunjill, Jean Dunjill, Don Clay, Betty Guice, Charles Guice, Duane Hayden, Clarence Holland, Moses Jones, Hilton Joseph, Melvin Knazze, Bob Martin, Bob Mullins, Carl Robinson, Rob Strickland, Welton Taylor, Karon Thompson, Barb Werner, Milt Williams and Paul Wilson.

Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

December 12, 2009 – Gary-Chicago International Airport.

A Typical Young Eagles Rally – “A Lesson In Overcoming Obstacles”

Weather: Sunny skies, light winds and temperature slightly above freezing.

Director of Flight Operations, Victor Croswell arrived at the airport and greeted a group of 25 Boy Scouts. Despite initial Airport Terminal Access problems, the Boy Scout Troop is given a presentation by Welton Taylor and Melvin Knazze. An additional three youngsters arrive later and also complete our in-processing requirements.

1230 hours: After successfully overcoming administrative logistical difficulties, the last of today’s crew of 28 new Young Eagles is flown. Our volunteer pilots were: Mike Askew (flew 9); Butch Bejna (flew 4); Steve MacCabe (flew 10) and Keith Renfroe (flew 5).

Our flying mission was supported through the efforts of ground-crew volunteers Victor Croswell, Betty Guice, Charles Guice, Duane Hayden, Clarence Holland, Rufus A. Hunt, Jr., Moses Jones, Melvin Knazze, Carol MacCabe, Bob Mullins, Dana Richard, Matthew Robinson, Marvin Robinson, Rob Strickland, Welton Taylor, Karon Thompson, Barb Werner and Paul Wilson.

Following another successful rally, our volunteers enjoyed a pleasant lunch consisting of pizza, chilli, cornbread, muffins, and brownies provided by Vic Croswell, Carol MacCabe, Steve MacCabe, Dana Richard, Rob Strickland and Barb Werner. the rally concluded with everyone having Birthday cake and singing Happy Birthday to Flight Ops Director and Acting Chief Pilot, Vic Croswell.

Report submitted by Victor Croswell and Karon Thompson

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Young Eagles Rally Reports – 2008

December 1, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

 


January 12th, 2008 – Young Eagles Rally

Eleven Hardy Youngsters Get To Fly On A Cold Chicago Morning

Fyling conditions were great for a winter day on Saturday,  January 12,2008, so the eleven Young Eagles that came to the Young Eagles rally were pampered by eight pilots and twenty-three volunteers. Four youngsters arrived on the Chicago bus, six from Saulk Village and one walk-up. The feast-or-famine rally was attended by pilots Butch Bejna, Vic Croswell, Greg Erickson, Dave Galowich, Steve MacCabe, Ken Rapier, Keith Renfroe and Dan Skoda, with volunteers Kathy Bell, Don Clay, Bev Dunjill, Krystal Franklin, Ryan Galowich, Mike Hill, Julius Jackson, Wil Johnson, Moses Jones, Melvin Knazze, Carol MacCabe, Darryl Mack, Bob Martin, Bob Mullins, Carl Robinson, Marvin Robinson, LaVerne Shelton, Rob Strickland, Welton Taylor, Mary Ward, Barb Werner, Milt Williams and Paul Wilson. After the rally the pilots and volunteers celebrated the New Year with chilli made by Barb Werner and Rob Strickland along with hot wings, cookies and brownies made by Don Clay. Since there were only a few Young Eagles to fly, the pilots and volunteers wer able to celebtate for a longer time and a good time was had by all. Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

May 10th, 2008 – Young Eagles Rally

It’s All A Team Effort & Summer Flight Schedule

What would having no running water and the high cost of fuel do to the Young Eagles rally? Nothing but challenge us to work around it with the help of the men at the Gary Fire Department and pilots biting the bullet and paying for fuel. Alas, the weather finally cooperated and blessed us with a picture perfect day for flying 49 official Young Eagles. We also flew a pair of 18 year olds, one of whom is the co-star of the Disney Channel show “Raven”. Youngsters over the age of 17 do not count as Young Eagles but we try to accomodate all young people when we can. Thanks to the efforts of pilots Butch Bejna, Vic Croswell, Steve Hammond, Steve MacCabe, Ken Rapier, Keith Renfroe, Marvin Robinson and Dan Skoda with assistance from volunteers Don Clay, Alcus Crowmartie, Clarence Holland, Rufus Hunt, Julius Jackson, Moses Jones, Melvin Knazze, Carol MacCabe, Carl Robinson, LaVerne Shelton, Rob Strickland, Kahari Velez, W elton Taylor, Barb Werner and O.Lawton Wilkerson. Pilots and volunteers began the day with coffee and sweet rolls as big as you head from Don Clay. After the rally everyone was treated to a delicious lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs grilled to perfection by Rob Strickland, a healthy tossed salad with a choice of Ranch or Italian dressing from Carol MacCabe and a variety of chips and soda from Barb Werner. Everyone was glad to get back in the Young Eagles Rally Groove and enjoy the pleasant weather on this early Springtime day. A good time was had by all and everyone was reminded of these summer dates:

June 14th – International Young Eagles Day

June 28th – Volunteer Appreciation Day at Gary Airport at Noon

July 12th – Regularly scheduled Young Eagles rally

July 18-20 – Gary Air Show weekend

July 28-August 3 – Oshkosh Air Show week

August 9th – Bud Biliken Day Parade

August 16-17 – Chicago Air & Water Show

Note: Because of the full schedule in August…the August Young Eagles rally is CANCELLED.

Please mark your calendars accordingly. Happy Flyin!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program


September 13th, 2008 – Young Eagles Rally

Rally Cancelled – Tropical Storm Ike

Normally there is no Young Eagles report after a cancellation but this is an exception. Let me begin by thanking all of the dedicated pilots and volunteers of the Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Team for standing at the ready to complete the Young Eagles rally if the weather had a change of heart and decided to cooperate.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. September 13, 2008 found us under the influence of a Pacific tropical storm, giving us heavy rain, low ceilings, poor visibility and high winds. Conditions that put recreational flying out of the question. A special thanks to our head chef, Rob Strickland and his cadre of dedicated cooks, Cathy Bell, Don Clay, Carol MacCabe, Karon Thompson and Barb Werner. This committed group had plans for a spectacular luncheon feast, complete with birthday cake and ice cream. Birthday cake? That’s correct, birthday cake and a celebration in honor of our sixth year at the Gary-Chicago Airport, returning for Young Eagles flights after a 90 day lay-off caused by airshow cancellations and the 29th birthday of one our our most dedicated volunteers. Oh yes, of course I should mention who just turned 29 and holding (still), Mr. Moses Jones. Happy Birthday Moses!

The next item is of vital importance: The October Young Eagles rally will be held on October 4th. Please help get the word out that the date has been changed to the second weekend of October because the Grand Opening of the National Historic Site, Tuskegee Army Airfield, Moton Field, Tuskegee, Alabama. It is anticipated that all of the Tuskegee Airmen that are able to travel will be returning to their training base to witness it being dedicated as a National Historic Landmark. The keynote speaker for the event will be, President George Walker Bush. Everyone is invited to attend the ribbon cutting Friday and numerous other activities Saturday and Sunday. Pilots flying in are advised to fly in on Thursday due to the TFR over Moton Field on Friday. Plan on being at the next Young Eagles rally on Saturday, October 4, 2008. Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

October 4th, 2008 – Young Eagles Rally

A Picture Perfect Day for Flying

Saturday, October 4, 2008 was a picture perfect day for flying. There were 25 youngsters participating in the Young Eagles rally, 13 of which arrived on the Chicago bus. Pilots flyin the relatively small group were Butch Bejna, Victor Croswell, Steve Hammond, Steve MacCabe, Ken Rapier and Keith Renfroe. Volunteers assisting with the rally were Cathy Bell, Don, Heather and Evie Clay, Bev and Jean Dunjill, Charles and Betty Guice, Julius Jackson, Moses Jones, Hilton Joseph, Melvin Knazze, Bob Mullins, Carol MacCabe, Darryl Mack, Carl Robinson, Marvin Robinson, Matthew Robinson, Vince Saunders, Rob Strickland, Mary Ward, Barb Werner and Paul Wilson. Once again a delightful luncheon feast of deep fried chicken, potatoes and green beans prepared by Don Clay, spaghetti and meatballs made by Cathy Bell, turkey and beans cooked by Barb Werner, greens and ham hocks with corn bread fixed by Rob Strickland and brownies and cookie bars baked by Carol MacCabe, made the day complete for our pilots and volunteers. Don Clay started the morning with the now looked forward to doughnuts as big as your head. We may have had a smaller than normal group of youngsters but we certainly made up for lost time with the wonderful social hour after the rally. You had to be there. Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot


2008 Young Eagles Program Wrap-up

Here’s wishing you a safe, healthy, happy and prosperous New Year of 2009 and beyond. 2008 proved to be a challenge as far as our Young Eagles rallies went. We were forced to cancel 8 out of 12 months. 6 due to weather and 2 due to airshow conflicts. We flew 120 Young Eagles in 4 rallies, giving us an average of 30 youngsters per rally compared to our previous average of 45. The total number of Young Eagles flown at Gary is 2,200 since September, 2002, when we began operations at the Gary-Chicago Airport. Our goal for 2009 is to continue operations and despite the economic down-turn and increased fuel prices, increase our rally average for this year. Why not plan to join us for our next regularly scheduled Young Eagles rally to be held at the Gary-Chicago International Airport (GYY) on Saturday, January 10, 2009. Pil ots should be aware of the Presidential TFR south of the former location of Meigs Field, along the lake shore, over Hyde Park. The pilot briefing will be at 8:30 A.M. with flights beginning at 9:00 A.M. We will operate out of the terminal building and refreshments will be provided for all pilots and volunteers. Be sure to call the hotline after 7:00 A.M. on the morning of the rally to check flight status. In Illinois call 312-409-5621; In Indiana call toll free: 888-235-9824. Press 3 to access the flight status mailbox. We’re expecting 2009 to be a much better year and we look forward to seeing you at the Gary Airport. Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

Young Eagles Rally Reports – 2007

November 1, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

 

January 13th, 2007 – Young Eagles Rally

“A Great Day For To Honor Our Veterans; A Terrible Day For Flying”

The weather Saturday, January 13, 2007 gave us a window of opportunity for our 16 new Young Eagles; 9 of which made the trip to the Gary Airport on the bus provided by the City of Chicago. The weather forecast was calling for bad weather but the actual morning conditions had the associated front well to the South of the Gary Airport resulting a 1700′ ceiling and 10 miles of visibility. Strange as it sounds, the weather turned out to be great for flying. Pilots Ken Lozin, Mark Odeen, Dan Skoda and Ken Rapier flew the small group in short order which left volunteers Vic Croswell, Bev Dunjill, Duane Hayden, Rufus Hunt, Julius Jackson, Melvin Knazze, Oscar Lopez, Bob Mullins, Keith Renfroe, Carl Robinson, Marvin Robinson, Matthew Robinson, Laverne Shelton, Rob Strickland, Karon Thompson, Barbara Werner, Milt Williams, Dan Williamson and Paul Wilson with plenty of time to socialize with the pilots while enjoying turkey subs and chips for lunch. We got off to a flying strart for 2007. In 2006 we had to cancel rallies 4 different times (Feb, May, June & Nov) during the year. Nevertheless, we flew 317 Young Eagles in total last year giving us a average of 40 youngsters flown each month. Our goal for 2007 is to bring that average back up to 45 per month. Than means beginning in February, we must fly another 525 Young Eagles this year. Why not plan now to join us in meeting this challenge.

Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

February 10th, 2007 – Young Eagles Rally

“Another Terrible Day For Flying”

Saturday, February 10, 2007 was one of our coldest days this winter. Because of the temperatures in the teens and the sub-zero wind chill factor, the Young Eagles rally was cancelled. There were some late morning problems with the hotline. If anyone is ever unable to reach our hotline to check flight status before venturing out to the airport, feel free to call me on my cell for an update on the status of the rally: 773-879-2698.

The next Young Eagles will be on Saturday, March 10, 2007. Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

March 10th, 2007 – Young Eagles Rally

“Jan & Feb Were Weather Delays, But In March We Were Up, Up, & Away!!”

Saturday, March 10, 2007 began with early morning fog that was forecast to burn off by 9 AM. At 9:01 the sky was clear and the winds were light, making perfect flying conditions. 31 Young Eagles arrived for flights, 2 of which came on the Chicago bus.

The youngsters, flown by pilots Butch Bejna, Pete Murphy and Ken Rapier, assisted by Vic Croswell, Bev Dunjill, Mike Hill, Clarence Holland, Julius Jackson, Hilton Joseph, Wil Johnson, Melvin Knazze, Marshall Knox, Bob Martin, Bob Mullins, Carl Robinson, Marvin Robinson, Matthew Robinson, Veleda Robinson, Rob Strickland, Welton Taylor, Milt Williams and Dan Williamson.

A very special thanks to the Robinsons who provided the doughnuts to go with the morning coffee; Vic Croswell and Karon Thompson for the microwave donation; and last but far from least, Mary Ward and Barb Werner, who not only takes care of registration but provided all of the pilots and volunteer with a served lunch of meatball sandwiches, cole slaw, chips and salsa. I hope you can join us for our next Young Eagles rally on April 14, 2007. Why not mark your calendar and plan for it now.

Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

April 14th, 2007 – Young Eagles Rally

“CAPs Youth Enrollees Become Young Eagles!”

This Young Eagles report is coming to you in a record two hours after the rally ended. The weather conditions were forecast to be lousy for Saturday, April 14, 2007 but the actual conditions on the day of the rally were fine for recreational flying: ceiling 12,000 feet overcast; visibility 6 to 10 miles and morning winds 10 and later gusting to 20 knots. 15 youngsters arrived on the Chicago bus. There was a special group of 50 youngsters from the CAPS Youth Initiative, coodinated by Duane Hayden, with 39 getting Young Eagles flights for a total of 54 Young Eagles flown by pilots Butch Bejna, Steve MacCabe, Ken Rapier, Marvin Robinson and Dan Skoda. Our cadre of volunteers included Vic Croswell, Grady Davis, Bev Dunjill, Mike Hill, Clarence Holland, Rufus Hunt, Julius Jackson, Moses Jones, Hilton Joseph, Wil Johnson, Melvin Knazze, Marshall Knox, Carol MacCabe, Bob Martin, Bob Mullins, Keith Renfroe, Carl Robinson, LaVerne Shelton, Rob Strickland, Karon Thompson, Welton Taylor, Mary Ward, Barbra Werner, Milt Williams, Dan Williamson and Paul Wilson. Everyone began the morning with coffee, tea, hot chocolate and cookies and closed the rally with a prime luncheon of barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs grilled to perfection by our resident chef, Rob Strickland. It turned out to be quite a successful rally. Our next Young Eagles rally will be held on Saturday, May 12, 2007; same time, same station. There are a few dates to make special note of for June, July and August.

June: Young Eagles rally on the 9th and Appreciation Cook-out on the 16th.

July: Young Eagles rally on the 7th…Gary Airshow on the 14th and 15th.

August: Young Eagles rally on the 4th…Bud Biliken parade on the 11th.

Please note that the July and August rallies are on the first Saturday.

Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

May 12th, 2007 – Young Eagles Rally

62 New Young Eagles Get Their Wings On This Sunny Day In May

Ahhh, the beauty of a sunny spring day. That was the treat instore for the 62 youngsters that took flight today, Saturday, May 12, 2007. The enjoyment of barbequed chicken, grilled to perfection by Rob Strickland. That was the treat instore for the Young Eagles volunteers. I can’t even tell you who they were because we didn’t have time to make a list of volunteers. Without the assistance of the volunteers this rally would have been impossible to complete. Thank you to all of the volunteers that helped our three pilots, Butch Bejna, Scott Taylor and Ken Rapier fly the 7 youngsters that came on the Chicago bus, the 17 Calumet Sea Cadets, the Boy Scout Troop from St. Timothy and countless other individual youngsters brought by their parents. Let it suffice to say that it was a busy day but once again, Mission Acomplished. The next Young Eagles rally is International Young Eagles Day, June 9, 2007. Mark you calendar and plan to join us for the rally and Young Eagles Volunteer Appreciation Day on June 16, 2007.

Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program


August 4th, 2007 – Young Eagles Rally

46 New Young Eagles Get Their Wings

Saturday, August 4, 2007 was the coolest day in a week long heat wave. The cooler temps and calm winds made for a pleasant flight experience for 46 happy Young Eagles flown by pilots Butch Bejna, Vic Croswell, Steve Hammond, Steve MacCabe, Mark Odeen and Ken Rapier, assisted by volunteers LtCol Beverly Armstrong, Marie Burnett-Davis, Bev Dunjill, Tom Hammond, Mike Hill, Julius Jackson, Wil Johnson, Hilton Joseph, Barbara Werner, newlyweds Charles and Karen Junior, Carol MacCabe, Bob Mullins, Carl Robinson, Marvin Robinson, Matthew Robinson, Veleda Robinson, LaVerne Shelton, Welton Taylor, Karon Thompson, Milt Williams and Paul Wilson. After all of the youngsters had flown, our volunteers were treated to spaghetti and garden salad made by Karon Thompson and hamburgers and hot dogs grilled by Rob Strickland. We closed out the day by celebrating a Civil Air Patrol Squadron being named after Col Julius Jackson and the safe retur n of our pilots to base, after yet another successful mission, just before the late afternoon showers began.

Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

September 8th, 2007 – Young Eagles Rally

38 New Young Eagles Get Their Wings

Saturday, September 8, 2007 was another fine day for flying. A perfect day to apply an ample dose of aviation to 38 deserving youngsters. Ten youngsters came with Chicago Police Officers in the CAPS program. One youngster arrived on the Chicago bus and all were treated to Young Eagles flights by pilots Butch Bejna, Vic Croswell, Steve MacCabe, Ken Rapier, Keith Renfroe and Marvin Robinson. The Young Eagles Volunteer Staff consisting of Don Clay, Wil Johnson, Moses Jones, Melvin Knazze, Carol MacCabe, Bob Martin, Denise McCully, Bob Mullins, Carl Robinson, Rob Strickland, Barb Werner, Milt Williams and Paul Wilson assisted in the newly Karon Thompson re-designed Young Eagles Operations Area. After the rally the pilots and volunteeres dined on hamburgers and hot dogs grilled to perfection by Rob Strickland, potatoe salad prepared by Barb Werner and chilli caserole made by Karon Thompson. The day closed out with a Young Eagles Volunteer Awards Presentation. Plan to join us for the next regular Young Eagles rally on Saturday, October 13, 2007.

Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program


October 13th, 2007 – Young Eagles Rally

55 New Young Eagles Get Their Wings

Such a fine day for flying was Saturday, October 13, 2007. Good visibility, calm winds and moderate temperatures allowed pilots Butch Bejna, Vic Croswell, Steve MacCabe, Ken Rapier, Keith Renfroe and Dan Skoda to fly 55 youngsters, 20 of which came on the Chicago bus, asssisted by volunteers Don Clay, Bev Dunjill, Mike Hill, Julius Jackson, Hilton Joseph, Melvin Knazze, Marshall Knox, Carol MacCabe, Bob Martin, Steve Mrowczynski, Bob Mullins, Carl Robinson, LaVerne Shelton, Rob Strickland, Welton Taylor, Mary Ward, Barb Werner and Milt Williams. After the rally a brief memorial was held in honor of Dan Williamson and then the pilots and volunteers were treated to what seemed like a chilli cook-off. Three crock pots of dynamite chilli were prepared by our very own chefs of excellance, Rob Strickland, Karon Thompson and Barb Werner. It was impossible to say whose was the best. I think we have discovered a new lunch trea t for our group. We rounded off the afternoon with volunteer awards, pilot of the year Keith Renfroe, volunteer of the year Carl Robinson and new volunteer of the year Don Clay who brought doughnuts to start the morning that were as big as your head. Once again a good time was had by all. We hope to see you at the next rally on Noverber 10th. Mark your calendars now.

Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

November 10th, 2007 – Young Eagles Rally

Celebration: Over 2000 Young Eagles flown at Gary!

Blessed with yet another fine weather day for Young Eagles flights, 38 youngsters were treated to flights by pilots Butch Bejna, Vic Croswell, Steve Hammond, Andy James, Mark Odeen, Ken Rapier, Keith Renfroe, Dan Skoda and Scott Taylor assisted by volunteers Don Clay, Clarence Holland, Rufus Hunt, Wil Johnson, Karen Junior, Melvin Knazze, Marshall Knox, Bob Martin, Bob Mullins, Carl Robinson, LaVerne Shelton, Rob Strickland, Welton Taylor, Karon Thompson, Mary Ward, Barb Werner, Milt Williams, and Paul Wilson.

The Chicago bus was a no-show and left Julius Jackson standing on the corner of Roosevelt and Wabash without a ride. John Watkins from the Times joined us again to do video interviews with the Tuskegee Airmen.

We now have the long awaited refrigerator for keeping beverages cold and everyone was delighted with the luncheon faire. The volunteers and their pilots dined on a meal prepared by our volunteer men and women. Delicious spaghetti by Barb Werner; Tasty hot wings by Karon Thompson; Pot pies that were “off-the-hook” made by Don Clay and broccoli salad by Karon Thompson’s brother-in -law that was “off-the-planet”. This report is not intended to be about food but Vic and Keith flew me up to Waukegan to pick up Tim’s airplane after the rally and the only thing we talked about on the way up there was how great all of the food was, including the doughnuts that Don Clay bought that seemed to be the size of your head. A very special thanks to all of our chefs. I even asked our top chef, Rob Strickland not to cook anything because so many other volunteers were cooking. A good time was had by all. You just had to be the re. December 8th perhaps?

Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

November 10th, 2007 – Young Eagles Rally

Young Eagles Team Pulls Rabbit Out of Hat

Weather forecast all week long called for the conditions to be terrible to miserable on Saturday, December 8, 2007 but the Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Volunteers seemed to pull a rabbit out of their collective hat and provide Young Eagles flights for 34 youngsters, 3 of whom arrived via the Chicago bus. The higher power that actually creates the weather that weather men and women attempt to prognosticate, decided to make the weather for the morning fair and flyable until about Noon or so. That enabled pilots Butch Bejna, Vic Croswell, Keith Renfroe, Marvin Robinson and Dan Skoda to complete their missions with the assistance of volunteers Don Clay, Bev Dunjill, Clarence Holland, Rufus Hunt, Julius Jackson, Moses Jones, Melvin Knazze, Marshall Knox, Carol MacCabe, Steve MacCabe, Bob Mullins, Carl Robinson, LaVerne Shelton, Rob Strickland and Paul Wilson. After the rally the pilots and volunteers received Team Awards from the Experimental Aircraft As sociation and were treated to brats and hot sausage grilled by chef Rob Strickland and chicken and giant doughnuts brought by Don Clay. Marvin corrected me on the fact that even though the doughnuts are as big as your head, they are actually construction workers’ doughnuts. Everyone ended the day by wishing each other good holiday cheer. If you were not there to get a personal holiday greeting, on behalf of all of the Young Eagles pilots and volunteers, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season. Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

Young Eagles Rally Reports – 2006

December 1, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

January 2006 – Young Eagles Rally

Young Eagles Go One for One

January 14, 2006 was the birthday of Bob Mullins, our Director of Operations. The Young Eagles that came for the rally on Bob’s birthday were afforded one-on-one treatment. There were 8 pilots with 8 aircraft to fly the 8 youngsters that came for flights. The Chicago bus arrived with 3 of the youngsters. Pilots Butch Bejna, Gregg Erickson, Steve MacCabe, Dan Rubino, Dan Skoda, Tim Sipples, Scott Taylor and Dick Tennerstedt stood at the ready to fly our Young Eagles. After the few minutes it took to squeeze off one wave of flights everyone regrouped to join volunteers Vic Croswell, Carmen Cursor, Jas Dilworth, Bev Dunjill, Mike Hill, Julius Jackson, Will Johnson, Moses Jones, Melvin Knazze, Carol MacCabe, Bob Mullins, Judi Rapier, Keith Renfroe, Carl Robinson, Marvin Robinson, Matthew Robinson, Veleda Robinson, Rob Strickland, Bettena Washington, Barbara Werner, Milt Williams, Dan Williamson and Paul Wilson for a luncheon of hot dogs and hamburgers barbequed to perfection by our very own chef, Rob Strickland along with an assortment of cookies baked by Judi Rapier. This adult social hour was probably the most fun yet. We were having so much fun that we forgot to wish Bob Mullins a Happy Birthday.

You are cordially invited to join us for our next regular Young Eagles rally as we celebrate Valentine’s Day and Black History month on Saturday, February 11, 2006 at the Gary-Chicago International Airport (GYY). We will operate out of the Tuskegee Airmen Headquarters located next to Gate 4. Aircraft parking will be West of Gate 4. Refreshments will be provided for all pilots and volunteers. The pilot briefing will be at 8:30 AM with flights beginning at 9:00 AM. Be sure to call the hotline after 7:00 AM on the morning of the flights to check flight status. In Illinois call: 312-409-5621; In Indiana call toll free: 888-235-9824 and press 3 to access the flight status mailbox. We look forward to seeing you at the Gary Airport. Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

February 2006 – Young Eagles Rally

Weather Cancellation Still Nets Nine New Young Eagles

The weather forecast for Saturday, February 11, 2006 called for low ceilings and lake effect snow showers beginning sometime that morning with a possible accumulation of an inch or more. Therefore it was my call to cancel the regular Young Eagles rally for the day. The primary reasoning was that any pilots that flew in from another airport would literally be trapped at Gary when the lake effect snow began.

Of course everyone doesn’t check the hotline before they bring a group of youngsters out so a dozen youngsters arrived. Nine on a group van and three with a parent. Due to the dedication of a few hard core volunteers that came to the airport just in case someone did not get the cancellation notice, Vic Croswell, Jasmine Dilworth, Clarence Holland, Rob Strickland, Karon Thompson, Bettena Washington, Glyen White, Ernie Williams, Morris Williams and Paul Wilson, yours truly was able to fly the group of 9. The 3 youngsters that came with their parents were given rain checks because after taxiing in with the last of the group of nine at 10:30 the lake effect snow began with snow pellets. Every pilot knows what that means. The cancellation rally ended. An hour later there were blizzard conditions.

At 11:30 the volunteer group headed to the Robbins, IL library for a showing of David Wendell’s documentary “Breaking Barriers; A Story About African American Aviation Pioneers”. Many pioneers were in attendance such as Gen. Theus, George Taylor, Welton Taylor, Homer Ward, Dan Williamson, along with historians Tyrone Haymore, Rufus Hunt, Appearance Committee Chairman Melvin Knazze and president of the Ladies Auxiliary, Yola Moore. This was a truly historic event.

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

March 2006 – Young Eagles Rally

Forty-Five New Young Eagles

The weather forecast for Saturday, March 11, 2006 was a bit unsettling, calling for a front headed our way with thunderstorms in the late afternoon. Thanks to the dedicated effort of our volunteers and the determined effort of our pilots we flew 45 Young Eagles, 15 of which came on the Chicago bus.

Women In Aviation volunteers Camille DeJorne and Cynthia Madsen were joined by her husband Ralph, Vic Croswell, Bev Dunjill, Mike Hill, Clarence Holland, Julius Jackson, Moses Jones, Carol MacCabe, Bob Martin, Carl Robinson, Marvin Robinson, Matthew Robinson, Veleda Robinson, LaVerne Shelton, Welton Taylor, Barbara Werner, Betenna Washington, Milt Williams, Dan Williamson and Paul Wilson in assisting pilots Butch Bejna, Steve MacCabe, Ken Rapier, Russell Shavitz and Dan Skoda.

Everyone enjoyed starting the morning with coffee and cookie bars baked by Judi Rapier and wrapping up the morning with sandwiches and chips for lunch. Thanks to the Women In Aviation for their help, a resounding “Hooahh” to our pilots that conquered some hefty winds to complete our mission and a special thanks to all of our regular volunteers. Without them there would be no mission. Why not plan to join this illustrious group of All Stars at our next regular Young Eagles rally at the Gary Airport on April 8, 2006?

Can’t make the rally? Join the Tuskegee Airmen for their annual scholarship dinner dance on April 22, 2006 at Nikos and meet the scholarship winners. Details available on the Chicago “DODO” Chapter web site: www.taichicago.org

Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

April 2006 – Young Eagles Rally

Fifty-One New Young Eagles

The April 8, 2006 Young Eagles rally was another success producing 51 new Young Eagles thanks to the efforts of pilots:

Mike Askew, Butch Bejna, Joe Gmitter (who came in all the way from Minnesota), Steve MacCabe, Mark Odeen, Dan Skoda and Dick Tennerstedt. Assisting volunteers were: Vic Croswell, Carmen Crusor, Bev Dunjill, Julius Jackson, Moses Jones, Rufus Hunt, Carol MacCabe, Bob Mullins, Carl Robinson, Marvin Robinson, LaVerne Shelton, Rob Strickland, Betenna Washington, Barbara Werner, Milt Williams, Morris Williams and Paul Wilson.

The crew began the day with coffee and an assortment of cookies and doughnuts provided by Vic Croswell and Morris Williams along with homemade German Chocolate brownies baked by Judi Rapier. The wrap-up was a subway turkey sandwich luncheon with chips.

Wishing you a Pleasant Passover and Happy Easter, please include our Chapter President, Bev Dunjill in your prayers for a speedy recovery. Bev will be recovering from knee surgery at the Brentwood rehab center.

Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

May 13, 2006 – Young Eagles Rally

Rally Cancelled – Plan to attend 6/24/06 Cook Out!!

Weather: Wind calm, rain, low ceilings and poor visibility.

Result: Young Eagles rally canceled and all registered Young Eagles rain checked for the next regular Young Eagles rally on June 10, 2006…International Young Eagles Day.

Please make a note, save the date and plan to join us for the rally and additionally join us for the Dan Williamson Day/Young Eagles Volunteer Appreciation cook-out on Saturday June 24. Both events to take place at the Tuskegee Airmen Headquarters located next to Gate 4 on the Gary- Chicago International Airport (GYY). Fly in, drive in, walk in, your choice but plan to join us.

Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

July 8th, 2006 – Young Eagles Rally

“Like The Space Shuttle, Just Not As High” – 61 Young Eagles Flown

Beautiful weather on July 8th enabled us to join the Space Shuttle aloft and fly 61 Young Eagles. 37 of them arrived on the Chicago bus. Two youngsters came all the way from Atlanta and 3 others from Texas. Rob Strickland repeated his Dan Williamson/ Volunteer Appreciation Day Cook-Out Bar-B-Q delight for the pilots who were: Butch Bejna, Rhonda Buss, Steve MacCabe, Pete Murphy, Ken Rapier, Marvin Robinson, Russell Shavitz, and Dan Skoda. Dick Tennerstedt’s broken arm is healing and he will join us on August 5th.

Don’t forget…the Tuskegee Airmen will be in the Bud Biliken Parade on the second Saturday of August so the Young Eagles rally will be on the first Saturday of August. The airport cafe was open to serve anyone who came. Judi Rapier made cookie bars and bananna muffins (Mike Hill’s receipe) to start the morning for the volunteers: Bev Dunjill (who is recovering from knee surgery!?!), Alcus Cromartie, Vic Croswell, Oscar Griffith, Duane Hayden, Mike Hill, Clarence Holland, Rufus Hunt, Jilius Jackson, Moses Jones, Hilton Joseph, Carol MacCabe, Bob Martin, Bob Mullins, Keith Renfroe, LaVerne Shelton, Rob Strickland, Karon Thompson, Barbara Werner, Ernie Williams, Dan Williamson, and Paul Wilson.

A good time was had by all. We hope you can join us on August 5th. Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program


August 5th, 2006 – Young Eagles Rally

17 Young Eagles Pampered by 6 Pilots & 16 Volunteers

The weather August 5th was picture perfect for flying. The chief pilot that sends you these reports also sends the same reports to all parties of authority involved in the Young Eagles Program at the Gary Airport but obviously everyone doesn’t read these e-mails so… the bus from Chicago that was to bring 30 youngsters to Gary never materialized. This seems to be the routine every August when we change the rally from the 2nd Saturday to the 1st Saturday because the second Saturday in August is Bud Biliken Day. Everyone in Chicago knows that if you compete with Bud Biliken day, you loose. At any rate the 14 youngsters that came on a church bus and the 3 walk ups brought by their parents were afforded the royal treatment by the large staff of pilots: Butch Bejna, Ken Lozins, Ken Rapier, Marvin Robinson, Dan Skoda, Dick Tennerstedt and volunteers: Mike Askew, Vic Croswell, Bev Dunjill, Clarence Holland, Moses Jones, Hilton Joseph, Melvin Knazze, Bob Mullins, Judi Rapier, Carl Robinson, Matthew Robinson, Veleta Robinson, Rob Strickland, Karon Thompson, Barbra Werner and Paul Wilson. The staff was treated to homemade brownies baked by Judi Rapier and the final season barbeque cooked by chef Rob Strickland. Once again a good time was had by all.

Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program


September 9th, 2006 – Young Eagles Rally

Young Eagles Outfox Weatherman

The forecast for Saturday, September 9th called for rain all day. Actual weather for the Young Eagles rally: Not a drop. Since the weather was good for recreational flying, 51 Young Eagles were initiated by four dedicated pilots: Butch Bejna, Ken Lozin, Ken Rapier and Dan Skoda. However the day was not without challenges . Our computer system locked up and the Chicago bus, with 25 youngsters on board was stuck in traffic and didn’t arrive until Noon. Once again our loyal volunteers: Grady Davis, Bev Dunjill, Mike Hill, Clarence Holland, Julius Jackson, Willard Johnson, Moses Jones, Melvin Knazze, Bob Mullins, Carl Robinson, LaVerne Shelton, Rob Strickland, Barbara Werner, Milt Williams, Dan Williamson and Paul Wilson held it all together after having a breakfast of coffee, tea or hot chocolate and Judi Rapier’s homemade banana muffins. After completing all of the flights at 3 PM, the committed group of pilots and volunteers dined on the Subway turkey sandwiches that they missed so much while Rob Strickland barbequed all summer. We were visited by Frogs Club President and commercial pilot ship and air, Bob Johnson, who was there to encourage youngsters to pursue their dreams. A good time was had by all but Glynn White was not there to receive our fond farewell. We will miss her at the future Young Eagles rallies. We look forward to seeing you at the next one on October 14th.

Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

October 14th, 2006 – Young Eagles Rally

“A Great Day For Flying”

The weather on Saturday, October 14th was great for flying. Sunny skies with a cool breeze for pilots Mike Askew, Butch Bejna, Joe Gmitter, Ken Lozins, Pete Murphy, Ken Rapier and Dick Tennerstedt to fly a total of 61 Young Eagles thanks to the committed assistance of Vic Croswell, Bev Dunjill, Mike Hill, Moses Jones, Hilton Joseph, Carol MacCabe, Steve MacCabe, Bob Mullins, Carl Robinson, LaVerne Shelton, Rob Strickland, Welton Taylor, Karon Thompson, Barbara Werner, Milt Williams, Dan Williamson and Paul Wilson. Once again we had visitors from the Frogs Club, Mr. and Mrs. Wayman Davis, who came to observe our operation. Everyone enjoyed coffee, tea, hot chocolate and homemade cookies baked by Judi Rapier to start the morning. We wrapped up the day with a delectable lunch of Subway turkey sandwiches and chips.

We hope you will plan to join us for our next scheduled Young Eagles rally on Veterans’ Day. We will be honoring the Tuskegee Airmen and we will also have our annual Volunteer Appreciation Awards presentation. Mark you calendar now for Saturday, November 11th. We hope you will join us at the Gary-Chicago Airport. Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

November 11th, 2006 – Young Eagles Rally

“A Great Day For To Honor Our Veterans; A Terrible Day For Flying”

Unfortunately this is going to be a very short report. Veterans’ Day, Saturday, November 11, 2006, was quite the blustery day. Rain, high winds, low ceilings and visibility along with some gusting wind made for a poor weather day causing the November Young Eagles rally to be canceled. We’ll try it again on December 9th. Mark your calendars because if the weather permits we will be flying in December. Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

December 9th, 2006 – Young Eagles Rally

“A Great Day For To Honor Our Veterans; A Terrible Day For Flying”

Saturday, December 9, 2006 was a chilly day. Only 16 stout of heart youngsters came out for flights and only 2 of them came on the Chicago bus. Eight pilots arrived but only the first five to show up got to fly any Young Eagles. Vic Croswell, Ken Rapier and Scott Taylor didn’t get to fly, but Butch Bejna, Joe Gmitter from Minnesota, Ken Lozin, Dan Skoda and Dick Tennerstedt handled the few flights required. The real fun began after the short rally was over; Our Volunteer Appreciation/Xmas Party.

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

Young Eagles Rally Reports – 2005

December 1, 2005 by · Leave a Comment 

 

January 2005 – Young Eagles Rally

Program Administration for Adult Volunteers Day

January 8, 2005 proved to be a very unusual day. It was cold and there was a low overcast with visibility at six miles. Flyable weather and Flight Service predicted that the conditions would improve as the day went on. So much for the prognosticators. Not to be outdone by the hangar doors at Gary being frozen shut by ice and no youngsters to fly, we turned the day into a very productive seminar on how to run a Young Eagles rally and got everyone checked out on the EAA Young Eagles print program installed by Steve and Tom Hammond on the computer, dedicated to our Young Eagles Program, donated by Rich Steinbrecher. From now on all of our Young Eagles Certificates that were once all handwritten by Moses Jones and Paul Wilson, will be printed out on the computer by the same named volunteers. The pilot database will be on the computer as well and will be updated monthly by Marvin Robinson with the data provided by our Regional Young Eagles Representative, Carol Thompson. The training session began with coffee and homemade chocolate cookies baked by Carol Thompson. We finished the day with our usual social hour and lunch. So even when we don’t fly we have a Young Eagles rally for the adults.

The next Young Eagles rally will be during Black History Month on Saturday, February 12th. Watch for the reminder for this one because I hear that the ladies are planning a Valentine’s Day treat. Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot,

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

March 12, 2005 – Young Eagles Rally

A Terrible Forcast Turns Into A Beautiful Flying Day

March 12, 2005 was forecast to be a terrible day. Snow mixed with rain, low clouds, poor visibility and high winds. What were we blessed with? Sunshine, good visibility, light winds, a great group of volunteers, five willing pilots and 49 youngsters, nine of who came with Julius Jackson via the Chicago bus. The joyful volunteers assisted pilots Butch Bejna, Vic Croswell, Ken Rapier, Keith Renfroe and Dick Tennerstedt with the flights and after all of the youngster flew everyone feasted on our usual lunch of turkey subs and chips. Gourmet Gevalia Kafe was perked and provided by Karon Thompson to start the morning. We are clearly moving up in the world. The day closed with our circle of friendship giving thanks for the blessing bestowed upon our program. It was a beautiful day flying and fellowship. Once again you just had to be there.

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

April 2005 – Young Eagles Rally

A Beautiful Day Enjoyed by 64 New Young Eagles

Do you like beautiful weather? Do you like sweet treats? Do like fresh coffee? Do you like hot chocolate? Do you like hot tea. Do you like ice cold bottled water. Do you like subway turkey subs. Do you like fresh potato chips? Do you like happy, enthusiastic, smiling youngsters? Well, if your answer is yes to any of these questions, you should have been with the 21 energetic volunteers and the 64 youngsters that were treated to flights at Gary by pilots Butch Bejna, Victor Croswell, Ken Rapier, Keith Renfroe, Marvin Robinson, Russell Shavitz, Scott Taylor, Dick Tennerstedt and Booker Thomason. Russell’s dad flew out with him to join the festivities. Sweet treats were provided by Victor Croswell, Mike Hill, Judi Rapier and Karon Thompson and a good time was had by all. We’re still smiling and can’t wait for the Chicago DODO Chapter’s annual educational assistance fund raiser this Saturday: The Spring Fling. If you missed the Young Eagles rally you won’t want to miss the dinner-dance!

Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

May 2005 – Young Eagles Rally

A Birthday Flight for our Educational Assistance Program Chair

The morning of Saturday, May 14, 2005 began with rain that ended at sunrise. By the time our Young Eagles rally began the sun had started to peek out, the winds were a gentle breeze and the temperature was 60 degrees. Perfect for flying all of the 29 youngsters that came out for Young Eagle flights. The Chicago bus was diverted due to a mix up in the group plans for St. Columbainus. We were a bit concerned about Julius Jackson, our bus escort, until we found out that he was busy judging a bus rodeo.

Volunteers Mike Askew, Alcus Cromartie, Carmen Crusor, Bev Dunjill, Mike Hill, Moses Jones, Hilton Joseph, Melvin Knazze, Bob Martin, Bob Mullins, Judi Rapier, Ken Rapier, Debra Rice, Carl Robinson, Marvin Robinson, LaVerne Shelton, Karon Thompson, Barbara Werner, Milt Williams, Dan Williamson and Paul Wilson assisted pilots Vic Croswell, Ken Lozins, Keith Renfroe, Tim Sipples and Dick Tennerstedt. Vic Croswell gave Debra Rice a birthday flight and Tim Sipples treated Carmen Crusor to a flight while Mike Hill treated everyone to homemade oatmeal cookies with gourmet coffee treated by Karon Thompson and Marvin Robinson.

Everyone had our traditional subway turkey sub and chips lunch and then sang happy birthday to Judi Rapier and Debra Rice and enjoyed their birthday cake. Just as we began our volunteers’ meeting we were treated to a call from one of our pilots who was noticeably absent with our Young Eagles regional representative. Yep, that’s right, Mr. and Mrs. MacCabe (Steve and Carol) took time out from their busy honeymoon in Hawaii to call us and say “Aloha”. Everyone wished them well via speaker phone. They will be returning in June with a ‘new’ Gruman Tiger. The original Tuskegee Airmen, Bev Dunjill, Hilton Joseph, Bob Martin, Milt Williams and Dan Williamson complimented all of the Heritage and New Generation members on the wonderful job they have been doing with the Young Eagles Program and continuing the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. We let them know that with respect to the Tuskegee Airmen preserving their legacy is an honor and a privilege.

Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

June 2005 – Young Eagles Rally

International Young Eagles Day

Saturday, June 11, 2005 was International Young Eagles Day. Young Eagles rallies were conducted all over the world including our regular rally held at the Gary-Chicago International Airport. We were once again blessed with beautiful weather for pilots Butch Bejna, Vic Croswell, Steve Hammond, Steve MacCabe, Pete Murphy, Keith Renfroe, Russell Shavitz, Dan Skoda, Richard Steinbrecher, Scott Taylor and Dick Tennerstedt to fly 49 Young Eagles.

To date we have flown 249 Young Eagles this year with a total of 946 Young Eagle flights at Gary Airport since we began Young Eagles there in September of 2003 giving us a monthly average of 43 Young Eagles.

6 youngsters came on the Chicago bus, 18 on the Chicago Police Dept. Explorer vans and the other youngsters arrived on vans from St. Columbanus and Second Baptist Church of Maywood with F-16 fighter pilot Lt. Keny Ruffin.

Our pilots were assisted by volunteers Carmen Crusor, Bev Dunjill, Will Johnson, Moses Jones Mike Hill, Hilton Joseph, Carol MacCabe, Bob Mullins, Judi Rapier, Ken Rapier, Carl Robinson,

La Vern Shelton, Rob Strickland, Barbara Werner, Milt Williams, Paul Wilson and Glyen White.

Everyone enjoyed coffee and homemade pound cake made by Judi Rapier for starters and turkey subs and chips for lunch which was followed by birthday cake. After we sang “happy birthday” to Young Eagles Regional Rep. Carol MacCabe, desert guru Mike Hill presented “honeymooners”, Mr. and Mrs. MacCabe, with an electric ice cream maker along with Mike’s special recipes.

The rally concluded with a question and answer session with 3 of our All Stars: Mike Askew, Carl Robinson and Lt. Keny Ruffin; call sign ‘Bishop’. Each of our All Stars are young men who have returned to give back to other young eagles. F-16 viper fighter pilot ‘Bishop’ answered the many questions from the curious about the aircraft, the life and what it’s like to fly an F-16 and break the sound barrier. ‘Bishop’ happily engaged in conversation about all aspects of the F-16 that are not classified. To say that a good time was had by all is truly an understatement. You had to be there.

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

July 2005 – Young Eagles Rally

Success, Success and more Success

July 9, 2005 brought success with the weather. It was a picture perfect day for flying. Further success with 100, yes 100 boys and girls arriving for flights. 40 came on the bus from Chicago with Julius Jackson. For the first time ever we did not fly all of the youngsters that came out. 2 had leave early and one changed his mind so we ended the rally still having flown a new record for Gary.

97 Young Eagles flown. Success continued in the form of home- made oatmeal-raisin cookies baked by the winner of the 2005 EAA Young Eagles Regional Representative of the year award, our very own Carol MacCabe. Success didn’t stop there. We were honored by CBS Channel 2 News coverage. A great story by Jim Williams about the Tuskegee Airmen, AirVenture and the Young Eagles appeared on the evening news. The greatest success of the day? Not quite.

Gary-Chicago International Airport Director Chris Curry presented Chapter President Bev Dunjill and V.P. Major Duane Hayden with the keys to the new Chicago “DODO” Chapter Headquarters. The administration trailers are now the official home of the Chicago Tuskegee Airmen and the Young Eagles Program. Other community programs will originate from ‘Headquarters’ in the near future. In conclusion: How did we manage to fly 97 Young Eagles? With the help of our usual cadre of volunteers who assisted the determined few pilots: Steve Applebaum, Butch Bejna, Rhonda Buss, Steve MacCabe, Ken Rapier, Keith Renfroe, Marvin Robinson, Russell Shavitz and Dan Skoda. A hearty thanks to everyone who helped make this our most successful Young Eagles Rally yet.

Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program


August 2005 – Young Eagles Rally

Feast or Famine

August 6, 2005 brought picture perfect weather and 16 pilots available to fly the mere 40 youngsters that came out to fly compared to the 6 pilots that were on hand to fly the 100 youngsters that came last month. Mox nix. a good time was still had by all, christening the new “DODO” Chapter headquarters. 38 pilots and volunteers to take care of 40 youngsters equals quality attention to those who did show up for flights even though the Chicago bus got “lost” and didn’t show. Let’s hope the bus doesn’t arrive this Saturday with 40 kids looking for Young Eagles flights.

The pilots that each flew 1 to 6 Young Eagles were: Steve Applebuam, Butch Bejna, Rhonda Buss, Greg Erikson, Steve Hammond, Ken Lozins, Steve MacCabe, Russell Shavitz, Dan Skoda and Dick Tennerstedt. Pilots on standby that did not fly were: Mike Askew, Vic Croswell, Pete Murphy, Ken Rapier, Keith Renfroe, and Marvin Robinson. Valuable assistance was provided by our special guest: Jeron Baker, Oscar Griffin and Welton Taylor along with volunteers Alcus Cromartie, Bev Dunjill, Tom Hammond, Cecilia Holland, Julius Jackson, Hilton Joseph, Moses Jones, Melvin Knazze, Marshall Knox, Bob Martin, Judi Rapier, Carl Robinson, India Robinson, Matthew Robinson, Veleda Robinson LaVerne Shelton, Rob Strickland and Miss Jasmine, all under the capable leadership of our Young Eagles Regional Rep. of the Year, Carol MacCabe.

We began the day with homemade strawberry bread baked by Judi Rapier and gourmet coffee brewed by Vic Croswell. After the traditional luncheon we were treated to some very interesting stories from our guest and feasted on homemade cheesecake made by Rob Strickland to honor Dan Williamson Day. This was another rally that seemed like the adult volunteers had more fun that the youngsters that came to fly. Imagine that.

Until September 10th…Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

September 2005 – Young Eagles Rally

DODO Chapter Celebrates 2nd Anniversary at Chgo/Gary Airport

Tuskegee Airmen Celebrate Second Anniversary of Young Eagles Flight Rallies at Gary Airport

Saturday, September 10, 2005 brought unseasonably warm weather to the Gary-Chicago International Airport for the second anniversary of the Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program. 82 youngster were flown, 29 of which arrived on the Chicago bus along with their MADD Dads chaperones. The only glitch in an otherwise smooth rally was the total lack of professionalism on the part of the bus driver, from our contracted transportation company.

After dropping off the Chicago group, the bus driver departed the parking lot as if there was a J.A.T.O. bottle attached to his bus; not even taking time to ask when he should return, much less if his services would be needed at the airport as directed in writing by Terri from the Department of Aviation. Gary Tower personnel offered tower tours for our youngsters but the bus to transport them to the tower was nowhere to be found. It took him 45 minutes to get back to the airport from wherever it was that he took off to. This problem has been corrected. Mr. January will not be driving a run for us again.

Our grand total of youngster flown at Gary is now 1,165 making our monthly average 46.6 Young Eagles. The pilots that helped with the effort this month were: Mike Askew, Butch Bejna, Ken Lozins, Steve MacCabe, Mark Odeen, Dan Skoda, Tim Sipples, Dick Tennerstedt and Scott Taylor. Assisting were dedicated volunteer: Bev Dunjill, Oscar Griffin, Mike Hill, Julius Jackson, Will Johnson, Moses Jones, Hilton Joseph, Melvin Kanazze, Marshall Knox, Carol MacCabe, Bob Martin, Bob Mullins, Judi Rapier, Ken Rapier, Carl Robinson, India Robinson, Marvin Robinson, Matthew Robinson, LaVern Shelton, Rob Strickland, Barbara Werner, Ernie Williams, Dan Williamson and Paul Wilson. A special thanks to all of our pilots and volunteers that make this program a success.

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

November 2005 – Young Eagles Rally

Steve Hammond Upsets Dan Skoda’s Record

November 12, 2005 was sunny, windy and unseasonably warm and 66 Young Eagles were flown in just 4 airplanes. How did we manage to do that on a windy day? With 2 helpful ingredients. The winds were 15 knots and gusting straight down the runway and Steve Hammond personally flew 27 youngsters, upsetting Dan Skoda’s July record of 24 youngsters in one rally.

There were several other pilots that helped to round out the number to 66. Vic Croswell, Steve MacCabe, Keith Renfroe, Marvin Robinson, Scott Taylor and Dick Tennerstedt (who holds the current record for Young Eagles flown at Gary this year at 80). You might be interested to know that these pilots are not really concerned with these numbers. They fly the youngsters because they love doing it. I keep tab on the numbers (with the help of Steve and Carol MacCabe and Marvin Robinson) and share them with you from time to time.

Speaking of which we have flown 578 kids this year and 1,275 since we began flying at Gary in September of 2003 giving us a monthly average of 47.2. That average continues to grow thanks to the assistance of volunteers like Carmen Crusor, Bev Dunjill, Tom Hammond, Julius Jackson, Wil Johnson, Moses Jones, Hilton Joseph, Marshall Knox, Carol MacCabe, Bob Mullins, Judi Rapier, Matthew Robinson, Veleda Robinson, LaVerne Shelton, Rob Strickland, Barbra Werner, Glyen White, Milt Williams, Dan Williamson, Paul Wilson and many other volunteers that were not able to join us for our day after Veterans’ Day, Volunteer Appreciation Day’. We regret that you couldn’t join us. You missed some delicious homemade oatmeal and chocolate cookies baked by Carol MacCabe and Judi Rapier. Maybe next time.

Happy Flyin’ and Happy Thanksgiving!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot


Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

December 2005 – Young Eagles Rally

First Weather Cancellation in 27 Months

The weather forecast for Saturday, December 10, 2005 called for snow in the afternoon along with low cloud ceilings and increasing winds. With temperatures in the twenties the wind would bring the chill factor close to zero. Based upon the weather forecast and the fact that light aircraft are often difficult to start in the cold the call was made to cancel our regular Young Eagles rally for the first time since we began operations at the Gary-Chicago International Airport in September of 2003. This cancellation caused the volunteer group to regretfully miss out on a wonderful surprise birthday celebration for Victor Croswell planned by Karon Thompson and a bakery treat by Carol MacCabe.

Our next Young Eagles rally is scheduled for January 14, 2006. Have a safe and joyous Holiday Season and may you have showers of blessings in the New Year. Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

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