Original Tuskegee Airman Visits Post 43

Original Tuskegee Airman, Lt. Col. Robert Friend, 96, speaks at Post 43 in celebration of Black History Month.

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -  In celebration of Black History Month, Post 43 members were treated with a visit from honored guest, Lt. Col. Robert Friend, an original WWII Tuskegee Airman, during our social night here Feb. 6.

Friend, 96, started his military career at the age of 20. He is the oldest living member of the original "Red Tail" pilots.

Already certified as a private pilot, Friend found out about a civilian pilot program offered by the government. The program’s goal: teach African Americans and other “people of color” to fly combat planes.

He jumped at the chance and became one of 1,000 selected to start flight training in the Army’s PT-17 Stearman biplane at Moton Field, Al. near the Tuskegee Institute.  From this initial group, only 360 were chosen to become the now-famed Red Tail Tuskegee Airmen. Friend is among the last of the 16 Red Tail pilots still alive. 

Post 43 is humbled and honored to host such an inspiring American!