Saturday, November 19, 2011

The WWII Pioneering Pilot Who Rose Above Segregation

Lieutenant Colonel John I. Mulzac joined the United States military in 1942, at the age of 19. He trained with the Tuskegee Airmen, in Tuskegee, Alabama - the first US Army programme for African-American pilots at a time when the United States south was still legally segregated. The Tuskegee Airmen went on to gain acclaim not only as an historic first for African Americans, but also as a group of remarkably skilled pilots during the Second World War.

Even as the Tuskegee Airmen were breaking colour barriers in the sky, segregation persisted on the ground. Lt. Col. Mulzac describes the discrimination he encountered both during the war and afterwards when he failed to get a job as a commercial pilot.

Sunday, November 6, 2011



PITTSBURGH, PA - November 1, 2011 - The Tuskegee Airmen Memorial of Greater Pittsburgh, Inc. and The Social Voice Project® have created a new oral history recording project aimed at capturing, preserving, sharing, and celebrating the stories of Pittsburgh’s own Tuskegee Airmen of World War II.

It is the mission of the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial organization to honor local citizens who served with the legendary Tuskegee Airmen.Until recently, it was unknown that the largest contingent of World War II enlistees in the Tuskegee Airmen program—more than 80 men and one woman—came from the Greater Pittsburgh region.

Overcoming racial discrimination of the worst kind, these Airmen ultimately served with distinction as flight instructors, pilots, bombardiers, navigators, and technically skilled flight line support personnel. After the war, many went on to have distinguished military and civilian careers.However, for decades their story went largely unheard and unrecognized.Sixty-one years after the war in 2007, Congress formally recognized The Red Tails’ service with the Congressional Gold Medal—our nation’s highest civilian award.Standing to salute the elderly Airmen in attendance, the President and Commander-in-Chief emotionally said that he hoped his gesture would atone for “all the unreturned salutes and unforgivable indignities” that they had to endure.

Thanks to research by award-winning journalism legend Regis D. Bobonis Sr., a small group of local Tuskegee Airmen has been located. Mr. Bobonis serves as a trustee for the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial of Greater Pittsburgh, which is currently erecting a permanent memorial to the Airmen in Sewickley, PA. Among other Pittsburgh notables, Steelers great and NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris serves as Honorary Chair of the Memorial project.
Proposed Tuskegee Airmen Memorial in Sewickley, PA
The Tuskegee Airmen of Greater Pittsburgh Oral History Recording Project is a value added effort in support of the Memorial and future educational projects by The Tuskegee Airmen Memorial of Greater Pittsburgh, Inc. The primary objective of this new oral history recording project is to gather and preserve the Airmen’s stories. “As the official audiographer, we are extremely honored to be a part of this historic effort,” said Kevin Farkas, founder and director of The Social Voice Project. “Our mission is tributary, as well as educational. We owe a debt of gratitude and respect to these Airmen. It’s our privilege to record and preserve their voices as part of our local and national heritage. Their remarkable stories give us insight into their courage, patriotism, and sacrifices.All Americans, especially our younger generations, should know the Tuskegee Airmen’s story.”The recording project is also part of The Social Voice Project’s nonprofit Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Initiative, which invites all local veterans to share and preserve their life stories.

“The Social Voice Project is providing us with the technical expertise and highest quality resources to record and fully document these invaluable oral histories,” said Mr. Bobonis.“We want to archive these stories for historical and research purposes, but we also want to capture them with the highest quality recording standards—something most oral history projects overlook. This will enrich the listening experience, inspire the imagination, and warm the heart.”
For more information about The Tuskegee Airmen of Greater Pittsburgh Oral History Recording Project, contact Regis D. Bobonis, Sr. or Kevin Farkas. Educators and classroom teachers are encouraged to learn more about us.Please repost this news release.

Regis D. Bobonis, Sr.
The Tuskegee Airmen Memorial

Kevin Farkas
The Social Voice Project®