Last weekend, four of the original Tuskegee Airmen returned for the first time to the field in Alabama where they trained more than 60 years ago. The four were welcomed back to the historic site by officials from the National Park Service and Tuskegee University. The airmen, Homer Hogues, Robert McDaniel, Claude Platte, and Calvin Spann, and their families were granted a private tour of the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site. They also were given an advance look at Hangar 2, a new addition to the museum that will be revealed next year. Tuskegee University President Gilbert Rochon said he plans to expand the school's aviation programs.
"The Tuskegee Airmen are an intrinsic part of the history of Tuskegee University," Rochon said. "Their courage and determination in the face of threats from abroad and discrimination at home serve as an inspiration to our contemporary students and serve as an impetus for the university to establish the requisite infrastructure to support the next generation of Tuskegee Airmen." Rochon said the institution is the only historically black university with an accredited aerospace engineering program. In the future, students will have the opportunity to train as pilots, aircraft mechanics, air traffic controllers, aerospace engineers and geoscientists. "We pledge that we will invigorate the next generation of Tuskegee Airmen," Rochon said. The nonprofit group Wish of a Lifetime and the Dallas chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc. sponsored the visit.