Letter from the President

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      Welcome and thank you for visiting the DETROIT CHAPTER of Tuskegee Airmen Inc. web page.  The Detroit Chapter is the founding chapter of The Tuskegee Airmen organization and the first chapter in the nation to incorporate.  In 1972 in the basement of Lt. Col Alexander Jefferson’s home, here in Detroit, Michigan, along with other colleagues of the WWII experience in Tuskegee Alabama, the idea was developed to create a nationwide organization comprised of other individuals who shared that experience.  Meetings with other Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen (DOTA) took place in Washington DC where it was determined to name the organization “THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN”.  The idea took root and subsequently, several groups were formed in different states.  The Detroit Chapter filed for incorporation in February of 1973 and received certification  March 6, 1973, becoming the first incorporated non-profit 501 (c) (3) Tuskegee Airmen chapter in the nation. 

     2023 will mark the 50th year of The Tuskegee Airmen Incorporated, thanks to its founders, Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen (DOTA) and Detroit Chapter members, Lt. Col Alexander Jefferson, Ernest Brown Jr. and Otis Bryant Jr.  Currently there are approximately 62 chapters around the country all working toward the common goal of introducing and educating our youth into the world of aviation.  August 6, 1986 members of the Detroit Chapter received incorporation, establishing the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum, in Detroit.  In 2012, recognizing that more youth could be reached by forming an additional chapter in a suburban area of Detroit, a chapter in West Bloomfield, Michigan, was formed and named after two of Detroit Chapter DOTA, Capt. Richard D. Macon and Lt. Col Donald Thomas Jr., thus the Macon-Thomas Chapter was formed.  In 2022, in order to recognize its historical significance, the Detroit chapter membership voted to change its name to “Founding Chapter”.

     The Detroit Chapter is dedicated to the continuance of the legacy of all of the men and women who took part in the WWII experience that lead to an extraordinary record during combat.  At a time when it was assumed that African Americans did not have the mental capacity to learn and follow complicated instructions, let alone fly aircraft, these remarkable men and women proved to the world that the assumption was undoubtedly incorrect.  Not only did they complete their mission, they exceeded all expectation setting records during a time of extreme world pressure. One such record and award, the first “Top Gun” Award for aerial competition (conventional fighter class) was won by Capt. Alva Temple, 1st Lt. Halbert Alexander, 1st Lt. James Harvey III and Detroit Chapter member 1st Lt. Harry T. Stewart Jr..  The trophy stands on display in the Museum of the United States Air Force located at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.  A replica of that trophy is on display in the Tuskegee Airmen National Museum exhibit currently located in the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.

     The Detroit Chapter seeks highly motivated individuals from all walks of life to share ideas and contribute to the preservation and continuance of the legacy of the “Red Tail Angels”, as affectionately referred to by the bomber crews they escorted.  Please consider becoming a member or kindly give a tax-deductible donation to help make the dreams of aspiring young aviators come true. 

Thank you for your support,

Ken Thomas, President

Detroit Chapter

of Tuskegee Airmen Inc.