Tuskegee airmen took flight over Trail of Honor - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Tuskegee airmen took flight over Trail of Honor

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JACKSON, MS (WLBT) – The Trail of Honor this weekend in Jackson welcomed the return of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Two of the famed World War II pilots took the controls during a special flight, made possible by the Commemorative Air Force.

Three Tuskegee Airmen visited Jackson for a special flight during this weekend's the Trail of Honor.

Retired Lt. Colonels Herbert E. Carter, Leo R. Gray and Colonel Charles E. McGee met at Hawkins Field Sunday morning for special flight.

Gray and McGee get into the cockpit of the same aircraft in which they trained, flew and fought during World War II.

"To get our hands on the stick again it's always a thrill and it's something that once you've done it, if you liked it then you're hooked for life," said Tuskegee Airman and Retired Air Force Colonel Charles E. McGee.

For Gray it was important to be here to with his buddies.

"It was always great to be with them. I think that probably was one of the greatest group of young men this country every produced," said Tuskegee Airman and Retired Air Force Lt. Colonel Leo R. Gray.

Carter, a native of Amory, watched from the ground as his friends took flight.

He was a student at Tuskegee Institute studying to be a veterinarian and already had a private pilot's license when he was accepted into the Army Air Corps in 1942.

"The first aircraft I flew was a VT13 in the Air Corps, the AT6 and so mine (training) was quick and hard, but I got through it," said Tuskegee Airman and Retired Air Force Lt. Colonel Herbert E. Carter.

Gray and McGee soared above the Trail of Honor piloting an AT6 and a P-51 Mustang.

No doubt reflecting on the accomplishments of the only African American airmen trained to fly in World War II.

A legacy each hopes younger generations will honor.

"I'm a veteran of World War II when I had 136 missions, Korea where I flew 100 missions and Vietnam where I flew 173 missions. So that turned out to be an Air Force record of fighter combat," said McGee.

"Unfortunately our young folk in our country with the lack of awareness of history can't appreciate what has taken place to enable them to be where they are today," added Gray.

Following the flight the airmen went to the Trail of Honor to share their historical experiences with those attending the event.

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