Tuskegee Airmen of the Archer-Ragsdale Chapter
"Reaching Our Youth - Ensuring Our Future"
"These young men are our future"

 Members of the Archer-Ragsdale Chapter

Original Tuskegee Airmen of the Arizona
Archer-Ragsdale Chapter
Rudolph Silas, Ralph Steward, Robert Ashby & Howard Williams

Luke Air Force Base Color Guard Presenting the Colors

 Luke Air Force Base Color Guard


March 27, 2014

The Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter, Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. (TAI) celebrated Arizona’s Inaugural TuskegeeAirmen Commemoration Day at the Luke Air Force Base Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Air Park. The Ceremony was held on Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 11:00 AM.

Luke AFB was chosen as the site for the “inaugural” celebration for two reasons. First, Luke AFB dedicated a Memorial Park to the Tuskegee Airmen in 2006 which features a Red Tail F-16. Secondly, the base formerly hosted two Tuskegee Airmen heritage Air Force Reserve F-16 Fighter Squadrons: the 301st and the 302nd. During WW II these two fighter units were part of the 332nd Fighter Group known as the Red Tails (Tuskegee Airmen) flying the P-51 Mustang. The 301st and 302nd now fly the world’s premier air superiority fighter, the F-22 Raptor, at Air Force Reserve Units at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico and at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska respectively.

The Commemoration Day is the result of a proposal written by Archer Ragsdale Arizona Chapter and spearheaded by Dave Hampton, Legislative Liaison for the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services.  State Senator AL Melvin successfully sponsored the bill, and Governor Janice Brewer signed it into law on April 4, 2013.  This groundbreaking signage established the Fourth Thursday in March as The Tuskegee Airmen Commemoration Day in the State of Arizona. Thus, Arizona the first State in the nation to pass legislation that honors the history making Tuskegee Airmen.

The March date was selected because pivotal Tuskegee Airmen historical events occurred in the month of March: March 1941, the first Tuskegee Airmen ground crews began training; March 1941, the first flying unit, the 99th Pursuit Squadron, was activated; March 1942 when the first aviator cadets received their pilot wings; and March 2007, President George W. Bush awarded the Tuskegee Airmen the Congressional Gold Medal.

The passage of SB 1128 assures that the Tuskegee Airmen will be remembered and their legacy celebrated in the State of Arizona for many years to come.

For additional information, please contact David Toliver, President, Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter, Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., (623) 386-2870 or  toliversrd@cox.net.


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Commemoration Day

 Original Tuskegee Airmen Rudolph Silas and Robert Ashby
 Paying respect to the members of the
Lonely Eagles Club