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Tuskegee Airmen
Col. Bryan Radliff, 477th Fighter Group commander, presents Mitch Higginbotham the letter from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz that recognized and simultaneously retired the 477th Bombardment Group emblem to the Air Force Historical Research Agency for inclusion in the organizations official heraldry records. Higginbotham was one of the Tuskegee Airmen arrested during an incident at Freeman Field, Indiana, that became known as the Freeman Field muntiny. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Capt. Ashley Conner)
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Tuskegee Airmen unit emblem officially recognized

Posted 8/3/2012   Updated 8/3/2012 Email story   Print story


by Capt. Ashley Conner
477th Fighter Group Public Affairs

8/3/2012 - LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- During the 41st Annual Tuskegee Airmen Convention Col. Bryan Radliff, 477th Fighter Group commander announced that the Chief of Staff of the Air Force had officially recognized the insignia used by the 477th Bombardment Group, a Tuskegee Airmen unit, during World War II.

In a letter to the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. dated July 17, 2012 Gen. Norton Schwartz not only recognized the emblem but simultaneously retired the emblem to the Air Force Historical Research Agency for inclusion in the organizations official heraldry records.

"The presentation of this patch is a long overdue recognition of the service and sacrifice of these great men," said Radliff. "My thanks go out to General Schwartz and his staff for recognizing the importance of this unit and finding their rightful place in Air Power history."

The pilots assigned to the 477th BG flew the B-25. The unit relocated several times and were never declared mission ready before the end of World War II. As a result the patch was never recognized as a part Army Air Corps and later Air Force history until now.

During the presentation of the letter Radliff asked members of the 477th BG who attended the Tuskegee Airmen Convention Military Luncheon to stand to be recognized. Those members were later joined by current members of the 477th FG on stage for a photo.

"This was an amazing opportunity," said Senior Airmen Marren Clay, 477th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief. "I am so proud to be a part of a unit that can trace it roots back to real American heroes."

The 477th FG was reactivated at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska in October 2007 when the group became the Air Force Reserve Command's first F-22 Raptor unit and the only Air Force Reserve unit in Alaska. The Group's 302nd Fighter Squadron historically was part of the 332nd Fighter Group, also known as "The Redtails" the famous all-black unit that fought both American prejudice and Nazi militarism.

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