• Straighten up and fly right2:29
This project is a two-year labor of love. Phase I, the research phase of the project, launched Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2015, and will conclude Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2017. High Flight will continue to build out as more stories are found. Phase II will focus on the development of standards-based, age appropriate, K-college curriculum; a documentary film; an interactive website; e-books; a literary and arts journal; a scholarship program; a Speakers’ Bureau; and other product development.

In the pages that follow, you will meet The Greentree Group, Inc.—all of whom have unique talents to lend to the project. They also have a deep connection to the project as they are none other than the children, grandchildren, and great granddaughter of Major Eddie Lee Young. Three of them graduated from Tuskegee airman Dr. Henry A.Wise, Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, some 7 miles from the flightline of Joint Base Andrews where Air Force One, the President’s plane, is housed.

High Flight will dispatch teams of student and professional filmmakers/journalists wherever the research trail leads. The first documentary/interview team is being dispatched to Tuskegee, Alabama, December 8 – 12, 2015. A second team is headed to Philadelphia in early 2016. The East Coast chapter of Tuskegee Airman, Inc. (TAI) is the largest chapter in the organization, and many original Tuskegee Airmen retired and live in the Washington, DC area. Thus, many interview teams will be able to begin work in early 2016.

Finally, many of you may already have seen HBO’s film The Tuskegee Airmen (1995) or the more recent film Red Tails (2012). If you know nothing about Tuskegee Airmen, either film is a good jumping off point, though largely fictional. I remember Dad saying, “Well, that’s not really what it was like, but that’s good enough for government work.”

What makes this project so unique is that it is being told though the daughters and wives of these phenomenal heroes. An Air Force BRAT myself, I know the pain and anxiety we suffered as we watched our loved ones go off to war. My father was triple-rated, one of only a handful of men trained to be a pilot, navigator, and bombardier. Unlike most of his fellow soldiers, Dad did not return to civilian life after the war ended. On the contrary, he went on to fly in the Korean War, and flew with the covert Special Ops in Vietnam.

We’ve all heard the advice that “it takes a village….” Our goal is to reach at least 10% of the 200 that are still out there nationwide. Join us in this endeavor. There will be plenty of opportunities to volunteer—as beta testers and proofreaders of new material, as bloggers (see button at right), as essay contest judges and participants, as curriculum developers, as journalists and photographers, as angels. We need your eyes, your ears, your legs, and your encouragement. The first on-camera interview begins this week with Rosemary Crocket, the founder of the Daughters of the Tuskegee Airmen Group.

High Flight: The Tuskegee Airmen Legacy Project

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Learn more about the dedicated individuals working on this project.​

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By best estimate, there are some 200 original Tuskegee Airmen remaining out of the 994 who served with distinction in World War II. Why are they so difficult to locate? Many of them, like my own father—Major Eddie Lee Young—did not seek the limelight. He used to explain that in the heat of the battle, they were just ordinary men with a job to do. But what we do know is that those still living hold onto exceptional memories.

I witnessed this firsthand when I participated in a local community day where Tuskegee Airmen, Buffalo Soldiers, and other historical groups were invited to speak. I dragged Dad to my author talk. By the time I finished the presentation of my book, A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie “Peanut” Johnson, I found Dad under a tent, shooting the breeze with the other Tuskegee Airmen. They swapped stories of what it was really like in those days, each one trying to outdo the other with their tales of valor and daring.

I knew at once that I was witnessing living history. I did what any seasoned writer would do. I reached in my writer’s toolbox and pulled out a set of listening ears. No camera. No taking notes. No lifting of a pen. There would be time for that later. I’ll never forget my father’s chilling description of the first time he flew solo. His flight instructor, Charles Herbert Flowers, Jr.—known as Tiger Flowers—was scarcely older than the college-aged cadets he trained, yet he trained 10% of the 994 pilots at Tuskegee Army Air Field. There is now a high school named after him in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

The Greentree Group Inc.

A collaborative effort of award-winning author Michelle Y. Green; The Greentree Group, Inc.; Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.; The Daughters of the Tuskegee Airmen Organization; a local community college; K-college educators, cinematographers, children’s book authors and illustrators; faith-based organizations; a multicultural publisher; and other strategic partners. The two-year documentary project will collect, authenticate, and publish the stories of original Tuskegee Airmen pilots, navigators, bombardiers, and grounds crew through print, film, and educational support materials.