HOUSTON—A former Tuskegee Airman believes a Hollywood movie that depicts the exploit of the famed fighter squadron helps preserve a vital part of American history.
“It’s an understanding that whatever is required to defend your country, you can measure up to whatever those standards are,” said Luzine Bickham, who served during World War II, but never flew in combat.
Bickham earned his wings a few months before the war came to an end.
“We knew that this was a time of uncertainty and we had to prepare ourselves for it,” he said.
The movie Red Tails tells the story of the black pilots trained as bomber escorts who proved their metal in battle. The Tuskegee Airmen achieved one of the highest success records of any other fighter squadron during the war. Their success came at a time when blacks were often discouraged from becoming pilots.
“I wasn’t concerned about whether or not I would succeed, I was just thrilled to be a part of this program,” Bickham said.
He saw Red Tails at a special screening a week ago. He said Hollywood film makers for the most part got it right.
“Now, the only thing that survives is the idea. The participants are dying out. You won’t see us around much longer. So what is there? It’s the legacy,” he said.