Tag Archives: World War II

Red Tails …. The story of the Tuskegee Airmen – HD Movie Trailer – Lucas film Official Trailer

by on Jul 29, 2011

First Public Promotional Trailer for the feature film RED TAILS.

1944. World War II rages and the fate of the free world hangs in the balance. Meanwhile the black pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program are courageously waging two wars at once — one against enemies overseas, and the other against discrimination within the military and back home. Racial prejudices have long held ace airman Martin “Easy” Julian (Nate Parker) and his black pilots back at base — leaving them with little to do but further hone their flying skills — while their white counterparts are shipped out to combat after a mere three months of training. Mistakenly deemed inferior and assigned only second-rate planes and missions, the pilots of Tuskegee have mastered the skies with ease but have not been granted the opportunity to truly spread their wings. Until now.
As the war in Europe continues to take its dire toll on Allied forces, Pentagon brass has no recourse but to reconsider these under-utilized pilots for combat duty. Just as the young Tuskegee men are on the brink of being shut down and shipped back home, Col. A.J. Bullard (Terrence Howard) awards them the ultimate chance to prove their mettle high above. Undaunted by the prospect of providing safe escort to bombers in broad daylight — a mission so dangerous that the RAF has refused it and the white fighter groups have sustained substantial losses — Easy’s pilots at last join the fiery aerial fray. Against all the odds, with something to prove and everything to lose, these intrepid young airmen take to the skies in a heroic endeavor to combat the enemy — and the discrimination that has kept them down for so long.

Directed by: Anthony Hemingway.

Starring: Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard, Bryan Cranston, Brandon T. Jackson and Nate Parker.

Red Tails is an upcoming film directed by Anthony Hemingway, from a script by John Ridley and story by executive producer George Lucas. It is based on the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African American combat pilots during World War II, and is the first Lucasfilm Ltd. production since Radioland Murders (1994) not to be associated with the Indiana Jones or Star Wars franchises.

George Lucas began developing Red Tails around 1988. He compared it to Tucker: The Man and His Dream as “a story too good to be true”. Thomas Carter was his original choice to direct. A number of writers worked on the project until John Ridley was hired in 2007 to write the final screenplay. Lucas held discussions with Samuel L. Jackson regarding Jackson possibly directing and acting in the film. Although Jackson praised the script, he did not commit to either role. Anthony Hemingway was finally chosen to direct in 2008. In researching the film, Lucasfilm invited some of the surviving Tuskegee Airmen to Skywalker Ranch, where they were interviewed about their experiences during World War II. Lucasfilm was also given access to the original mission logbooks used by some of the pilots.
Production began in March 2009. High-definition Sony F35 cameras were used for principal photography, which took place in the Czech Republic, Italy, Croatia and England. While shooting in the Czech Republic, the actors underwent a “boot camp” program, during which they lived in similar conditions as the actual Tuskegee Airmen. Editing began while the production was in Prague. Avid editing systems were used simultaneously in a Prague studio and at Lucasfilm. A vehicle was fitted with a “technical center” so that the production could quickly move between locations. In March 2010, Lucas took over direction of reshoots, as Hemingway was busy working on episodes of the HBO series Treme. Hemingway will have final approval over the footage.

Dan Pfeiffer, The White House

whitehousebannerIt’s not exactly a secret that Washington hasn’t worked as well as it should. Between the constant gridlock and partisanship, most people just tune this town out. That was especially true this year when the government literally shut down.

Yet, even in spite of all that, thanks to the grit of the American people, this country continues to move forward. After the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, folks are getting back to work and the economy is getting stronger.

And late this year, Washington took a cue — and managed to make some progress itself.

While it’s too early to declare a new era of bipartisanship, what we’ve seen recently is that Washington is capable of getting things done when it wants to. And there’s an opportunity next year for this town to do its job and make real progress.

Here are just a couple areas where there’s been progress made recently — check them out, and then take a look at our full 2013 year-in-review.

For the first time in years, both parties in Congress came together and passed a budget. This budget doesn’t include everything that everyone wanted — but our economy will grow a little faster, be a little fairer for middle-class families, and create more jobs because of it.

Our businesses created 2 million jobs in 2013. That’s more than 8 million private-sector jobs in just over 45 months.

The economy is growing. Just last week we learned that, over the summer, our economy grew at 4.1% — its strongest pace in almost two years.

We’ve cut the deficit in half since 2009. That’s four years of the fastest deficit reduction since the end of World War II — and it means we’re improving our nation’s long-term fiscal position while strengthening our economy.

We produce more oil in the U.S. than we import from abroad. Thanks to an all-of-the-above strategy, we’re reducing our reliance on foreign oil — and that means lower energy costs for consumers.

The American auto industry is thriving. Last month, the auto industry added more than fifteen thousand jobs. And just a few weeks ago, the United States sold its final stake in General Motors.

Americans are getting better health coverage. Since October 1st, more than 1 million Americans have selected new health insurance plans through the federal and state marketplaces. And millions more are getting better health care thanks to increased protections and benefits.

There’s a little less gridlock in Congress. Leaders in Congress took action so that executive and judicial nominees (except to the Supreme Court) can be confirmed with a simple majority vote. Now we’re filling critical vacancies, and the government will work better for Americans because of it.

So while the politics in Washington can be frustrating and change takes time, that’s no excuse for inaction. In the New Year, we need to help American businesses continue creating jobs, make sure Americans are ready for those jobs, and make sure those jobs offer the wages and benefits that give families a fair shot at financial security.

We also need to look out for those who are searching for a job. Congress needs to extend unemployment insurance, something we’ll be making a priority when members come back to work.

There’s a lot of unfinished business, but there are also things we can build on. If you saw some things in this list that you think more people should know about, then pass them on.

Thanks, and happy holidays.


Dan Pfeiffer Senior Advisor The White House @Pfeiffer44

It’s Redge Ranyard’s story …


Last week, John Boehner said that Republicans were locked in an “epic battle” to keep the government shutdown going.

As a World War II veteran, I fought in six epic battles. I helped fight the Nazis in the North African seas, and took part in operations that liberated Italy and the South of France, from Germany.

The Tea Party Shutdown is not an epic battle — it is bad governance.

Americans and veterans like me depend on our entire government being open.

I filmed a television ad with VoteVets, and it’s on the air starting today. I hope you’ll watch it and contribute to help keep it up.


After receiving General Wesley Clark‘s email last week, I responded with my personal story about how the shutdown impacts my life, while expressing my disgust with the Republican Party’s politicization of the World War II Memorial shortly after the shutdown began.

I served this nation with honor. Today, I can’t say the same thing about most Republicans in Congress.

Thank you for standing up for me,

Redge Ranyard
World War II Veteran

Oldest Living WWII Veteran …

Photo: President Obama Greets the Oldest Living WWII VeteranPresident Barack Obama greets Mr. Overton, 107 years old and the oldest living World War II veteran.

President Barack Obama greets Richard Overton, with Earlene Love-Karo, in the Blue Room of the White House, Nov. 11, 2013. Mr. Overton,107 years old and the oldest living World War II veteran, attended the Veteran’s Day Breakfast at the White House. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)


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Breaking the Color Barrier in the Trenches

NMAAHC -- National Museum of African American History and Culture

Lonnie Bunch, museum director, historian, lecturer, and author, is proud to present A Page from Our American Story, a regular on-line series for Museum supporters. It will showcase individuals and events in the African American experience, placing these stories in the context of a larger story — our American story.

A Page From Our American Story

American Soldiers in Korea Fighting with the 2nd Inf. Div. north of the Chongchon River, Sfc. Major Cleveland, weapons squad leader, points out Communist-led North Korean position to his machine gun crew. November 20,1950. Pfc. James Cox.

African Americans have served in every military engagement in our history — from the American Revolution to today’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even though for years they suffered injustice and inequality in the military, they served, as former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell said, because “by serving, you demonstrated that you were as good as anyone else.”

This past August marked the 65th anniversary of the integration of America’s military. In July 1948, President Harry Truman signed an executive order mandating fair treatment and equality in government and the armed services. It was long overdue. Yet, even with the President ordering the change, integration was a slow process.

In the American Revolution and the Civil War, African Americans fought on both sides. The British promised freedom for enslaved blacks who took up arms against the Colonies. The same promise was offered by some leaders of the colonies. Following the Emancipation Proclamation, newly freed African Americans were permitted to serve in the army and navy. Still, the inequalities that had existed in the military prior to the Proclamation remained as blacks were always segregated and made to serve under under white commanding officers.

Segregation was as institutionalized in the military as it was in American society. Despite serving with distinction in the Spanish-American War and World War I, black servicemen and servicewomen returned to a nation that treated them like second class citizens.

James_DanielChappie.jpg Gen. Daniel R. “Chappie” James Jr. (1920-1978), a Tuskegee Airmen who trained and served during World War II, in 1975 became the first African American to achieve the grade of four-star general. (U.S. Air Force photo)

This was magnified following World War II. Throughout the war, African Americans performed at a high level. They helped free Europe and defeat Imperial Japan, but came home to find that little had changed. The military itself was still operating, in essence, two separate armed forces: one for whites, one for blacks.

In response to political pressure and the growing civil rights movement, in July 1948, President Truman issued executive order 9981 desegregating the armed forces. However, the military’s response was two years of institutional foot dragging. It was not until the Korean War that military commanders, out of necessity, realized they had to accelerate the process to rebuild forces that had been scaled back after WWII. Each branch of the armed forces responded differently.

The Air Force set itself on a path to integration in 1949, and in 1951 Captain Daniel “Chappie” James Jr., became the first black officer to command a fighter squadron. Among James’ many air medals was the Distinguished Flying Cross, one of the armed forces highest honors. James would go on to become the first four-star general in the Air Force. By the war’s end, 25 African American pilots served in fully integrated units.

Ensign Jesse L. Brown.jpg Ensign Jesse L. Brown, USN In the cockpit of an F4U-4 Corsair fighter, circa 1950. He was the first African American to be trained by the Navy as a Naval Aviator, and as such, became the first African American Naval Aviator to see combat. Brown flew with Fighter Squadron 32 (VF-32) from USS Leyte (CV-32). National Archives.

In the Navy, African Americans had long served on ships along with white sailors, but the jobs were menial and advancement was almost non-existent. Ensign Jesse L. Brown became the first African American Navy pilot when he was commissioned in 1948. He was also the first black Naval officer to die in the Korean war, and received the Distinguished Flying Cross posthumously. In March 1972, the Navy christened a Knox-class destroyer the USS Jesse L. Brown in his honor.

In 1952, Second Lieutenant Frank E. Peterson, Jr., became the first Marine aviator, flying 64 combat missions by the end of the Korean war. Peterson, too, received the Distinguished Flying Cross. He rose in the ranks to become the Marine Corps’ first African American general.

LtGenFrankPetersen_USMC.jpg LtGen Frank E. Peterson, USMC. Senior US Military aviator. First African American Marine Corps aviator and General. Photo from official USMC biography.

The Army was the slowest of the branches to respond. Still operating under WWII racial quotas that limited the number of African Americans who could serve, the Army was enlisting black Americans in numbers relative to the nation’s overall population, approximately 10%. Still, the Army faced a massive shortage of troops. When the Army lifted its racial quotas, African American enlistment rose sharply. Even then, however, the Army remained slow to integrate, and morale in black units was dangerously low. The last fully segregated black unit wasn’t disbanded until 1954.

During the Korean War, some of the oldest military racial walls fell. Perhaps the biggest of those barriers was the fear that white troops wouldn’t respond to black officers. This proved not to be the case. Integrated troops did respond to black officers and non-commissioned officers during the war. However, the number of African American officers in the Army was small, numbering less than 3% at the end of the Viet Nam War. Change was taking place, but slowly.

A leading proponent for integration was General Matthew Ridgway. When he was appointed Supreme Commander of United Nations forces in Korea in 1951, he immediately called for the desegregation of the forces under his authority. Ridgway stated, “It has always seemed to me both un-American and un-Christian for free citizens to be taught to downgrade themselves this way as if they were unfit to associate with their fellows or to accept leadership themselves.”

Nearly 600,000 African Americans served in an integrated armed forces during the Korean War. Neither racism nor hatred was extinguished overnight, but integrating the services played an important role in the larger picture of American society. African American servicemen and servicewomen were finally on a path to end their treatment as second class citizens fighting for the American ideals of freedom and equality.

 dd-enews-temp-lonnie-bunch-2.jpg All the best, Lonnie Bunch Director

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