Honored During Ceremonial Brass Concert
By Adam M. Stump
January 17, 2012 - A member of the
Tuskegee Airmen was honored during a concert by the
United States Air Force Band's Ceremonial Brass on
Saturday at The First Academy Faith Hall.
The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American
military aviators in the U.S. armed forces who trained
in Tuskegee, Ala. Serving during World War II in the
Army Air Corps, these Airmen were subject to racial
discrimination. Despite these adversities, the Tuskegee
Airmen proudly referred to as "Red Tails" or "Red Tail
Angels" because of the distinctive crimson paint on the
tail section of their aircraft trained and flew with
distinction, receiving the Congressional Gold Medal for
valor and performance.
The band's theme of the winter tour is "American Song
and Cinema." The tour features a new work commissioned
by the band and dedicated to the Tuskegee Airmen
entitled "Red Tail Skirmish" by composer Bruce Yurko.
"Red Tail Skirmish" is a musical epic that depicts the
tension, thrill and excitement of an aerial dogfight
through a fast-paced work for the brass and percussion
ensemble. Following the work, Hall, Tuskegee Airmen Gen.
Daniel "Chappie" James, Jr., chapter president Montoria
"Tony" Hubbard and chapter recording secretary Judie
Gilliam were presented score sheets for "Red Tail
From right, retired Chief Master Sgt. Richard R. Hall Jr., an original Tuskegee Airman, retired Lt. Col. Montoria Hubbard, the Tuskegee Airmen Gen. Daniel "Chappie" James chapter president, and Col. Gina Humble, the 11th Operations Group commander at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C., sing the Air Force song during a concert at The First Academy Faith Hall Jan. 14, 2012 in Orlando, Fla. The U.S. Air Force Band Ceremonial Brass honored Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American military aviators in the U.S. armed forces, during their performance, playing a new work entitled "Red Tail Skirmish." (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Adam M. Stump)
of the "Red Tails," Hall was trained in munitions and aircraft
maintenance. He deployed to both North Africa and Italy during
World War II.
Even though the
military integrated, it took time for the Airmen to be accepted. Hall
said the unit flew an operation that called for them to fly from South
Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico. The unit had to divert because they were
not allowed to fly over Georgia or arm their weapons until they were
across the Gulf of Mexico because they were black.
Hall soon found
himself in another war zone, this time in Korea. Hall was at Kimpo Air
Base or "K-14" when the Airmen had to abandon the base, watching it burn
as they took off. After getting promoted to chief master sergeant, Hall
continued to serve through the Vietnam War, when he retired in 1973.
"This was truly
outstanding," Hall said. "It brought back a lot of memories." He said it
was also a tremendous sense of pride to watch black Airmen perform in
the band, something that wasn't possible when he first joined.
This Ceremonial Brass is typically seen throughout the National Capital Region performing at more than 1,100 ceremonies each year, including large ensembles and buglers to perform in most outdoor ceremonial venues and the Ceremonial Brass Quintet for smaller indoor settings. The origins of the Ceremonial Brass trace back to 1964 when The United States Air Force Headquarters Command Band was incorporated into The U.S. Air Force Band as a ceremonial unit. It became an all-brass and percussion ensemble in 1985 and was renamed The Ceremonial Brass.
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