‘Red Tails’ a ‘phenomenal and inspiring’ film


By Sarah M. Duke, Contributor

A few of the original Tuskegee Airmen attended the Omaha red carpet premiere of “Red Tails” at Aksarben Cinema on Jan. 20. UNO’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 470 performed as Color Guard for the event.

After the audience was seated, UNO’s Air Force ROTC presented the colors during the National Anthem. A representative from Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. then spoke a few words about the film and the true story behind it. The Tuskegee Airmen, one of whom is a native of Omaha and graduated from Central High School, were given reserved seats in the theater. Actor and Omaha native John Beasley was also in the audience.

The Tuskegee Airmen are African American fighter and bomber pilots, navigators and support crews who served during World War II. It was believed these men were not capable to competently and courageously fight in war. They were denied leadership opportunities and missions that would lead to valiant success.

The movie, featuring actors Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrance Howard and Ne-Yo, is about the unexpected success of the African American fighter pilots during World War II. The film recounts the battles the men fought through, in war and against segregation. These men were assigned to their own fighter wing, the 332nd. The pilots were given hand-me-down aircrafts and meaningless missions.

“We have a right to fight for our country, the same as every other American. So you shut us down, or you let us fly,” Terrance Howard’s character, Colonel A.J. Bullard, tells his commanding officer.

Once given the opportunity to show their true ability, they succeeded with flying colors. They were sent to guard the “heavies,” officially known as bombers. The pilots who completed similar missions before had left the heavies to fend for themselves in an effort to gain the title of Ace.

Originally disheartened by the passive nature of the mission, Cuba Gooding Jr. says: “We count our victories by the husbands we return to their wives; by the fathers we give back to their children. From the last plane, to the last bullet, to the last minute, to the last man, we fight!” This is one of the more inspiring moments from the film.

After the film, the audience was invited to have posters and other memorabilia signed by the Tuskegee Airmen. The audience was welcome to bid in a silent auction, take photos of the P-51 Mustang models on display and purchase professional photos of the remaining Tuskegee Airmen.

A story of overcoming obstacles, this movie is a must-see, although some of the dialogue could have been better. The battle scenes are wonderful. The story is phenomenal and inspiring.