The life-size statue was commissioned by the Howard Baugh Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. to recognize the many contributions and accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen. As a member of this elite group, Lt. Col. Howard L. Baugh of Petersburg, VA amassed an impressive service record which included being one of only 72 of the 352 pilots deployed to shoot down enemy aircraft in combat. Of the 112 enemy aircraft shot down by the Tuskegee Airmen during WWII, he is credited with 1.5 of those Aerial Victories. Baugh received numerous commendations including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, and the USAF Commendation Medal. In 2004, he was one of only four Tuskegee Airmen awarded the French Legion of Honor Award by the French Government at a ceremony in Paris and in 2006, the Tuskegee Airmen collectively were recognized for their accomplishments when the U.S. Congress awarded them the Congressional Gold Medal.
The BHMVA is honored to be the new home of the statue as a permanent tribute to Lt. Col. Baugh and the Tuskegee Airmen, as well as the many African American men and women in the military.
During WWII the Tuskegee Airmen registered one of the finest combat records in military aviation history and helped change our nation. Said Richard Baugh, “It is important to note that the totality of achievements by the Tuskegee Airmen during WWII prompted President Harry S. Truman to issue Executive Order 9981 in July of 1948 desegregating all branches of the U.S. military. This marked the beginning of the Modern Civil Rights movement in America.” Desegregation of the armed forces was a step forward, yet it was years later when the Tuskegee Airmen were finally given national recognition for their accomplishments when the U.S. Congress collectively awarded them the Congressional Gold Medal in 2006 for their “Outstanding combat record inspired revolutionary reform in the ARMED FORCES”.