Tuskegee Airman addresses Pearson crowd

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Hudson’s Bay — Ben “Flaps” Berry, a Tuskegee Airman pilot during World War II and a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal, spoke at Pearson Air Museum on Feb. 25 to a near-capacity crowd of NAACP members and museum visitors. He regaled the audience with stories of piloting a B-25 bomber and of working as an aeronautical engineer for the Apollo, International Space Station and Space Shuttle programs. He told the youth in the audience: “If you have a dream, stick to it.” During World War II, the Tuskegee Airmen were African American pilots who became known for their heroism escorting American bombers in raids over Europe and North Africa. Their distinguished service influenced President Harry Truman to desegregate the United States military. “Red Tails,” a new George Lucas film that tells the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, has generated new interest in the heroic pilots.