Squadron learns about black aviators

Published 8:49 am Thursday, December 28, 2017

By Lt. Deborah Leighton

Sugar Valley CAP

The Sugar Valley Composite Squadron welcomed Vernon Robinson on Dec. 5​ for the monthly speaker series. He shared the history of African-American aviators. As an applied military historian and the son of a Tuskegee Airman, he had great stories to tell.

Robinson graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1977 and served as a captain in the US Air Force. After leaving the Air Force, he moved to Winston-Salem and taught business administration at Winston-Salem State University.

He continued his public service as a conservative political activist, candidate for US Congress, and a city council member in Winston-Salem. He was also instrumental in getting charter legislation passed for the N.C. Leadership Academy.

Now, he continues to be active as the president of Robinson Stratavision Consulting in Winston-Salem, and also works with “RISE ABOVE,” an educational outreach program established to bring the legacy and history of the Tuskegee Airmen to communities and events.

Robinson mentioned early aviators: Eugene Bullard, Ahmed Ali, William Robinson Clarke, Domenico Mondelli, Bessie Coleman, Arthur Chin and Roger Sauvage. Since his father, two uncles and two aunts served with the Tuskegee Airmen, Mr. Robinson had some fascinating stories to share about their experiences during World War II. These aviators did not allow discrimination to prevent them from serving the US during the war, and performed with bravery and skill, he said.

The Tuskegee Airmen included pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all those who kept the planes flying.

Robinson also shared the efforts of the Commemorative Air Force’s Red Tail Project, which was established to “inspire young people to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals using the example of the Tuskegee Airmen as a guide, honoring and remembering the service and sacrifice of these great American Heroes.”

The six guiding principles of RISE ABOVE: Aim high, believe in yourself, use your brain, be ready to go, never quit, and expect to win.

Major Stephen Leighton presented Robinson with a certificate of appreciation from the squadron, and Lt. Gregory Burazer presented him with a signed lithograph by artist Louis Bowles, “Tuskegee Airman”.

​The squadron meets every Tuesday 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Sugar Valley Airport, Mocksville.​