On Sunday, June 2, at 2 p.m. the Champaign County Historical Museum will present a free program on the Tuskegee Airmen. Capt. John C. Mitchell, the son of an original Tuskegee Airman, and the president of Tuskegee Airmen Inc., Ohio Memorial Chapter, will headline the program.
Commissioned originally as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, Mitchell earned his Air Force Wings in 1976 at Williams AFB, Arizona. Throughout his career on active duty and in the reserves, he flew the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter and later the C-5 Galaxy, the largest cargo aircraft in the world, throughout Asia, Australia, Europe and Africa. After spending a short time with the FAA, Captain Mitchell had a second career as a commercial airline pilot, flying 9 different airliners for U. S. Airways, later American Airlines. He retired as an active pilot in 2017.
In addition, the only Tuskegee Airman from Champaign County, the late Wendell Stokes, will be honored. Mr. Stokes, an educator and Urbana city councilman, served as a Bombardier/Navigator in WWII, training with his fellow Tuskegee Airmen in Tuskegee, Alabama. Following the war Mr. Stokes was instrumental in the formation of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. During his service as President of that organization he helped establish the Tuskegee Airmen Monument which stands in the U. S. Air Force Museum Memorial Park.
The Champaign County Historical Museum is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization that depends upon donations and dues to preserve, protect, archive and display the artifacts that tell the Champaign County story. The free public museum located at 809 E. Lawn Ave., Urbana, is open to the public from 10 -4 Mondays and Tuesdays.
Info from the Champaign County Historical Society.