DATE: February 16, 2012
Broward County Commissioners Chip LaMarca (left) and Dale Holness (right) present Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Leo Roger Gray with a proclamation.
MEDIA CONTACT: Kimberly Maroe, Public Information Manager
Broward County Board of County Commissioners
Broward County Commissioners received a special visit from a retired Tuskegee Airman on Tuesday. Lt. Col. Leo Gray, who flew 15 missions over Europe during World War II, received a proclamation from Commissioners Dale Holness and Chip LaMarca. The proclamation officially designated February 14, 2012, as “Lt. Colonel Leo Roger Gray Day” in Broward County. Lt. Col. Gray is a Dania Beach resident.
“I went and saw the movie Red Tails, and it was quite a story of the bravery of the Tuskegee airmen who, regardless of what the situation at home was, they were willing to go fight and do what was right,” said Commissioner Holness. “So we want to thank you for that, and we have this to honor you because of that.”
Lt. Col. Gray left active duty as a Tuskegee Airman in 1946, but remained in the U.S. Air Force Reserve completing a military career that spanned 41 years. He would eventually work as an agricultural economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“It's an honor to be invited here and receive this proclamation on behalf of the Red Tail pilots. I might mention 355 Red Tail pilots went overseas. Eighty were killed. Thirty-two were prisoners of war. Currently, there are 43 of us left alive. All the Red Tail pilots are Tuskegee Airmen but not all Tuskegee Airmen are Red Tail pilots,” Lt. Col. Gray told Commissioners.
The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the United States armed forces. A fictional account of the lives of Tuskegee Airmen was recently chronicled in the movie Red Tails produced by George Lucas.