The Tuskegee airmen were the first black servicemen to serve as military aviators in the U.S. armed forces, flying with distinction during World War II. Though subject to racial discrimination both at home and abroad, the 996 pilots and more than 15,000 ground personnel who served with the all-black units would be credited with some 15,500 combat sorties and earn over 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses for their achievements. The highly publicized successes of the Tuskegee Airmen helped pave the way for the eventual integration of the U.S. armed forces under President Harry Truman in 1948.
Research completed by Regis D. Bobonis, Sr. over the past five years uncovered the stories of dozens of Western PA Tuskegee Airmen.
"Identifying the airmen from Western PA proved to be more difficult than imagined since military records are nonexistent", according to Regis D. Bobonis, Sr. "Oftentimes the descendants of Tuskegee Airmen were themselves unaware of their parents service since many rarely even discussed their wartime experience", said Bobonis.
Boboinis founded the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial project and currently serves as its Chairperson.