Local

Clermont leaders honor local Tuskegee Airman ahead of 100th birthday, declare Tuskegee Airman Day

CLERMONT, Fla. — At their regular meeting Tuesday, Clermont City Council members declared March 17 Tuskegee Airman Recognition Day.

>>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<

They also recognized Clermont resident and Tuskegee Airman Daniel Keel who served as a pilot, navigator and bombardier from 1943 to 1946.

READ: Plane carrying Trump made emergency landing in New Orleans after weekend speech

The title of “Tuskegee Airmen” refers to any of the men and women who participated in the Army Air Corps program to train African-Americans to fly, maintain and support combat aircraft in the 1940s.

NEWSRELEASE: Last night at city council, council honored Clermont resident Daniel Keel. March 17 has been declared "...

Posted by City of Clermont Government on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

The first aviation class of 13 cadets in the “Tuskegee Experience” began in July, 1941. Five of them would become the first African American aviators in U.S. military history, enduring segregation and prejudice along the way.

READ: Wisconsin 6th-grader honored after helping teacher who suffered stroke

When the Air Force’s 332nd Fighter Wing was deactivated in 1949, the all-Black fighter group’s personnel got assigned to previously all-White units, effectively desegregating the Air Force.

“It’s my honor to recognize one of Clermont’s own as a member of such a historical group of military pilots,” Clermont Mayor Tim Murry said. “On behalf of the city of Clermont, thank you, Airman Keel, for your service.”

READ: Calls to suspend gas taxes across U.S. grow as prices surge

Murry made history himself in 2020 when he was sworn in as they city’s first ever African-American Mayor.

Airman Keel, who will celebrate his 100th birthday later this year, has called Clermont home for more than 20 years.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.

Latest Trending