While attending the 2018 South Carolina School Board Association’s Annual Conference on Hilton Head Island, Brownstone principals were honored by the opportunity to, quite literally, touch a monumental part of Black History. Seated nearby was Tuskegee Airman First Lieutenant Lemuel A. Lewie, Jr., the last remaining Red Tail.

The Red Tails, more formally known as the U.S. Army Air Force 99th Fighter Squadron, was the first, and at that time, the only black Air Force unit. The unit received training at the Tuskegee Air Base in Alabama and flew more than 250 bomber escort missions into Germany without losing a single bomber to enemy aircraft. The squadron’s nickname stems from their planes’ identifiers being red painted noses and tails.

As a native of South Carolina, 1st Lt. Lewie began his training at Fort Jackson and went on to become top of his class at the Air Force Administration School at Atlanta University. Throughout his service, 1st Lt. Lewie was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps 477th Bomber Group, and trained as a bombardier, pilot, navigator, machine gun operator and radio communicator.

It was certainly a moment in Brownstone’s history that will not be forgotten.

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Brittany Grabski