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Members of Tuskegee Airmen to speak at Wofford Feb. 16 & 17

Monday, February 14, 2005

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Two members of the Wilson V. Eagleson Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen of North Carolina will present a motivational program at Wofford College on Thursday, Feb. 17, at 11 a.m. in the Andrews Field House.

They also will hold a Question & Answer session on Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 6 p.m. in the AAAS Room of the Burwell Building.

Both events are free and open to the public.

Wilson V. Eagleson, a retired first lieutenant with the U.S. Air Force, for whom the chapter is named, and Leonard “Hawk” Hunter, a retired Air Force technical sergeant, will be on campus as part of the college’s Black History Month celebration.

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black people to qualify as military aviators in any branch of the armed forces and served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. The group’s mission now is to “inspire young people to outstanding achievement and leadership through social and educational activities.”

Eagleson, a native of Indiana, served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, retiring from the Air Force after 30 years. He flew P-40s and P-51s with the 332nd Fighter Group, then the largest fighter unit in the 15th Air Force; originally, he was assigned with the 99th Fighter Squadron, which joined three other black squadrons – the 100th, the 301st , and the 302nd to make up the 332nd. Eagleson is credited with destroying two German enemy aircraft and two probables in 1944.

Many of Eagleson’s memorabilia form World War II are displayed at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. He continues to be an active member of the Tuskegee Airmen, speaking about his experiences to a variety of groups.

Hunter, a native of North Carolina, served in the U.S. Air Force during Vietnam, earning two Air Force Commendations Medals, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. He retired after serving 23 years. He is a graduate of Miami Dade Community College and Barry University.

Hunter now hosts a local TV show in East Raleigh, N.C., “FYI (For Your Information).” He is a past president of the Wilson V. Eagleson Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen. He is a frequent lecturer on African American history in the Carolinas.