Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. Newsle er
Inside this issue:
Presidents Message 2 & 12
TAI Code of Ethics 5
2014 Elections 6
2014 Convention Registration
Spotlight on DOTAs 10
Salute to Americas Heroes
More than 100 people were on hand to witness the unveiling of sculpted busts of General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., and Brigadier-General Noel F. Parrish, both iconic Tuskegee Airmen commanders during WWII. The event, which was held at the annual meeting of the Aviation Museum of Kentucky (AMK) on December 7, 2013, was orchestrated by Ron Spriggs, Executive Director of the Ron Spriggs Exhibit of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., and member of the AMK board of directors.
The busts were designed and sculpted by Bobby Scroggins, Associate Art Professor with the University of Kentucky, who is also an AMK board member.
The project was sponsored through the generosity of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs.
Black and White Tuskegee Airmen Unveiled President Brig. Gen. Leon Johnson, USAFR (Ret.) 1st Vice President CMSgt. John B. Patterson, USAF (Ret.) 2nd Vice President Brig. Gen. Stayce Harris, USAF Immediate Past President Lt. Gen. Russell Davis, USAF (Ret.) Financial Secretary Mr. Stephan Wilkinson Treasurer Ms. Rosario Biggs-Dickerson Parliamentarian SMSgt Tyrelle Felder Public Relations Officer Ms. Sandra Campbell Central Region President MSgt. Marv K. Abrams, USAF (Ret.) Eastern Region President CMSgt. Quincy Magwood, USAF (Ret.) Western Region President Mr. Larry Jackson
General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. was commander of the black 99th Fighter Squadron, the 332nd Fighter Group in Italy, and later the 477th Composite Group assigned at Godman Field near Louisville, KY. Gen. Davis was born in Washington, DC in 1912, and followed in his fathers footsteps to become a second generation member of the U.S. Army. His father, Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., was a Buffalo Soldier and climbed the ranks from enlisted to Americas first black General Grade officer. In spite of the shunning he endured during four years at West Point, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. graduated 35th in a class of 276 in 1936. As a Captain, he joined the first class of 13 cadets at Tuskegee in 1941. He qualified as a pilot and was one of five pilots who graduated in Class 42-C-SE, and the first black to become a General Grade officer in the new United States Air Force. He ended his career as a Lieutenant General. In 1995, he was called out of retirement and advanced to the rank of General by President Bill Clinton. Davis died in 2002.
Brigadier General Noel Francis Parrish was one of a handful of whites who participated in the Tuskegee Experience (1941-1949). He was born in Versailles, KY in 1909, moved to Waco, Texas, where he studied at Rice University, entered the Army Cavalry (with real horses) as a Private, and later became a pilot. He was assigned as Commander of the cadet training program at Tuskegee Institute. His name was chartered in 2007 as the Brigadier General Noel F. Parrish Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., in Lexington, KY. Due to his efforts to desegregate his troops, reduce over-crowding, and improve morale and relations between Tuskegee residents and inhabitants on the nearby military base, Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. established the prestigious Brigadier General Noel F. Parrish Award in his honor. Brigadier General Parrish was inducted into the Aviation Museum of Kentuckys Hall of Fame. He died in 1987.
Ron Spriggs poses between the busts of Gen. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. and BGen. Noel F. Parrish during the unveiling and installation ceremony.
SAVE THE DATE -- TAI 2014 Convention -- July 30 - August 2, 2014 - Orlando, Florida (Page 7)
Fellow Members of TAI,
As we finish out the end of 2013, I want to share with you my priorities for the upcoming year. Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. has been challenged this year by the economic situation affecting our Nation. Our convention in St. Louis saw a 60% decrease in attendance due to the impact of sequestration on the ability of our military members and supporters to join us. A number of sponsors including the Department of Defense were not able to provide the fiscal support that had been available to us in prior years. The bottom-line is our overall cost of doing business exceeded our revenue flow. The projection for 2014 is not great but I think that there are some actions we can set in motion now, which can get us started on a road to a positive revenue flow, such as a TAI Aviation Summer Camp, community partnerships, corporate partnerships, and better engaging our membership at large.
The first area that can make a difference is increased membership designed to attract rather than detract from our organizational objectives. At our November Board of Directors meeting, I charged the Region Presidents to achieve a 15% increase in our membership which reflects an increase of 100 adult members in each of our 3 regions. The Chair of our Membership Committee feels that this goal is attainable and can easily be exceeded.
In a previous letter I mentioned that each of us knows someone who was previously a member of TAI. It is important that each of us contact them and see if we can bring them back to TAI. In our daily interactions we encounter individuals who may be good candidates for membership. Please give them information about who we are, our mission, and goals. As I travel the country, I find that many people dont think they can be members of TAI. They think anyone interested in membership has to be a Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen, in the military or African-American to join. They are often surprised to learn that TAI is an open membership organization which anyone who supports our mission and goals can join. Obviously, someone with certain criminal offenses would not be eligible for membership.
If each one of us makes it our duty to recruit just one member between now and 31 January 2014 we can double our numbers. This can accomplish a number of things. It will bring individuals with new ideas to TAI, it can give us additional resources for our programs, and it will give us new members to hold positions within our organization.
The second area that can make a difference is the TAI-USAA credit card. Currently there are approximately 700 cards in circulation which have generated $5,860 in revenue to TAI in 2013. A total of 123 new cards were approved and issued this year. USAA has creatively worked to get more applications for the TAI-USAA credit card. Increasing our organizations membership has the potential to increase more membership applications for the USAA credit card.
One of the things USAA has done and continues to do is provide brochures to TAI that advertise the credit card. Copies of these brochures have been sent to each Chapter for distribution at events. More can be obtained upon request from the National Office. Revenue to TAI is generated by the number of cards in circulation and the purchases made using the card. If we double the number of cards in circulation in 2014 it will result in a significant increase in revenue to TAI. Questions about eligibility come up frequently about the TAI-USAA credit card. While you have to be a member of USAA to qualify for their insurance programs, that does not apply to its credit card and other financial services. During the convention, USAA announced the release of an American Express version of the credit card.
The third area is TAI merchandise on the Amazon.com website, which will enable us to reach the largest possible audience with our branded Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. product offerings and process of putting our TAI merchandise on the Amazon.com website. As announced at the convention, the goal is to increase the variety of items we have for sale, using Amazon as our warehouse and fulfillment center. The team working the project plans to continue to have
From the Desk of the National President
members merchandise items as well as bulk pricing options for Chapters. They will be contacting Chapters soon about a special offer on 2014 TAI calendars. Growth of the merchandise project has the potential to become the major revenue stream for TAI.
The fourth area that can make a difference is donations. The Board of Directors voted to each make a $1,000 cash or in-kind donation to TAI annually. The cash donations are targeted to and will be held in a special account for our Youth Program. Each of us has a number of 501 (c) 3 organizations that we support during the course of the year. Some TAI members work for companies that, within program limits, match monies donated by employees to a 501(c)3. As we approach the end of 2013, I ask each TAI member to join the members of the Board of Directors by making a small donation in supporting our Regional and National Youth Programs. On the TAI National website (www.TuskegeeAirmen.org), there is a link in the top right-hand corner for downloading a pledge form that can be mailed to the National Office with your donation.
2014 is an election year for National Officers, Region Presidents and Board Representatives for TAI. We need to have competitive elections which can only happen if we have members willing to participate in the process as candidates. Please review the National Bylaws to see the duties of the various positions and the requirements to file for the positions. To vote in the election via absentee ballot or at the convention you must be dues current. Our National Bylaws state that membership renewals must be submitted to National no later than the 31st of January of each year. In the past we have had problems with the flow of the Form 2 and payments from the individual