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Tuskegee Airman
John Allen, a Tuskegee Airman, receives a Congressional Gold Medal of Honor from Stanley Allen, of the Albuquerque office of New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman. Mr. Allen was not able to attend the ceremony when approximately 300 original Tuskegee Airmen were presented the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor in March in Washington, D.C. U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Berenger
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Tuskegee Airman presented Congressional Gold Medal of Honor

Posted 8/8/2007   Updated 8/8/2007 Email story   Print story

    


by Sheila Rupp
Nucleus Staff


8/8/2007 - KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, New Mexico -- When approximately 300 original Tuskegee Airmen were presented the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor in March at a ceremony in Washington D.C., one of New Mexico's own original Tuskegee Airmen, John Allen, was not able to attend.

The Gen. Lloyd "Fig" Newton Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. presented Mr. Allen with the Congressional Gold Medal July 28 at the New Mexico Veterans' Memorial.

Nearly 1,000 Airmen trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field, Tuskegee, Ala., between 1942 and 1946, earning the name Tuskegee Airmen. Often called "Red Tails" because of the red paint on the tails of their planes, the Tuskegee Airmen flew more than 15,000 sorties over North Africa and Europe during World War II.

The Congressional Gold Medal of Honor is awarded to individuals or groups for singular acts of exceptional service and for lifetime achievement. The medal is the highest civilian award bestowed by federal legislature.

Congressional legislation is required to make the medal and at least two-thirds of the House of Representatives need to sponsor the legislation on to several other committees. Rep. Charles Rangel, R-N.Y., and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., both introduced the same bill in 2005 to give the Tuskegee Airmen the medal and after several steps in the approval process President Bush signed the bill into law in April 2006.

The Congressional Gold Medal of Honor was originally given to those in the military, but once the medal was created, Congressional Gold Medal of Honor recipients broadened to include actors, authors, musicians, pioneers in aviation and space, prominent figures in science and medicine, athletes and other fields.
Past recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor include the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King., the Navajo Code Talkers, Rosa Parks and Pope John Paul II.



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