Riverside, CA–Saturday June 8 at 1:00 PM March Field Air Museum will present a briefing by aviation and civil rights pioneer Master Sergeant Buford Johnson USAF (Ret). Enlisting in the Army Air Force in 1945, Sergeant Johnson’s first assignment was with the famous all-black segregated unit, the “Tuskegee Airman” of the 99th Fighter Squadron of the 477th Composite Group at Godman Field Kentucky. Achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant in only three years, Sergeant Johnson skills as an aircraft mechanic led to his P-47N fighter-bomber being selected to compete in the first USAF Gunnery Meet held in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1949. Though the Tuskegee detachment handily won the competition, Air Force officials withheld recognition of the victory for more than four decades until 1995.
“We did the best job every time. We were not even thinking about desegregation but doing the best job we can do,” said Sgt. Johnson. Sergeant Johnson will speak about his experiences with the Tuskegee Airman and the challenge of overcoming institutionalized racism.
Sergeant Johnson went on to an illustrious 21-year Air Force career that included such milestones as becoming the Air Force’s first African-American jet mechanic, serving in the Korean War and assignments in Japan and on both the east and west coast of the United States.
Regular museum admission is $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for children 5 to 12. March Field Air Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday.
22550 Van Buren Blvd., Riverside CA 92518.