BRYN MAWR, Pa. - WWII hero, C. Alfred "Chief" Anderson of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen will be honored by the United States Postal Service with issuance of a USPS 2-ounce postal stamp, March 13, 2014, 1:00 PM at Bryn Mawr College--Mcpherson Auditorium, 101 North Merion Ave, Bryn Mawr, Pa., 19010-2899 (Anderson's hometown).
This will be the first postal stamp issued for a Tuskegee Airmen--the nation's first African-American military aviators.
According to Mark Saunders, USPS Corporate Communications, 40,000 stamp proposals are received annually and the process for issuing a stamp can take up to four years.
C. Alfred "Chief," Anderson, known by the world as the "Father of Black Aviation," is revered for his role as lead flight instructor for the Tuskegee Airmen and for his groundbreaking flight with first lady Eleanor Roosevelt in 1941, which helped to secure funding for the Tuskegee Airmen program. During a time when widespread perspective was that African-Americans were incapable of flight, due to a 1925 United States War Department study; Anderson stunned the nation (and Secret Service) with his now famous flight with the first lady.
Having obtained a pilot's license in 1932, Anderson was the only African American in the nation qualified to serve as a flight instructor . The rigorous training programs he soon began employing pushed the boundaries of aviation at the time. Anderson provided instruction at Tuskegee Institute to eager Black pilots--and later White pilots. He instructed countless military and civilian pilots including current Tuskegee Mayor Jhonny Ford and close friend Lionel Richie, who was moved days ago to produce a stirring video in reflection of his relationship with Anderson: tinyurl.com/l6lmctt
Anderson's instruction enabled Tuskegee Airmen aviators to exact thousands of sorties during WWII in the European theater, destroying more than a hundred German aircraft.
Members of the famed unite have received scores of Distinguished Flying Crosses and collectively were presented replicas of the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007, by then President George W. Bush--however a U.S. postal stamp is an honor many have long awaited for the Tuskegee Airmen.
The Chief Anderson USPS stamp will be unveiled during The First-Day-of-Issue dedication ceremony, March 13, Bryn Mawr College, with a slew of special guests:
Members of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen
Christina Anderson, granddaughter of Chief Anderson and Chief Anderson Foundation Executive Director
Bryn Mawr native Gen. Julius Becton (former Director of FEMA),
Tuskegee, Alabama, Mayor Johnny Ford
Members of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc.
Singer Lionel Richie, who was trained by Anderson, and remains close friendship with his family, will deliver personal words in a video tribute
Various Youth and school groups
Youth poet Sekondi Landry of Ashworth College will present a tribute poem written for Chief Anderson
U.S. Postal Service Administrative Law Judge William Campbell, son of Tuskegee Airman William Campbell
The First-Day-of-Issue dedication ceremony is free and open to the public, with help of supporters including: national radio host Tom Joyner, Wells Fargo, Tuskegee University, Navy Federal Credit Union, Bryn Mawr College, Pizza Pirate Wagon, Mayor Johnny Ford, at&t, Ruth Jackson of University of California Riverside Tuskegee Airmen Archives, and Raytheon.
A celebrity benefit concert will follow in the evening, 7:00 p.m., Bryn Mawr College with national recording artist Eric Roberson, Grammy Nominee Ben O’Neill, DJ Beauty and the Beatz; and comedian Rodney Perry (from the Monique Show). Tickets are $25/$75 VIP available online at: www.chiefanderson.com
With less than three weeks remaining, however, until the commemorative events, the Chief Anderson Foundation still needs to raise an excess of $10,000 and is calling on support from the public and additional sponsors. An online campaign has been launched in attempt to raise $10,000 by March 13: http://www.youcaring.com/nonprofits/chief-anderson-usps-stamp-commemoration-legacy-project-/138704