Red Tail Reborn

Red Tail Reborn premiered February 2008.

Pilots during WWIICol. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. (left) and an unidentified Tuskegee Airman during World War II.
Amidst the racial naysayers during WWII, the first African-American fighter pilots were commissioned in 1941 to help defend distressed bombers in the European theater. Known as the Tuskegee Airmen, these forgotten pilots fought with bravery and skill to save lives and prevent the loss of bombers to enemy fighters.

The Red Tail Project is a group of men and women who honored the Airmen by touring air shows with a restored P-51C Mustang, the famous roaring fighter plane flown in WWII combat. Their goal was to make the Tuskegee Airmen a household name, but like the men they honored, the Red Tail Project also faced adversity. In 2004 their flying homage to the Airmen crashed, killing pilot and project leader Don Hinz.

Red Tail Reborn, narrated by Michael Dorn, is a tale of inspiration. Historic interviews, unprecedented access, and emotional honesty bring to light the tale of the Airmen, and of those who honor them. The Tuskegee Airmen showed the world what hope, determination and hard work could do, and the Red Tail Project took those lessons to heart as they recovered from a lost aircraft and a lost friend.

Filmmaker’s statement:

For most of my life I have never had a driving desire to do a documentary about the Tuskegee Airmen. I reiterate: most of my life. That changed a few years ago, due in no small measure to the efforts of Don Hinz and the Red Tail Project.

P-51C Mustang Don Hinz in the P-51C Mustang “Tuskegee Airmen,” one day before the crash.
In 2002 I was busy filming my first documentary, The Restorers. While filming a story about a B-17G bomber, a red tailed P-51C Mustang landed, making a fuel stop while traveling cross-country. It was my great pleasure at that time to meet her pilot, Doug Rozendaal, and begin the journey.

Two years later, I was told that Mustang had crashed, killing pilot Don Hinz. While I had never had the pleasure of meeting Don, his passion for the project had already infected me. I knew I had to “do something” with this story.

Having just done a movie about aircraft restoration, I naturally started prepping Red Tail Reborn as an aircraft restoration story, concentrating on the P-51C. As I dug into it though, much more revealed itself to me. Being interested in aviation and history, I knew about the Tuskegee Airmen, but only in a marginal way. I really never knew the details. The more I learned, the more I realized how much of this story needed to be told.

Benjamin O DavisCol. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., Commanding Officer of the 332nd Fighter Group.
One of the local PBS stations agreed to broadcast the film after completion; that was the first step down the long road. I felt the next was for me to shore up on my Airmen knowledge. I went to four different big-box book stores, looking for any books about the Airmen. I couldn’t find one book. Not one. The real shocker was that I couldn’t find a book about the Airmen and it was February – Black History Month.

It is true that some books and films have been made about the Tuskegee Airmen, but the work is not finished. Not by a long shot. While it is my hope that Red Tail Reborn will be embraced by the warbird and airshow faithful, I’m looking for a broader audience. It is my hope that Red Tail Reborn will find its way to the general public – to the masses that do not know about the Airmen from Tuskegee. I wish to help the process that the Red Tail Project and Don Hinz set in motion: to bring to everyone the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, and of those who sacrifice to tell their tale.

Red Tail Reborn was produced by Hemlock Films.

For more information information about the film, its participants and the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, visit RedTailReborn.com.

To learn more about the Red Tail Project, which provides an opportunity for the public to meet the Tuskegee Airmen and see the historic P-51 Mustang, visit RedTail.org.

 

Funded by:

Parker

Produced by:

Hemlock films

 
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