“They fought two wars,” reads the top of the new U.S. coin honoring the legendary Tuskegee Airmen. With foundations at Tuskegee University in Alabama, the airmen are credited with having the best loss records on combat missions as air escorts, destroying 260 enemy aircraft, and accumulating 850 medals for their service and valor. Read the story below for more on the value of seeing these brave men on a U.S. coin.
The United States Mint honors its final issue of its popular America the Beautiful Quarters Program by honoring the Tuskegee Airmen. The coin which had a Feb. 1 release date was issued on Monday due to an increased demand for circulating coins.
The new quarter displays the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, Moton Field which pays homage to nearly 1,000 Black military pilots and more than 15,000 support staff who trained in Tuskegee during World War II.
According to the Mint, the design depicts a pilot with the Tuskegee Airmen suiting up to join the fight during World War II with the Moton Field control tower in the background. The pilot looks upward with pride and confidence as two P-51 Mustangs pass overhead. “They fought two wars” is arced across the top as a reference to the “dual battles the Tuskegee Airmen fought–fascism abroad and racial discrimination at home.”
On the other side is a 1932 portrait of George Washington by John Flanagan with the inscriptions “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “LIBERTY” and “IN GOD WE TRUST,” said the Mint.
“The legacy of our famed Tuskegee Airmen is forever marked with the release of the newly issued quarter by the U.S. Mint dedicated in their honor,” said Interim President, Dr. Charlotte P. Morris. “These sons and daughters of Mother Tuskegee fought battles, both in air and on land. They served our country with pride and dedication. This is a deserving recognition.”
According to the Bureau of the Federal Department of Treasury the Quarters Program was launched in 2010 and has highlighted a series of 56 quarter-dollar coins with tail-side designs depicting national parks and other national sites. The coins were released in the order the sites officially become a national historic site or park – the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site was established in 1998.
Moton Field was recognized as the only primary flight training facility for African American pilot candidates in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Thus, the facility symbolizes the entrance of African American pilots into the Army Air Corps and the singular role of Tuskegee Institute in providing economic and educational resources to make that entry possible, although on a segregated basis.