Gov. Pat Quinn joined local leaders Monday to dedicate the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Trail honoring the 332nd Fighter Group’s service during World War II.
The dedication celebrates the Airmen’s commitment to the U.S. and their significant place in black history, Quinn said. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American pilots to fly for the U.S. military.
“As Illinois observes Black History Month, I am proud to honor these men as an important part of Black history and American history,” Quinn said in a statement. “It is important to recognize our men and women who sacrificed to so much defend our rights. Their service to our country will always be remembered."
The Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Trail stretches from Sauk Trail Road to Wentworth Avenue on Interstate 57 in Chicago.
Formally known as the 332nd Fighter Group, the group earned more than 900 citations by the end of the war, including 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses. Having the longest bomber escort mission of World War II, the group earned eight Purple Hearts, 14 Bronze Stars and 744 Air Medals.