Movie Helps ECU Air Force ROTC Cadets Learn from the Past

Cadet Austin Clark was among 70 ECU Air Force ROTC students who recently viewed the movie, “Red Tails: An Epic Story of the Tuskegee Airmen.” The movie honors pioneering African American airmen in World War II.

Tickets were provided by the College of Health and Human Performance where Air Force ROTC is housed.

“The movie is a good lesson for our cadets,” said Dr. Glen Gilbert, dean of the College of Health and Human Performance.  “It is important that we all learn from history or as the saying goes, we are doomed to repeat it,” he said.

Clark, a construction management major said the movie “was simply inspirational.”  “It portrayed the historical hardship and triumphs of segregation within the military and World War II,” he said.

Attending with the group was special guest Col. David Stevens, former Air Force pilot and ECU’s first attorney.  Stevens flew a B-25 in World War II.

“The movie brought back many memories of the war,” Stevens said.  “I was fortunate never to have been shot down.  The flights the Red Tails escorted were much hotter than most of mine.  They had a great reputation among the bomber pilots as the movie portrayed,” he said.

After graduating from ECU Stevens went into what was then the Army Air Corps and flew 7,500 hours.  After the war, he went to law school at Chapel Hill and is a member of ECU’s distinguished Military Service Society.

LTC Serena Armstrong, commander of the ECU ROTC Air Force, said, “It is important for the cadets to learn the obstacles these airmen had to overcome and the importance of teamwork.”