Tuskegee Airmen monument unveiled in Port Huron

Associated Press

Port Huron – A monument dedicated to Tuskegee Airmen who died in Michigan during World War II training was unveiled Saturday near the international Blue Water Bridge.

Michigan served as an advanced training ground for many graduates of the Tuskegee University pilot training program.

Surviving Tuskegee airmen and their descendants attended the event in Port Huron, part of a three-day celebration that recognized the accomplishments of America’s first Black military pilots.

Fifteen Tuskegee airmen were killed while training in Michigan, including five pilots lost in Lake Huron and one in the St. Clair River, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Wreckages from two planes have been found in the river and the lake. In 2014, the remains of a P-39 aircraft were found in Lake Huron, 70 years after it crashed. The body of 2nd Lt. Frank Moody washed ashore a few months after the April 1944 crash.

A section of wreckage of a P-39 is shown Aug. 11, 2015, at the bottom of Lake Huron.

A dive team spent a week in Lake Huron in 2015 surveying the wreckage.

“He was my buddy. I knew him personally,” Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson, who attended the event in Port Huron, said of Moody.

The plane’s wing, landing gear, engine block, tail, propeller, cockpit door, instrument panel, 50-caliber machine guns and ammunition are being restored and will become an exhibit sponsored by the National Tuskegee Airmen Museum in Detroit.

At least three other planes flown by Tuskegee Airmen remain in Lake Huron, according to Diving With a Purpose, a Tennessee-based group that focuses on the maritime history of Black Americans.