Real-life Tuskegee airman proud of publicity from 'Red Tails'



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Posted on January 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

DALLAS - Col. Lloyd McKeethen remembers his 30-year career in the Air Force with pride, and it's that same pride he feels when he thinks about the movie Red Tails and the publicity the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black fighter pilots, are getting because of it.

A test pilot and trainer, McKeethen has been stationed all over the world, but he began his flight career at Tuskegee.

"I didn't think about it at the time. What I wanted to do was fly," he said. "I didn't aspire to be an infantry guy or a parachuter or something like that; that's not what I wanted. I wanted to fly."

And it's that same pride he feels when he thinks about the movie Red Tails and the new publicity the elite Tuskegee Airmen — America's first black fighter pilots — are getting because of it.

McKeethen has now seen Red Tails twice. He said he's happy this portion is being revisited in honor of the pilots who fought in World War II.

"I think the movie is great," he said, while conceding that some of Hollywood's depiction is inaccurate.

"This movie is not about cadets; it's just about flying," he said.

But McKeethen is not upset that the "big screen" took a bit of creative license with the movie, because he knows it's a big part of history — the awards, the valor of these men.

"To find out that the Tuskegee Airmen did a great job is a very nice job, and that's all they want them to tell us," he said. "They know it know that the Tuskegee Airmen did their mission."

The question now is: How will the latest George Lucas film perform at the box office? It has the top-notch director, big name stars and a large online campaign.