By Dewayne Bevil, Orlando Sentinel
1:10 PM EDT, May 6, 2013
The Orlando Science Center is planning a monument-groundbreaking event that will honor Red Tail pilots of the Tuskegee Airmen at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Three Red Tail pilots from World War II are scheduled to be in attendance. Leo Gray, George Hardy and Hiram Mann, who all now live in Central Florida, were part of the group of African-American military aviators trained in Tuskegee, Ala., who went on to fly with distinction. On top of battle conditions, the men also faced racial discrimination.
"Red Tail" refers to the paint on the tail of the unit's aircraft.
The monument, expected to be installed late this year, will be a 12-foot spire that leads up to the shapes of four airplanes in the "missing man" formation. It will sit on a 5-foot base in a flower bed on the east side of the science center, facing Loch Haven Park.
The monument is designed to inspire academic success in science, technology, engineering and math fields, especially aviation. The Red Tails will be presented as "heroes and role models for the next generation," says Jeff Stanford, science center spokesman.
Also expected to attend are Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, City Commissioner Robert F. Stuart and Orlando Science Center President JoAnn Newman.
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