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Tuskegee Airmen Honored by Restored PT-19A

Peachtree City, GA. March 7, 2024 CAF Airbase Georgia's recently restored Fairchild PT-19A flew for a Black History Month memorial event at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The ceremony, arranged by Frontier Airlines, honored the memory of Robert Ashby (July 17, 1926 – March 5, 2021), who flew as a Tuskegee Airmen pilot in World War II and became a captain with Frontier Airlines.

Hired by Frontier in 1973, Ashby was one of the first African Americans to work as a pilot for a major commercial airline. Participants at the luncheon included Frontier Airlines employees, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, and the Atlanta Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. U.S. Army veteran Dr. Sheila Chamberlain was the keynote speaker. Two Airbase Georgia members, U.S. Air Force retirees Maj. Gen. George Harrison and Capt. Tom Thompson, flew the plane to Hartsfield-Jackson for the event. Thompson was crew chief for the two-year restoration process.

CAF Airbase Georgia originally acquired the PT-19A in 2006. It flew throughout the Southeast at airshows and fly-ins, offering rides to the public, until it was brought back to the shop for restoration, which started in 2022.

This was the first mission for the recently restored PT-19A. Airbase Georgia research revealed that the aircraft originally was assigned to Moton Field, Ala., in November 1943, where Tuskegee Airmen used it for initial flight training. The new livery reflects this historic part of the aircraft’s history.

About the CAF Airbase Georgia CAF Airbase Georgia, based in Peachtree City, Ga., was founded in 1987. The Airbase is one of the largest units of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). The group maintains and flies six vintage military aircraft including a P-51 Mustang, an FG-1D Corsair, an SBD Dauntless, a P-63A Kingcobra, a PT-19 Cornell, and a T-34 Mentor. Under restoration are an N2S Stearman and a P-47 Thunderbolt. The Airbase, composed of more than 500 volunteer members, is a founding partner of the Georgia WWII Heritage Trail launched in 2021. The Airbase is part of the CAF, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that relies on contributions of time and funds to conduct its mission. For more information, go to https://airbasegeorgia.org/

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