Tuskegee Airmen wont fly into Craig Field

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 30, 2008


A planned fly-in and events by the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. will not happen at Craig Field Airport.

The airport board of directors voted last week not to allow the planned events for May 22, which included a Wings and Wheels event at the former Air Force base. The event was to be free to the public and, organizers said, would draw hundreds of tourists from all over the nation.

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On Thursday, Menzo Driskell, executive director of the Craig Field Airport & Industrial Authority notified Negro Airmen International that the board did not approve the project, and they would need to find an alternate location.

Driskell didn&8217;t give a reason for the board&8217;s action in his e-mail to the organizers, which was forwarded to The Selma Times-Journal by B.J. Smothers. Driskell did not respond to an e-mail from the newspaper late Friday, asking him if the board had a reason for its action.

Said Smothers of the action, &8220;Don&8217;t know the reason for the denial but seems pretty short-sighted.&8221;

Earlier last week, Smothers and others, including Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. announced the event &8212; the first of its kind for Selma. The event would bring in many from outside the area for free peeks at the aircraft and show.

Sam Jones, president of the Negro Airmen International, fired back an e-mail to Driskell, expressing his disappointment at the board&8217;s action.

Although the organized Wings and Wheels event won&8217;t be held at Craig Field, Jones said the NAI would fly several aircraft into Craig, and if children want to come out to the field to see the planes and an African-American pilot, they would be welcome.

Jones also said he&8217;d ask the Federal Aviation Administration to look into the board&8217;s decision.