The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Airmen tell experiences from WWII

By Megan Carradine/south news editor

Claude Platte and Robert McDaniel of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen discuss the importance of taking advantage of the many opportunities offered in life.
Casey Holder/The Collegian

“You must understand history, the good, the bad and the ugly, so that you won’t repeat the same mistakes made in history,” a Tuskegee Airman said last week.

Tuskegee Airmen Robert T. McDaniel and Claude R. Platte spoke Feb. 18 on South Campus as part of Black History Month.

Both students and teachers filled the theater to hear the former airmen speak about making history as the first African-American military aviators in the U.S. The afternoon began with a short film that gave a synopsis of the Tuskegee Airmen. After the film, students asked questions for McDaniel and Platte to answer.

The first student asked McDaniel, “What do you believe is your greatest challenge?”

“My greatest challenge is remembering to take every opportunity to encourage young Americans to follow in our footsteps and to remind them to never let anyone tell them what they can or cannot do,” McDaniel said.

Platte said the experience had a strong effect on society.

Student Brittany Thompson gets the autograph of Tuskegee Airman Robert McDaniel, who spoke with a fellow airman Feb. 18 on South Campus. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators.
Casey Holder/The Collegian

“Good things came out of this,” he said. “Tuskegee started out as an experiment, an experiment to prove that African-Americans could not fly an airplane, but we proved them wrong.”

Platte and McDaniel reminded the audience about segregation and how severe it was during their time. They said the world believed African-American people could not do the same things white people could do.

Another student asked Platte, “What advice would you give students and professionals to go to the next level?”

Platte told the audience to try hard and stay committed.

McDaniel jokingly responded, “Do your own homework and turn in your papers, not someone else’s paper.”

Toward the end of the speech, emotions appeared high as McDaniel and Platte expressed their love for their country.

“Being a Tuskegee Airman was not an easy task,” McDaniel said.

“All we wanted to do was to love and protect our country because it was our country too, but the nation did not reciprocate that love.”

With smiles, laughs and tears, the students stood and applauded the Tuskegee Airmen.


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