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5 Year Old Boy Gets Birthday Surprise Visit From Tuskeegee Airman

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By Jay Michaels

Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV) In January, 4 and a half year old Quinn Thorne saw the movie “Red Tails” about the Tuskeegee Airmen in World War II with his dad, Navy veteran Glen Thorne. Even at Quinn’s young age, the movie made an incredible impact on him, and he began asking African American adults if they were Tuskeegee Airmen.

Glen Thorne says, “I'm amazed at how much passion he's gotten out of it, but I'm not amazed that he's retained the knowledge. His passion, he loves his military.”

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American pilots in the U.S. military. They flew in the U.S. Army Air Corps' 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group during World War II. They painted their P-51 Mustang airplanes' tails red, which is where the name “Red Tails” comes from.

Leonard Yates, Original Tuskeegee Airman, says, "Afterward he was going up to people, pulling on their pants saying, Are you a Tuskeegee Airman? And they would say no. He would ask them, Are you a veteran? And they said yes. He said, thank you for your service."

88 year old Leonard Yates is a Documented Original Tuskeegee Airman. There are only 40 or 50 of the group still alive today. When Yates found out about Quinn, he just had to meet the boy, and flew from Sacramento, California to do that.

And for Quinn, who just turned 5, right now the sky's the limit.

Glen Thorne says, "That's up to Quinn. Whatever he wants to do, I'm going to let him do. He's going to be amazing at whatever he does."

May 23, 2012.


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