Fort Rucker Public Affairs
Fort Rucker, AL | February 9, 2012
Members of the Fort Rucker community gathered at the post exchange Feb. 3 to kick off the annual celebration of Black History Month.
The event was highlighted by a meet and greet with retired Lt. Col. Herbert E. Carter of the 99th Fighter Squadron, Tuskegee Airmen.
Situated in front of Carter were a group of sixth graders from the Fort Rucker Elementary School. Hunter Lukacz, who drew a "Red Tail," the nickname given to the aircraft flown by the 99th Fighter Squadron, presented the drawing to Carter and thanked him for all he has done for the country. All sixth grade students and teachers signed the drawing.
Dr. Vicki Gilmer, principal of the school, also thanked Carter for the "marvelous service he has provided for our country and for the great example he has set for our students."
The students were abuzz talking about the event, Gilmer said, adding that sixth grade student Kyle Reese said that he enjoyed the part about how Carter met his wife, Mildred, and how they were both pilots. Mildred became the first female pilot to join the state's Civil Air Patrol Squadron in 1942, Gilmer said. The two would fly their planes and meet over Lake Martin.
"It was extraordinary. It's not every day you get to meet a real American hero," said Jade Shiffer, sixth grade student, said.
All 68 students were able to shake hands with Carter and thank him for his visit.