Minneapolis, Minn. – The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Red Tail Squadron, America’s tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, today announced that Bill Shepard has been promoted to Squadron Leader. Shepard has been an outstanding volunteer and advocate for the organization since 2009, piloting the Squadron’s P-51C Mustang around the country and speaking to thousands about the importance of the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. He succeeds current Squadron Leader Brad Lang, who has served in the position for five years.
“We value Brad’s years of excellent leadership and thank him for being an integral player as the organization has built the RISE ABOVE program,” said Stephan Brown, president of the Commemorative Air Force. “The selection of Bill Shepard to take on this important role was a wonderful choice. He has shown great skill and dedication in his years with the CAF Red Tail Squadron and we look forward to his continued success as he implements his own vision for leadership and growth.”
The CAF Red Tail Squadron Leader is not only responsible for the organization’s operations and management, but is charged with ensuring the Squadron’s commitment to the Tuskegee Airmen, and the vision of its founder, the late Don Hinz, is robust and continues to grow.
“The experience I’ve garnered in my career, as well as my time as an aviator and volunteer, has equipped me for this new responsibility. But more importantly, I have profound respect for the Tuskegee Airmen. It is my duty to honor these inspirational heroes through our incredible educational outreach initiatives, which Brad Lang has so expertly put in place,” said Shepard. “My goal is to build upon the leadership before me to ensure the CAF Red Tail Squadron remains sustainable, becomes more streamlined and increases its impact on the communities we engage with so people of all ages can be inspired by and benefit from the lessons of the Tuskegee Airmen.”
Shepard is the manager of supply chain management for Fortune Minerals, and is also the firm’s manager of community engagement, bringing business acumen and a talent for community relations to the role of Squadron Leader. He holds a degree in Industrial Management and has over 20 years of previous experience in the automotive and aerospace industries. In addition to his volunteer service with the CAF Red Tail Squadron, he has held leadership positions with the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association, Tuskegee Airmen National Museum and the Urban Pilots Network.
The CAF Red Tail Squadron would also like to thank Lang for his extraordinary volunteer service to the organization. Under his leadership, Lang has overseen the rapid expansion of the Squadron’s educational outreach efforts, including the debut of the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit. Himself the son of an original Tuskegee Airman, Lang leaves a lasting impact on the mission of the Red Tail Squadron to educate audiences around the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.
“I’ve enjoyed many experiences as the CAF Red Tail Squadron leader, especially interacting with our supporters. The looks of astonishment and admiration after the crowds have experienced the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit or the P-51C Mustang are wonderful. These moments illuminate how history can still captivate the public’s attention,” said Lang. “I have great respect for Bill Shepard. He has demonstrated that he understands the importance of inspiring new generations and is deeply committed to preserving the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.”
About the CAF Red Tail Squadron
The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Their three-fold outreach program includes an authentic, fully restored WWII-era P-51C Mustang, the signature aircraft of the Tuskegee Airmen; the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit 53’ mobile theater featuring the original panoramic film “Rise Above”; and educational materials and programs for teachers and youth leaders. The CAF Red Tail Squadron is part of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). To learn more about the organization, its mission or to become a donor, visit www.redtail.org or follow the Squadron on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cafredtailsquadron.
Article Courtesy of Moreno Aguiari, Commemorative Air Force; Photo courtesy of Ken Mist