Tuskegee Airman to receive medal

MONTICELLO, MS (AP) - Former Tuskegee Airman Johnny C. Whitfield of Monticello was to be presented Friday with the Congressional Gold Medal.

U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., was to make the presentation during an event at the Lawrence County Courthouse.

The elite medal has been given selectively since 1776, when George Washington was awarded the first. Other honorees include the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Rosa Parks and the Dalai Lama. The Tuskegee Airmen, the first group of black fighter pilots, received the medal in 2007.

Whitfield was a senior master sergeant with the Tuskegee Airmen.

Almost 1,000 pilots trained as a segregated Army Air Corps unit in Tuskegee, Ala., during World War II. The Tuskegee Airmen were known as the "Red Tails" for the color of the tails of their fighters.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.