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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


UCM Aviation Welcomes First Redtail Aircraft

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (Aug. 27, 2015) – The University of Central Missouri’s Department of Aviation and the Heart of America Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen celebrated the joint vision of a bright future for aviation Thursday morning at UCM’s Max B. Swisher Skyhaven Airport west of Warrensburg.

Joined by UCM faculty, staff, students and members of the public, the two groups gathered in Hangar 3 at Skyhaven Airport as the newest of UCM’s fleet of training aircraft, a Cessna Skyhawk 172S, was taxied into view, delivered by Cody Honeyman, director of fleet sales of piston aircraft for Textron Aviation, Wichita, Kan., the parent company of Cessna.

The Redtail Cessna 172
The red tail of the Cessna Skyhawk 172 training aircraft delivered to UCM’s Max B. Swisher Skyhaven Airport will become the symbol of The Redtails, UCM’s student aviatiors.

The unique feature of the plane was the red tail, painted at the request of UCM Aviation by Cessna employees, donating their time, with materials donated by DuPont Aviation Finishes. The arrival of the first red-tailed plane establishes the new identity of the UCM aviation students and the university’s competitive aviation team as The Redtails, also the nickname of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American U.S. Army Air Corps squadron that served during World War II.

Tony Monetti, assistant dean of aviation and executive director of  UCM’s Max B. Swisher Skyhaven Airport, explained that the red tail on the plane was significant, not only because red is UCM’s primary school color, but also because it is a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen and their current close relationship with UCM aviation.

Monetti introduced four members of the Heart America Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen who were present for the ceremony. Those in attendance were Ormer Rogers, past president of the Heart of America chapter; George Dunmore, public relations officer with the Heart of America chapter; Jack Adams, secretary of the Heart of American chapter; and aviation artist Kermit Dyer.

“We have a strong team here at UCM that encourages and enables our aviation students to learn to greater degree,” Monetti said. “Our goal is to encourage them to take their education one step further and to use the strengths and skills they gain here at UCM for service to others. I can’t think of any greater example of that service than the service the Tuskegee Airmen, The Redtails, provided to their country.”

Redtail Plane delivery group
Celebrating the arrival of UCM’s first Redtail aircraft were, left to right, George Dunmore; Ormer Rogers; Tony Monetti; Roger Best, dean of the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies; Deborah Curtis, provost and chief learning officer; Jack Adams; UCM President Chuck Ambrose; Cameron Duthoy, vice president of the UCM Aviation Student Leaders; Zach Morgan, president of the UCM Aviation Student Leaders; and Cody Honeyman, Textron Aviation.

Rogers, past president of the Heart of American chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen and a Vietnam veteran with the 42nd Airborne Division, noted that the continued relationship with UCM Aviation not only has provided increased awareness of the history of the Tuskegee Airmen and their legacy as The Redtails, but also has allowed the group’s current membership to expand its goals.

“We have reached the point where we need to redefine ourselves,” Rogers said. “We have three of the original members of the Tuskegee Airman still with us as members of our chapter—they’re all in their 90s—but we’ve lost most of the original squadron that served during World War II. We will continue working to keep the legacy of the Airmen alive, but we also want expand our opportunities to encourage young people to enter the field of aviation.”

He added that the strong relationship between UCM Aviation and the Heart of America chapter is key to reaching that goal.

“We can provide the encouragement, and UCM can provide the opportunities,” he said.

UCM President Chuck Ambrose noted that things had changed in American society in the 50 years since the Tuskegee Airmen served the United State so bravely, but were denied many basic privileges of daily life once they returned home. He added that UCM is proud to be a part of the continuing legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.

“It’s the legacy that the Tuskegee Airmen have created for generations to come that matters,” Ambrose said, “and it’s the people who came before us who had the vision to create the aviation program at UCM. That legacy will help us continue to build future opportunities for young aviators.”

The Redtail plane is one of two Cessna Skyhawk172 single engine and two Beechcraft Baron twin engines planes that will be purchased by the UCM aviation program to maintain state-of-the-art equipment in a continuing effort to provide excellent professional training and valuable experience for UCM aviation graduates.

For more information about UCM Aviation degree program and opportunities, contact the Department Aviation at 660-543-4969, or visit