Terrence Howard on the 'Red Tails' Tuskegee Airmen: 'These guys were real heroes'

Terrence-Howard.jpgTerrence Howard has nothing but admiration for the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black pilots in the U.S. military who helped the country fight Nazis during World War II.

Howard stars in "Red Tails," the George Lucas-produced film about the Airmen, and says he was touched when some of the veterans visited the set. "These guys were real heroes, and real heroes don't brag about their exploits," Howard tells the Philadelphia Inquirer. "That's why very few people know that they helped save the world."

It's a story that Howard has felt very close to since childhood.

"I'd written reports about them in 1974, 1975, for my dad. That's how my daddy would discipline us," Howard tells the Inquirer. "My dad was big on education, so I grew up knowing about the black pilots who shot down Nazi jets, and flew the P-51 Mustang. For me, the Mustang was always the airplane, not the car."

Much like Lucas, who spent more than two decades and millions of his own dollars getting the film made, Howard is happy the Tuskegee Airmen story is finally being told.

"If these airmen didn't do the things they were able to do, I promise you there is every chance the Axis powers would have found a way to survive," he says. "They were developing weapons systems that could have turned the tide of the war."
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