Southern Company Executive Receives Most Prestigious Tuskegee Airmen Award

The Tuskegee Airmen Foundation will bestow the Distinguished Service Award upon Charles McCrary, president and CEO of Alabama Power Company, a subsidiary of Southern Company, August 17, 6:00 p.m., Ballroom Hyatt Regency Ballroom (265 Peachtree St. NE).

This is a rare award, and is the highest award given by the Tuskegee Airmen at their annual convention. It also marks the first time someone outside the Tuskegee Airmen family has received this prestigious honor.

"Through his work with Southern Company, Mr. McCrary has exhibited a sincere commitment to community, and to improving quality of life by enhancing educational opportunities for entire populations," said Colonel Charles McGee, executive director of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. "At Alabama Power, staff and all other resources available are heavily utilized to generate learning experiences for the general public. His actions speak loudly to the dedication to knowledge held by the Tuskegee Airmen organization."

Integrally involved in the Birmingham community, McCrary is chairman of the Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce. He serves as chairman of the Metropolitan Arts Council and on the boards of AmSouth Bancorporation, Business Council of Alabama, Children's Hospital, State of Alabama Archives and History Foundation, Boy Scouts of America, Birmingham Urban Revitalization Partnership and Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation. He also is a member of the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council.

Nationally, he serves on the boards of the Center for Energy and Economic Development and National Association of Manufacturers, as co-chair of the Coal Utilization Research Council and on the Environmental Policy Committee of the Edison Electric Institute.

America's first African-American military airmen, the Tuskegee Airmen volunteered to become America's first black military airmen. In 1941, the pilots were trained within the segregated U.S. military to see if blacks could fly in combat. In the end, the answer was a resounding yes. This debunked the belief held by many Americans that blacks lacked the intellectual and physical ability to fly an aircraft.

In total, 450 African-American fighter pilots, under the command of Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. fought gallantly in the aerial war over North Africa, Sicily and Europe. Flying the P-51 Mustang, not one allied bomber was lost to enemy aircraft during the group's escort missions. The success of the Airmen on more than 15,000 sorties and 1,500 missions led to the integration of U.S. armed forces in 1948. This was also a first step toward racial integration in the United States.


SOURCE: Alabama Power Company

CONTACT: Chris Bazuaye of Jesse J. Lewis & Associates, +1-205-930-9393,
for Alabama Power, or Colonel Charles McGee of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.,