Since our current exhibit in honor of the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, “Sunnyvale during the Wars”, opened only shortly before the museum had to close, not many visitors have seen it yet. Once we open our doors again, come over to have a look. Among a wealth of artifacts, you will find the photo of Sunnyvale resident Stanley Harris, who was a Squadron Pilot with the Tuskegee Airmen.
The all-Black 99th Fighter Squadron cadets were trained at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Of the 966 aviators trained there, 450 Black fighter pilots flew missions over Europe and North Africa as bomber escorts. These red-tailed P-51 Mustangs protected the heavy bombers that were vulnerable to attack by enemy fighter planes. Thirty-two of the Tuskegee airmen were captured and sixty-six killed. The heroes received 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses and Legions of Merit.
Between 1943 and 1945, Stanley Harris flew 77 missions in a P-51 Mustang. After the war, he worked as an electrical engineer at Lockheed Martin, while his wife Juanita became a librarian and served at the Sunnyvale Public Library for almost 40 years. Harris was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal posthumously in 2007.
By Katharina Woodman