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Portion of freeway in San Diego dedicated to Tuskegee Airmen

February 23, 2013 |  8:47 am

Airmen

A three-mile stretch of Interstate 15 near Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego was designated Friday as Tuskegee Airmen Highway to honor the African American pilots and air crew members who served in segregated units during World War II.

The 332nd Fighter Group and 447th Bombardment Group are known collectively for their training site, the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. The units, which won numerous citations for bravery in combat, were comprised of African Americans who otherwise were denied the opportunity to serve because of discrimination.

"The Tuskegee Airmen not only helped defeat fascism overseas, but just as importantly, they broke down the barriers of racism and segregation here in America," said state Sen. Joel Anderson (R-San Diego), who sponsored the legislation that authorized the highway dedication.

In attendance at the dedication were several Tuskegee airmen who now live in San Diego. "We were not just fighting for our country," said Claude Rowe. "We were fighting for our dreams and we were willing to give our lives for it."

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--Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Tuskegee airmen Buford Johnson, left, and Nelson Robinson at Friday's ceremony dedicating a portion of Interstate 15 to honor the Tuskegee pilots and crew members. Credit: Gregory Bull / Associated Press

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