The Board of Supervisors Tuesday honored three members of the Tuskegee Airmen for their heroic service in World War II.
Supervisor Michael Antonovich presented scrolls to the three black fighter pilots who fought as part of the highly decorated Army Air Corps unit.
Nearly 1,000 pilots trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama and roughly 350 were deployed to Europe as part of the 99th Fighter Squadron and the 332nd Fighter Group.
"Between them, (the unit) received over 1,100 military medals," Antonovich said.
They were known as "red tails" -- because some painted the tails of their planes red -- and were the subject of this year's historical action film Red Tails, produced by George Lucas.
The segregated combat unit served as escorts for U.S. bombers and shot down more than 100 enemy aircraft, but still faced intense racism during the war and on returning home.
"After the war, we did not receive the kind of recognition that we should, in our opinion," said airman Ted Lumpkin Jr. receiving a scroll from Antonovich, "but now it's a pleasure to see that everyone is pleased and honored to know that the Tuskegee Airmen are around."
The Tuskegee airmen helped pave the way for then-President Harry S Truman to desegregate the armed forces. The group was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007.
Lumpkin was honored together with fellow pilots Levi Thornhill and Ed Tillmon. The three are members of the Los Angeles Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., a nonprofit organization that keeps alive the memory of the unit's accomplishments, offers scholarships to students and encourages young Americans to be active citizens.
"The Tuskegee Airmen serve as role models and mentors to youth of all ages at schools throughout Los Angeles County," Antonovich said. Winners of a student essay contest sponsored by the nonprofit were also recognized.
"We thank you for bringing these men of honor, these men of valor to our board this morning," Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas told Antonovich. "These are those who fought for our country at a time when our country chose not to fight for them."