CHARLOTTE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wells Fargo recently joined with LucasFilm (George Lucas) as the official financial institution sponsor of the motion picture “Red Tails”. Releasing today, the film highlights the specific achievements of the unsung Tuskegee Airmen who were among the first African Americans to serve as fighter pilots in the U.S. Armed Forces.
“It's an untold story that will inspire and educate many, and hopefully remind us that we are more alike than different,” says Anthony Hemingway, director of Red Tails. “We are thankful that Wells Fargo is taking part in getting this story told.”
Wells Fargo is proud to honor the legacy of two former Tuskegee Airmen who joined the company following their exemplary military careers. Col. George S. Roberts and Lt. Col. James A. Walker worked as personal bankers for Wells Fargo, where they continued their commitment to hard work, dedication and teamwork. As part of a special Black History Month celebration series, Wells Fargo will salute the legacies of both through radio, print and digital advertisements. Exhibits honoring Roberts and Walker will be unveiled at Wells Fargo History Museums across the U.S.
The Red Tails sponsorship created a unique opportunity for the company to support the telling of an important story in U.S. history. Beginning in December 2011, Wells Fargo sponsored several promotional screenings of the film across the country. During the San Francisco screening, community influencers and Wells Fargo team members were joined by members of the Roberts and Walker families.
“As we acknowledge the contributions of African Americans during Black History Month, it’s exciting to celebrate these dynamic servicemen for their bravery in the face of many obstacles,” said Michelle A. Thornhill, senior vice president and African American segment manager for Wells Fargo. “I am personally proud that Wells Fargo shares such a special connection to an extremely significant moment in African American history, and happy that we can work with LucasFilm to tell this story.”
The company also sponsored the red carpet movie premier in New York City, as well as the Tom Joyner Morning Show–Red Tails Sky Show event. During the show, Roberts and Walker were featured as part of the popular “Little Known Black History Fact” segment.
About Walker and Roberts
Lt. Col. James A. Walker trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field as part of the pilot graduating class of 1943. He was assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group, whose major action was escorting bombers. After flying more than 80 missions, Walker’s fighter was shot down over Yugoslavia in July 1944. Walker evaded capture behind enemy lines for 39 days until rescued with other downed Allied pilots and air crew. He returned to active duty, and flew 102 combat missions in all. Following his 20 year military career, he joined Wells Fargo Bank in 1964 as a credit officer in Hayward, Calif, and was one of the original personal banking officers. He retired in 1979 and died in 2004.
Col. George S. “Spanky” Roberts was a member of the first graduating class of African American fighter pilots. Roberts joined the 99th Pursuit squadron, and on June 1, 1942, became the first African American commander of that squadron, which saw action in North Africa and Italy. He flew over 100 missions with the 99th and 332nd fighter Squadrons during World War II and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, as well as many other awards. After 26 years of distinguished military service, Roberts embarked upon a second career as a banker and spent 14 successful years with the company before he retired in 1982. The aviation pioneer died in 1984.
Editor’s note: Captioned photos for editorial use.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet (wellsfargo.com and wachovia.com), and other distribution channels across North America and internationally. With more than 270,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in America. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 23 on Fortune’s 2011 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially.
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