Michael Joseph with TAI Chapter President Lt. Col. Clayton F. Lawrence in Brooklyn in 2003
The Tuskegee Airmen formed a public service organization, TAI, in 1972. The World War II heroes had been largely denied a place in American history to an extent that their children's tales of their exploits were met with disbelief, teachers saying "It not in any book I've ever read, it never happened." Michael Joseph was sworn into TAI by his cousin NYS Judge George Fleary in 1987, joining the effort to bring to light the accomplishments of the forgotten heroes. He participated in Captain Claude B. Govan Chapter events then in 1988 moved to Atlanta where he joined the Atlanta Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Incorporated. Michael returned to NY State in 1995 and began planning Tuskegee Airmen chapter visits, the first being in 1997. Subsequent visits occurred and Michael, local volunteers, and the TAI chapters partnered to make memorable experiences for community residents in Corning, Elmira, Tioga, and surrounding areas.
An engineer with over 8 US several & international patents, Michael developed a Tuskegee Airmen tribute car, dubbed Faithful Pursuit, #47. Michael, his team, and Faithful Pursuit have taken to the road and shared the Tuskegee Airmen's message with thousands of people across the United States. The concept of a Tribute car for the black pilots and crews was born in 1979 when Michael learned of their existence. The drawing of the concept was begin in 1981 and completed in 1982. The build began in 1993 and was approved by the Claude B. Govan Chapter of TAI, see photo above, in 2003. The car was dedicated to the Tuskegee Airmen who attended the ceremony in force, 7, at the Wings of Eagles Discovery Center on 24 April 2004.
Museum Executive Director Michael Hall, MGen USAF, Retired, performed the dedication. Michael served as event chairman coordinating the dozens of volunteers for the event which hosted over 200 guests and raised over $5,000.
2004 Return of the Tuskegee Airmen Event newspaper article