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Denver's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Denver, Colorado | 9NEWS.com

Highway to be named after historic pilots

DENVER - Colorado lawmakers have approved a resolution to name part of I-70 after the country's first African American military pilots.

To honor the service of the Tuskegee Airmen, I-70, from Peoria to York, east of downtown Denver, will be named the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Highway. Many of the airmen make their home in Colorado.The group flew more than 15,000 missions during WWII, winning awards ranging from the Distinguished Flying Cross to the Purple Heart.A few of the original Tuskegee Airmen were at the State Capitol Wednesday as state lawmakers passed the resolution. It authorizes the Colorado Department of Transportation to take donations to pay for signage to place on the highway."It feels great to be able to receive these accolades," said Retired Army Capt.-Tuskegee Airman Samuel C. Hunter Jr. "It's been a long time and it's good that we received them before we left this worldly existence." No taxpayer dollars would be used.The airmen flew at a time when the Army was still segregated. They fought in the Mediterranean Theater, destroying hundreds of enemy aircraft in battles over North Africa and ItalyIn addition to having a place honoring their service here in Colorado, the Tuskegee Airmen's national historic site is at their former training facility in Alabama.Other highway named for people in Colorado include a portion of I-25 in Colorado Springs after Ronald Reagan and I-25 through pueblo after John F. Kennedy.