LI Tuskegee Airman heading to Obama inauguration

A history-maker from Hempstead is ready to witness history yet again.
Eighty-five-year-old William Wheeler's sacrifices and accomplishments earned him a place in American history as one of the first black fighter pilots during World War II. Now, he will be an honored guest at President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration.
?It's a history that I never thought I'd live to see or experience,? says Wheeler.
At 19, Wheeler was an original member of the all-black Tuskegee Airmen. Their mission was to escort bombers and guard them from enemy fighters. But even in combat, the U.S. Military was segregated. The Tuskegee Airmen had to battle prejudice from the same white pilots they were protecting.
But the pioneers of the sky defied stereotypes. They flew more than 16,000 missions and the Germans never shot down a bomber they were protecting.
?We showed that we weren't inferior, that we were as intelligent as any other person,? says Wheeler.
The Tuskegee Airmen's combat record convinced the government to desegregate the military. Now more than 60 years later, the military will answer to its first black commander-in-chief.
?It's a miracle that a black person has been propelled to that degree of power,? says Wheeler.
Wheeler is one of 330 surviving Tuskegee Airmen invited to the inauguration.