Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tuskegee Airmen

I first learned of these awesome men of color from a friend of mine whose uncle just happened to be one of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. The stories are phenomenal. He requested his name and situation not be used. The historians have been trying to get him to give his history, so far he has refused. But let me just say, "Uncle" became the first African American--that's person of color to fly a commercial airliner in the United States.

Those who flew in the same unit during World War II have a great website at

On 2 July 1943, 99th Fighter Squadron pilots escorted B-25 medium bombers in
an attack on Castelvetrano, Italy. Enemy FW-190 fighters rose to intercept the bombers, and the Tuskegee P-40s intervened. On that day Lt. Charles B. Hall scored the squadron’s first aerial victory. Never before had an African-American fighter pilot in the U.S. armed forces shot down an enemy aircraft.3

On June 9, 1944, Col. Davis led 332d Fighter Group as it escorted bombers of the
304th Bombardment Wing on a raid to Munich, Germany. Over the Udine area of
northeastern Italy, up to 20 enemy fighters challenged the formations, and a series of dogfights ensued. Four of the Tuskegee Airmen shot down five ME-109s that day.
Success was dampened by the fact that one of the Tuskegee flyers failed to return. 332d Fighter Group commander Col. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. earned a Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism that day.12

The combat record of the Tuskegee Airmen
speaks for itself:

. Over 15,000 combat sorties (including 6000+ for the 99th prior to July '44)
· 111 German airplanes destroyed in the air, another 150 on the ground
· 950 railcars, trucks, and other motor vehicles destroyed
· 1 destroyer sunk by P-47 machine gun fire (Lt. Pierson's flight)
· Sixty-six pilots killed in action or accidents
· Thirty-two pilots downed and captured, POWs
· A nearly perfect record of not losing U.S. bombers, a unique achievement
· 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses earned
· 744 Air Medals
· 8 Purple Hearts
· 14 Bronze Stars
These are just a few of the excerpts from the wonderful historical website. Please take some time and read the histories and amazing statistics of these pilots who made a difference to the war effort and international freedom.

War doesn't have a color, race, or personal identification--it is a nation and an ideology /Susan Storm Smith

I hope you have enjyed our historical visit today with a great bunch of guys that made a difference! Be sureto visit the website and let some young folks know some other parts of history that they won't find in their history books.

1 comment:

The Surrendered Scribe said...

I love history, my husband loves aviation and I've watched specials on this great group. THose are amazing pictures.