Tuskegee Airmen Explained

Unit Name:Tuskegee Airmen (unofficial)
Dates:1940–1946
Country:United States
Branch:United States Army Air Corps
United States Army Air Forces
United States Air Force
Role:Fighter unit
Command Structure:332nd Fighter Group (99th Pursuit Squadron, 100th Pursuit Squadron, 301st Pursuit Squadron, 302nd Pursuit Squadron), 477th Medium Bombardment Group (616th Bombardment Squadron, 617th Bombardment Squadron, 618th Bombardment Squadron, 619th Bombardment Squadron)
Nickname:Red Tails
Red-Tail Angels
Motto:Spit Fire
Battles:World War II

The Tuskegee Airmen [1] is the popular name of a group of African American pilots who fought in World War II. Formally, they formed the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the U.S. Army Air Corps.

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the United States armed forces. During World War II, African Americans in many U.S. states still were subject to the Jim Crow laws. The American military was racially segregated, as was much of the federal government. The Tuskegee Airmen were subjected to racial discrimination, both within and outside the army. Despite these adversities, they trained and flew with distinction. Primarily made up of African Americans, there were also five Tuskegee Airmen of Haitian descent.

Although the 477th Bombardment Group "worked up" on North American B-25 Mitchell bombers, they never served in combat; the Tuskegee 332nd Fighter Group was the only operational unit, first sent overseas as part of Operation Torch, then seeing action in Sicily and Italy, before being deployed as bomber escorts in Europe, where they were particularly successful in virtually all their missions.[2]

The Tuskegee Airmen initially were equipped with Curtiss P-40 Warhawks fighter-bomber aircraft, briefly with Bell P-39 Airacobras (March 1944), later with Republic P-47 Thunderbolts (June–July 1944), and finally with the aircraft with which they became most commonly associated, the North American P-51 Mustang (July 1944). When the pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group painted the tails of their P-47s and later, P-51s, red, the nickname "Red Tails" was coined. Bomber crews applied a more effusive "Red-Tail Angels" sobriquet.[3]

Origins

See also: Civilian Pilot Training Program.

Background

Before the Tuskegee Airmen, no African American had been a U.S. military pilot. In 1917, African American men had tried to become aerial observers, but were rejected.[4] African American Eugene Bullard served as one of the members of the Franco-American Lafayette Escadrille, but he was denied the opportunity to transfer to American military units as a pilot when the other American pilots in the unit were offered the chance. Instead, Bullard returned to infantry duty with the French.[5]

The racially motivated rejections of World War I African American recruits sparked over two decades of advocacy by African Americans who wished to enlist and train as military aviators. The effort was led by such prominent civil rights leaders as Walter White of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, labor union leader A. Philip Randolph, and Judge William H. Hastie. Finally, on 3 April 1939, Appropriations Bill Public Law 18 was passed by Congress containing an amendment designating funds for training African American pilots. The War Department managed to put the money into funds of civilian flight schools willing to train black Americans.[4]

War Department tradition and policy mandated the segregation of African Americans into separate military units staffed by white officers, as had been done previously with the 9th Cavalry, 10th Cavalry, 24th Infantry Regiment and 25th Infantry Regiment. When the appropriation of funds for aviation training created opportunities for pilot cadets, their numbers diminished the rosters of these older units.[6] A further series of legislative moves by the United States Congress in 1941 forced the Army Air Corps to form an all-black combat unit, despite the War Department's reluctance.

Due to the restrictive nature of selection policies, the situation did not seem promising for African Americans since, in 1940, the U.S. Census Bureau reported there were only 124 African American pilots in the nation.[7] The exclusionary policies failed dramatically when the Air Corps received an abundance of applications from men who qualified, even under the restrictive requirements. Many of the applicants already had participated in the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP), in which the historically black Tuskegee Institute had participated since 1939.[8]

Testing

The U.S. Army Air Corps had established the Psychological Research Unit 1 at Maxwell Army Air Field, Montgomery, Alabama, and other units around the country for aviation cadet training, which included the identification, selection, education, and training of pilots, navigators, and bombardiers. Psychologists employed in these research studies and training programs used some of the first standardized tests to quantify IQ, dexterity and leadership qualities to select and train the best-suited personnel for the roles of bombardier, navigator, and pilot. The Air Corps determined that the existing programs would be used for all units, including all-black units. At Tuskegee, this effort continued with the selection and training of the Tuskegee Airmen. In an effort to subvert the unit before it could commence operations, the War Department set up a system to accept only those with a level of flight experience or higher education intended to exclude most applicants. This ensured that only the most able and intelligent were able to join.

The First Lady's flight

The budding flight program at Tuskegee received a publicity boost when First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt inspected it in March 1941, and subsequently flew with African American chief civilian instructor C. Alfred "Chief" Anderson. Anderson, who had been flying since 1929, and was responsible for training thousands of rookie pilots, took his prestigious passenger on a half-hour flight in a Waco biplane. After landing, she cheerfully announced, "Well, you can fly all right."[9]

The subsequent brouhaha over the First Lady's flight had such an impact it is often mistakenly cited as the start of the CPTP at Tuskegee, even though the program was already five months old. Eleanor Roosevelt used her position as a trustee of the Julius Rosenwald Fund to arrange a loan of $175,000 to purchase the land for Moton Field.[9]

Formation

On 19 March 1941, the 99th Pursuit Squadron was activated at Chanute Field in Rantoul, Illinois.[10] [11] A cadre of 271 enlisted men were trained at Chanute in aircraft ground support trades, beginning in July 1941; the skills being taught were so technical that setting up segregated classes was deemed impossible. This small number of enlisted men became the core of other black squadrons forming at Tuskegee and Maxwell Fields in Alabama.[12]

The Tuskegee program began officially in June 1941 with the 99th Pursuit Squadron at the Tuskegee Institute.[13] [14] The unit consisted of 47 officers and 429 enlisted men,[15] and was backed by an entire service arm. After basic training at Moton Field, they were moved to the nearby Tuskegee Army Air Field, about 10 mi (16 km) to the west for conversion training onto operational types. Consequently, Tuskegee became the only Army installation performing all four phases of pilot training at a single location. Initial planning called for 500 personnel in residence at a time.[16] By mid-1942, over six times that many were stationed at Tuskegee, even though only two squadrons were training there.[17]

Tuskegee Army Airfield was a replica of already-existing airfields reserved for training white pilots, such as Maxwell Field, only 40miles distant.[18] With African American contractors McKissack and McKissack, Inc. in charge of the contract, 2,000 workmen from their company, the Alabama Works Progress Administration, and the U.S. Army built the airfield in only six months. The construction was budgeted at $1,663,057.[19] The airmen were placed under the command of Captain Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., one of only two black line officers then serving.

During training, the 99th Fighter Squadron was commanded by white and Puerto Rican officers,[20] beginning with Major James Ellison. Ellison made great progress in organizing the construction of the facilities needed for the military program at Tuskegee. However, he was transferred on 12 January 1942, reputedly because of his insistence that his African American sentries and Military Police had police authority over local Caucasian civilians.[21]

His successor, Colonel Frederick von Kimble, then oversaw operations at the Tuskegee airfield. Contrary to new Army regulations, Kimble maintained segregation on the field in deference to local customs in the state of Alabama, a policy that was resented by the airmen.[18] Later that year, the Air Corps replaced Kimble. His replacement had been the director of instruction at Tuskegee Army Airfield, Major Noel F. Parrish.[22] Counter to the prevalent racism of the day, Parrish was fair and open-minded and petitioned Washington to allow the Tuskegee Airmen to serve in combat.[23]

The strict racial segregation the U.S. Army required gave way in the face of the requirements for complex training in technical vocations. Typical of the process was the development of separate African American flight surgeons to support the operations and training of the Tuskegee Airmen.[24] Before the development of this unit, no U.S. Army flight surgeons had been black. Training of African American men as aviation medical examiners was conducted through correspondence courses until 1943, when two black physicians were admitted to the U.S. Army School of Aviation Medicine at Randolph Field, Texas. This was one of the earliest racially integrated courses in the U.S. Army. Seventeen flight surgeons served with the Tuskegee Airmen from 1941 through 1949. At that time, the typical tour of duty for a U.S. Army flight surgeon was four years. Six of these physicians lived under field conditions during operations in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. The chief flight surgeon to the Tuskegee Airmen was Vance H. Marchbanks, Jr., M.D., who was a childhood friend of Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.[24]

The accumulation of washed-out cadets at Tuskegee and the propensity of other commands to "dump" African American personnel on the post exacerbated the difficulties of administering Tuskegee. A shortage of jobs for them made these enlisted men a drag on Tuskegee's housing and culinary departments.[25] Trained officers were also left idle, as the plan to shift African American officers into command slots stalled, and white officers not only continued to hold command, but were joined by additional white officers assigned to the post. One rationale behind the non-assignment of trained African American officers was stated by the commanding officer of the Army Air Forces, General Henry "Hap" Arnold: "Negro pilots cannot be used in our present Air Corps units since this would result in Negro officers serving over white enlisted men creating an impossible social situation."[26]

Combat assignment

The 99th was finally considered ready for combat duty by April 1943. It shipped out of Tuskegee on 2 April, bound for North Africa, where it would join the 33rd Fighter Group and its commander, Colonel William W. Momyer. Given little guidance from battle-experienced pilots, the 99th's first combat mission was to attack the small strategic volcanic island of Pantelleria in the Mediterranean Sea to clear the sea lanes for the Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943. The air assault on the island began on 30 May 1943. The 99th flew its first combat mission the following month. The surrender of the garrison of 11,121 Italians and 78 Germans[27] due to air attack was the first of its kind.[28]

The assignment to a predominantly ground attack role prevented the 99th from engaging in air-to-air combat. The unit was later criticized for not shooting down enemy aircraft; Congressional hearings were held on this perceived failure, with the aim of disbanding the squadron. However, the 99th moved on to Sicily and received a Distinguished Unit Citation for its performance in combat.

By the spring of 1944, more graduates were ready for combat, and the all-black 332nd Fighter Group had been sent overseas with three fighter squadrons: The 100th, 301st and 302nd. Under the command of Colonel Davis, the squadrons were moved to mainland Italy, where the 99th Fighter Squadron, assigned to the group on 1 May 1944, joined them on 6 June at Ramitelli Airfield, near Termoli, on the Adriatic coast. From Ramitelli, the 332nd Fighter Group escorted Fifteenth Air Force heavy strategic bombing raids into Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Germany.

Flying escort for heavy bombers, the 332nd earned an impressive combat record. The Allies called these airmen "Red Tails" or "Red-Tail Angels," because of the distinctive crimson paint predominantly applied on the tail section of the unit's aircraft.[3]

A B-25 bomb group, the 477th Bombardment Group, was forming in the U.S., but was not able to complete its training in time to see action. The 99th Fighter Squadron after its return to the United States became part of the 477th, redesignated the 477th Composite Group.[3]

Active air units

The only black air units that saw combat during WWII were the 99th Pursuit Squadron and the 332nd Fighter Group.The 332nd Fighter Group, which was a combination of the 100th, the 301st, and the 302nd squadrons, first saw active combat in January 1944. The dive-bombing and strafing missions under Lieutenant Colonel Davis, Jr. were considered to be highly successful.[29] [30]

In May 1942, the 99th Pursuit Squadron was renamed the 99th Fighter Squadron. It earned three Distinguished Unit Citations (DUC) during World War II. The DUCs were for operations at Pantelleria and Tunisia from May 30 – June 11, 1943, Monastery Hill near Cassino from May 12–14, 1944, and for successfully fighting off German jet aircraft on March 24, 1945. The mission was the longest bomber escort mission throughout the war.[31] [32] The 332nd also flew missions in Sicily, Anzio, Normandy, the Rhineland, the Po Valley and Rome-Arno and others. Pilots of the 99th once set a record for destroying five enemy aircraft in under four minutes.[29]

Individual pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group also earned approximately 1000 awards and decorations. Their missions took them to Rome-Arno, Normandy, Rhineland, Romania, Northern and Southern France, and the American Theater Campaigns. The 332nd first saw combat in February 1944. Throughout various engagements over the course of the war, the 332nd was credited with destroying at least: 112 airborne enemy aircraft, 150 aircraft on the ground, over 600 train cars, over 40 barges/boats, and a German Navy destroyer. The destruction of the Navy destroyer was the first such accomplishment of its time.[29] The ship concerned had been classified as a destroyer by the Italian Navy, before being converted down by the Germans into a torpedo boat. It was attacked on the 25th of June 1944. The German Navy decommissioned it on the 8th of November 1944, and finally scuttled it on the 5th of February 1945.[29] [33] [34]

Combat records

The Tuskegee Airmen compiled the following combat records:

Their operational aircraft were, in succession: P-40 Warhawk, Bell P-39 Airacobra, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt and North American P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft.[29]

Tuskegee Airmen bomber units

Formation

With African American fighter pilots being trained successfully, the Army Air Force now came under political pressure from the NAACP and other civil rights organizations to organize a bomber unit. There could be no defensible argument that the quota of 100 African American pilots in training at one time,[36] or 200 per year out of a total of 60,000 American aviation cadets in annual training,[37] represented the service potential of 13 million African Americans.

On 13 May 1943, the 616th Bombardment Squadron was established as the initial subordinate squadron of the 477th Bombardment Group. The squadron was activated on 1 July 1943, only to be deactivated on 15 August 1943.[25] By September 1943, the number of washed-out cadets on base had surged to 286, with few of them working.[38] In January 1944, the 477th Bombardment Group was reactivated. At the time, the usual training cycle for a bombardment group took three to four months.[39] The 477th would eventually contain four medium bomber squadrons. Slated to comprise 1,200 officers and enlisted men, the unit would operate 60 North American B-25 Mitchell bombers. The 477th would go on to encompass three more bomber squadrons - the 617th Bombardment Squadron, the 618th Bombardment Squadron, and the 619th Bombardment Squadron.[40] The 477th was anticipated to be ready for action in November 1944.[41]

The home field for the 477th was Selfridge Field, located outside Detroit, however, other bases would be used for various types of training courses. Twin-engine pilot training began at Tuskegee while transition to multi-engine pilot training was at Mather Field, California. Some ground crews trained at Mather before rotating to Inglewood, California. Gunners learned to shoot at Eglin Field, Florida. Bombers-navigators learned their trades at Hondo Army Air Field and Midland Field, Texas, or at Roswell, New Mexico. Training of the new African American crewmen also took place at Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Lincoln, Nebraska and Scott Field, Belleville, Illinois. Once trained, the air and ground crews would be spliced into a working unit at Selfridge.[42] [43]

Command difficulties

The new group's first Commanding Officer was Colonel Robert Selway. Like his ranking officer, Major General Frank O'Driscoll Hunter from Georgia, he was a racial segregationist. Hunter was blunt about it, saying such things as, "...racial friction will occur if colored and white pilots are trained together." He backed Selway's violations of Army Regulation 210-10, which forbade segregation of air base facilities. They segregated base facilities so thoroughly they even drew a line in the base theater and ordered separate seating by races. When the audience sat in random patterns as part of "Operation Checkerboard", the movie was halted to make men return to segregated seating.[44] African American officers petitioned base Commanding Officer William Boyd for access to the only officer's club on base. Lieutenant Milton Henry entered the club and personally demanded his club rights; he was court-martialled for this, and discharged.

Subsequently, Colonel Boyd denied club rights to African Americans although General Hunter stepped in and promised a separate but equal club would be built for black airmen.[45] The 477th was transferred to Godman Field, Kentucky before the club was built. They had spent five months at Selfridge but found themselves on a base a fraction of Selfridge's size, with no air-to-ground gunnery range, and deteriorating runways that were too short for B-25 landings. Colonel Selway took on the second role of Commanding Officer of Godman Field. In that capacity, he ceded Godman Field's officer club to African American airmen. Caucasian officers used the whites-only clubs at nearby Fort Knox, much to the displeasure of African American officers.[46]

Another irritant was a professional one for African American officers. They observed a steady flow of white officers through the command positions of the group and squadrons; these officers stayed just long enough to be "promotable" before transferring out at their new rank. This seemed to take about four months. In an extreme example, 22 year old Robert Mattern was promoted to captain, transferred into squadron command in the 477th days later, and left a month later as a major. He was replaced by another Caucasian officer. Meanwhile, no Tuskegee Airmen held command.[47]

On 15 March 1945,[48] the 477th was transferred to Freeman Field, on the verge of Seymour, Indiana. The white population of Freeman Field was 250 officers and 600 enlisted men. Superimposed on it were 400 African American officers and 2,500 enlisted men of the 477th and its associated units. Freeman Field had a firing range, usable runways, and other amenities useful for training. African American airmen would work in proximity with white ones; both would live in a public housing project adjacent to the base. Colonel Selway turned the non-commissioned officers out of their club and turned it into a second officers club. He then classified all white personnel as cadre, and all African Americans as trainees. One officers club became the cadre's club. The old Non-Commissioned Officers Club, promptly sarcastically dubbed "Uncle Tom's Cabin", became the trainee's officers club. At least four of the trainees had flown combat in Europe as fighter pilots, and had about four years in service. Four others had completed training as pilots, bombardiers and navigators, and may have been the only triply qualified officers in the entire Air Corps. Several of the Tuskegee Airmen had logged over 900 flight hours by this time. Nevertheless, by Colonel Selway's fiat, they were trainees.[48] [49]

Off-base was no better; many businesses in Seymour would not serve African Americans. A local laundry would not wash their clothes, yet willingly laundered those of captured German soldiers.[48]

In early April 1945, the 118th Base Unit transferred in from Godman Field; its African American personnel held orders that specified they were base cadre, not trainees. On 5 April, officers of the 477th peaceably tried to enter the whites-only Officer's Club. Selway had been tipped off by a phone call, and had the assistant provost marshal and base billeting manager stationed at the door to refuse the 477th officers entry. The latter, a major, ordered them to leave, and took their names as a means of arresting them when they refused. It was the beginning of the Freeman Field Mutiny.[50]

In the wake of the Freeman Field Mutiny, the 616th and 619th were disbanded and the returned 99th Fighter Squadron assigned to the 477th on 22 June 1945; it was renamed the 477th Composite Wing as a result. On 1 July 1945, Colonel Robert Selway was relieved of the Group's command; he was replaced by Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. A complete sweep of Selway's white staff followed, with all vacated jobs filled by African American officers. The war ended before the 477th Composite Group could get into action. The 618th Bombardment Squadron was disbanded on 8 October 1945. On 13 March 1946, the two-squadron group, supported by the 602nd Engineer Squadron (later renamed 602nd Air Engineer Squadron), the 118th Base Unit, and a band, moved to its final station, Lockbourne Field. The 617th Bombardment Squadron and the 99th Fighter Squadron disbanded on 1 July 1947, ending the 477th Composite Group. It would be reorganized as the 332nd Fighter Wing.[51] [52]

Accomplishments

In all, 996 pilots were trained in Tuskegee from 1941 to 1946, approximately 445 were deployed overseas, and 150 Airmen lost their lives in accidents or combat.[53] The casualty toll included 66 pilots killed in action or accidents, and 32 fallen into captivity as prisoners of war.[54]

The Tuskegee Airmen were credited by higher commands with the following accomplishments:

Awards and decorations awarded for valor and performance included:

Controversy over escort record

On 24 March 1945, during the war, the Chicago Defender said that no bomber escorted by the Tuskegee Airmen had ever been lost to enemy fire, under the headline: "332nd Flies Its 200th Mission Without Loss";[57] the article was based on information supplied by the 15th Air Force.[58] [59]

This statement was repeated for many years, and not publicly challenged because of the esteem of the Tuskegee Airmen, until 2004 when long-time Tuskegee admirer William Holton conducted research into wartime action reports.[60] Alan Gropman, a professor at the National Defense University, disputed the initial refutations of the no-loss myth, and said he researched more than 200 Tuskegee Airmen mission reports and found no bombers were lost to enemy fighters.[60] The Air Force conducted a reassessment of the history of the unit in late 2006.[60] The subsequent report, based on after-mission reports filed by both the bomber units and Tuskegee fighter groups, as well as missing air crew records and witness testimony, documented 25 bombers shot down by enemy fighter aircraft while being escorted by the Tuskegee Airmen.[61]

One mission report states that on 26 July 1944: "1 B-24 seen spiraling out of formation in T/A (target area) after attack by E/A (enemy aircraft). No chutes seen to open." A second report, dated 31 August 1944, praises group commander Colonel Davis by saying, he "so skillfully disposed his squadrons that in spite of the large number of enemy fighters, the bomber formation suffered only a few losses."[62] William Holloman, of Tuskegee Airmen Inc., a group of surviving Tuskegee pilots and their supporters, a Tuskegee airman who taught Black Studies at the University of Washington, and who chaired the Airmen's history committee, was reported by the Times as saying his review of records confirmed bombers had been lost.[60] According to the 28 March 2007 Air Force report, some bombers under 332nd Fighter Group escort protection were even shot down on the day the Chicago Defender article was published.[58]

Postwar

Contrary to negative predictions from some quarters, a combination of pre-war experience and the personal drive of those accepted for training, far from failing, had resulted in some of the best pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Nevertheless, the Tuskegee Airmen continued to have to fight racism. Their combat record did much to quiet those directly involved with the group, notably bomber crews who often requested them for escort, but other units continued to harass these airmen.[63] In 1949, the 332nd entered the annual U. S. Continental Gunnery Meet in Las Vegas, Nevada. The competition included shooting aerial targets, shooting targets on the ground and dropping bombs on targets. Flying the long range Republic P-47N Thunderbolts, (built for the long range escort mission in the Pacific theatre of World War II), the 332nd Fighter Wing took first place in the conventional fighter class. The pilots were Capt Alva Temple, Lts Harry Stewart, James Harvey III and Herbert Alexander. Lt. Harvey said, "We had a perfect score. Three missions, two bombs per plane. We didn't guess at anything, we were good."[64] "They received congratulations from the Governor of Ohio, and Air Force commanders across the nation.[65]

After segregation in the military was ended in 1948 by President Harry S. Truman with Executive Order 9981, the veteran Tuskegee Airmen now found themselves in high demand throughout the newly formed United States Air Force. Some taught in civilian flight schools, such as the black-owned Columbia Air Center in Maryland.[66]

Tuskegee Airmen were instrumental in postwar developments in aviation. Edward A. Gibbs was a civilian flight instructor in the U.S. Aviation Cadet Program at Tuskegee during its inception.[67] He later became the founder of Negro Airmen International, an association joined by many airmen. USAF General Daniel "Chappie" James Jr. (then Lt.) was an instructor of the 99th Pursuit Squadron, later a fighter pilot in Europe and in 1975, became the first African American to reach the rank of four-star general.[68]

In 2005, seven Tuskegee Airmen, including Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Carter, Colonel Charles McGee, group historian Ted Johnson, and Lieutenant Colonel Lee Archer, flew to Balad, Iraq, to speak to active duty airmen serving in the current incarnation of the 332nd, which was reactivated as first the 332nd Air Expeditionary Group in 1998 and made part of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing. "This group represents the linkage between the 'greatest generation' of airmen and the 'latest generation' of airmen," said Lt. Gen. Walter E. Buchanan III, commander of the Ninth Air Force and US Central Command Air Forces.[69]

No one knows how many are still alive from the original crew member number of 996 pilots and about 15,000 ground personnel.[70] Many of the surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen participate annually in the Tuskegee Airmen Convention, which is hosted by Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.[71]

Legacy and honors

On 29 March 2007, approximately 300 Tuskegee Airmen (or their widows) received the Congressional Gold Medal[72] at a ceremony in the U.S. Capitol rotunda.[73] [74] [75] The medal is currently on display at the Smithsonian Institution.[58]

The airfield where the airmen trained is now the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site.[76]

In 2006, California Congressman Adam Schiff and Missouri Congressman William Lacy Clay, Jr., led the initiative to create a commemorative postage stamp to honor the Tuskegee Airmen.[77]

The 99th Flying Training Squadron flies T-1A Jayhawks and, in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen, they are in the process of painting the tops of the tails of their aircraft red.

On 1 August 2008, Camp Creek Parkway, a portion of State Route 6 in south Fulton County and in the City of East Point near Atlanta, Georgia, was officially renamed in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen. The road is a highway that serves as the main artery into Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

The Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh presented an award to several Western Pennsylvania Tuskegee veterans, as well as suburban Sewickley, Pennsylvania dedicated a memorial to the seven from that municipality.[78]

On 9 December 2008, the Tuskegee Airmen were invited to attend the inauguration of Barack Obama, the first African American elected as President. Retired Lt. William Broadwater, 82, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, a Tuskegee Airman, summed up the feeling. "The culmination of our efforts and others' was this great prize we were given on Nov. 4. Now we feel like we've completed our mission."[79] [80] More than 180 airmen attended the 20 January 2009 inauguration.[81]

The Tuskegee Airmen Memorial was erected at Walterboro Army Airfield, South Carolina, in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen, their instructors, and ground support personnel who trained at the Walterboro Army Airfield during World War II.

In the 2010 Rose Parade, the city of West Covina, California paid tribute to the "service and commitment of the Tuskegee Airmen" with a float, entitled "Tuskegee Airmen—A Cut Above", which featured a large bald eagle, two replica World War II "Redtail" fighter planes and historical images of some of the airmen who served. The float won the mayor's trophy as the most outstanding city entry—national or international.

In June 1998, the Ohio Army and Air National guard opened a jointly operated dining hall. They dedicated the new dining facility called the "Red Tail Dining Facility" to the Tuskegee Airmen. The facility is operated at the Rickenbacker ANG base outside of Columbus Ohio.

In January 2012, MTA Regional Bus Operations officially renamed its 100th Street depot to the Tuskegee Airmen Depot, dedicating the depot in honor of these brave men. The facility continues to operates today as a bus depot of the Manhattan Division.

In 2012 George Lucas produced a movie called Red Tails, based on the experiences of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Notable appearances in popular culture

See also

References

Notes
  • Citations
  • Bibliography
  • External links

    Notes and References

    1. See "Pronunciation of Tuskegee." thefreedictionary.com.. Retrieved: 3 October 2010.
    2. Homan and Reilly 2001, pp. 81–83, 116.
    3. Rice, Markus. "The Men and Their Airplanes: The Fighters." Tuskegee Airmen, 1 March 2000.
    4. Francis and Caso 1997, pp. 38–39.
    5. Lloyd 2000, p. 176.
    6. Moye 2010, p. 19.
    7. Moye 2010, p. 25.
    8. Benton 1999, p. 43.
    9. Moye 2010, pp. 52–54.
    10. Francis and Caso 1997, p. 15.
    11. Moye 2010, pp. 26–37.
    12. Moye 2010, p. 57.
    13. Thole 2002, p. 48.
    14. Homan and Reilly 2001, pp. 36–37.
    15. http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=15469 "Fact sheet:Tuskegee Airmen."
    16. Moye 2010, pp. 93–94.
    17. Homan and Reilly, p. 68.
    18. Francis and Caso 1997, p. 233.
    19. Homan and Reilly 2001, pp. 31–32.
    20. http://www.redtailreborn.com/Red_Tail_Reborn/History.html History of the Tuskegee Airmen
    21. Francis and Caso 1997, p. 56.
    22. Smith, Gene. "Colonel Parrish’s Orders." American History, Volume 46, Issue 3, May/June 1995.
    23. Francis and Caso 1997, p. 258.
    24. Jones, D.R., L.P. Gross and R. Marchbanks-Robinson. "United States Army Aeromedical Support to African Fliers, 1941–1949: The Tuskegee Flight Surgeons." SAM-FE-BR-TR-2007-0001: US Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, 2007. Retrieved: 20 March 2010.
    25. Francis and Caso 1997, p. 214.
    26. Moye 2010, pp. 93–95.
    27. Wolk, Herman S. "Pantelleria, 1943." Air Force magazine (Air Force Association), June 2002. Retrieved: 12 February 2012.
    28. Molony et al. 2004, p. 49.
    29. http://www.shsu.edu/~his_ncp/AfrAmer.html "Black Americans in Defense of Our Nation."
    30. http://www.sandiegoairandspace.org/exhibits/african_american_exhibit/military-inspirations.php "Celebrating African Americans in Aviation."
    31. http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet_print.asp?fsID=15471&page=2 "Escort Excellence."
    32. http://www.randolph.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=5896 "99th Flying Training Squadron History."
    33. Haulman,Dr. Daniel L. "Nine Myths about the Tuskegee Airmen." tuskegee.edu, 21 October 2011. Retrieved: 5 February 2012.
    34. http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/acsc/97-0429.pdf "The Freeman Field Mutiny: A Study In Leadership."
    35. Tillman 2012, p. 24.
    36. Moye 2010, p. 123.
    37. Francis and Caso 1997, p. 219.
    38. Moye 2010, p. 94.
    39. Moye 2010, p. 124.
    40. Francis and Caso 1997, p. 457.
    41. Homan and Reilly 2001, p. 186.
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