Friday, March 1, 2013

Tuskegee Airmen

Tuskegee Week would not be complete without mention of the Tuskegee Airmen. This was a World War II fighter unit made up of African Americans. This picture was taken in 1945 in Italy. I am curious if there is any connection between the unit being formed in Tuskegee, and the Tuskegee Institute.


  1. And that fighter unit was a very successful unit. From what I remember about them, is any bomber fight the escorted, they never lost a single bomber to enemy piston engine fighter. I don't know if they lost any to the new German jet fighters or not

    1. The Red Tail Angels like the Japanese-American "Go For Broke" 442 Regimental Combat Team are inspiring examples of oppressed minorities choosing to prove their worth rather than calling themselves victims. Both units achieved their goals in grand fashion in WW2 with brilliant combat records. The "never lost a bomber" line is however under dispute ( see Tuskegee Airmen wiki). To me this does not detract from their glory. Their record was excellent nonetheless.

  2. Several years ago we visited the Warm Springs, GA, home of FDR on the anniversary of his death there. That same weekend, as part of the memorial activities, they hosted a reunion of some of the few remaining Tuskeegee Airmen. After remarks and speeches, a frail elderly man, wearing a cap with his WW2 infantry insignia, stood and was helped up toward the stage. He took the offered microphone. He thanked the Airmen from the bottom of his heart. He had been in the infantry in North Africa, and the Airmen had been above. "Thank you for protecting us!" he said.

    Not a dry eye in the house.

  3. My father was a pilot with the USAF from the mid-50's to the late 70's. For awhile he flew, and trained other pilots in the B-25 Mitchells.He has recalled for us that he landed an inspection team at Tuskagee to see how their training was coming along and they were beyond impressed with how well they managed to make do with a pilot program with so little. Like the Tuskagee airmen, he said he landed and took off by the seat of his pants. That was their amazing work ethic, what an amazing group of Airmen!