Tuskegee Airmen

Tuskegee Airmen

"Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters, U.S., let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pockets, and there is no power on earth which can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship in the United States."

--Frederick Douglass

Due to the rigid pattern of racial segregation that prevailed in the United States during World War II, over 966 black military aviators were trained at an isolated training complex near the town of Tuskegee, Alabama and at Tuskegee Institute now known as Tuskegee University. Four hundred and fifty black fighter pilots under the command of Col. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., (Who was to later become the U.S. Air Force's first Black General) Fought in the aerial war over North Africa, Sicily and Europe Flying in secession, P-40, P-39, P-47, and P-51 type aircraft. These gallant men flew 15,553 sorties and competed 1578 missions with the 12th Tactical U.S. Army Air Force and the 15th Strategic U.S. Army Air Force.