History of The Tuskegee Airmen.

The  saga began as a "reluctant" experiment in rural Alabama, designed to  prove or disprove the airworthiness of blacks as combat pilots, and  became the greatest World War II secret weapon employed by the United  States Army Air Corps in the sky over Europe and North Africa. The  Tuskegee Airmen, America's Black Air Force.

Flying  an assortment of combat aircraft, often antiquated P-39's, P-47's, P-40  Warhawks and deadly P-51 Mustangs. The Tuskegee Airmen used bravery,  bullets and bombs to etch into history an unequalled combat record.



P-40 Warhawk


P-51 Mustang


In  combat the black aviators of the 99th Fighter Squadron became feared  and respected as "Schwartze Vogelmenschen" (Black Birdmen) by the German  pilots who faced their guns and by the white American bomber crews they  protected as the "Fighting Red Tail Angels" because of their planes'  bright red tails.

By  war's end, the Tuskegee Airmen of the 332nd Fighter Group (spearheaded  by the Fighting 99th) had racked up an impressive list of victories and  accomplishments. During 206 missions escorting long-range, heavy B-17  and B-24 bombers, the 

Tuskegee fighter pilots never lost a bomber to  enemy planes, a record never matched in military history. They quickly  became the pilots that bomber crews wanted as escorts during the more  than 1600 mile bombing in the heart of Germany and back.

 The  War Department activated the all-black 99th Pursuit Squadron (later to  become the 99th Fighter Squadron) on January 16, 1941, and the "Tuskegee  Experience" began on July 19, 1941, when 13 black college graduates  passed muster and began aviation training at Tuskegee Army Airfield on  the campus of Tuskegee Institute. (In 1881 Booker T. Washington founded  the black school in Tuskegee, Alabama, 30 miles east of Montgomery.) In  1940, only 125 black pilots had been licensed in the U.S. During World  War II, 992 black Army Air Corps pilots would eventually complete flight  training at Tuskegee Army Airfield. The first five black aviators to  graduate from West Point earned their wings on March 6, 1942. Prominent  in the graduating class was Capt. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., the first  black to graduate from West Point in the 20th century who would become  the first black general of the United States Air Force