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January 16, 1941

On this date:
Tuskegee Airmen ~ the first Army Air Corps Squadron of black combat pilots was formed (Category : Organizations)
Posted by:
default, on 1/4/2011
Tuskegee Airmen

The following essay is copyrighted and submitted by a DayInBlackHistory.com contributor (T.O.).  It describes further history anpit this group [Research based on The Tuskegee Airmen (1995)].

Before the Airmen even arrived at the Tuskegee Institute (in Alabama), they encountered prejudice on the way there.  They were forced off of their train in order to let white people at the stop to take their seats, and then they were allowed to reenter, but only at the back of the locomotive.  Another instance of prejudice that the Tuskegee Airmen endured was their prolonged denial by the Army to allow them to join the armed forces.  They trained for longer than white flight school attendees, but were not permitted to participate in the war until much later.  Lastly, even after they were allowed to fly during actual battles, the Airmen were prejudiced against.  When the squadrons planned to meet and discuss strategies, the white pilots would change the meeting times without informing the black flyers.  They would then blame them for being constantly tardy and irresponsible.

The Tuskegee Airmen received great and thorough training.  It was comparable to that of the white pilots who were supposedly more experienced and capable of flying in the war.  They learned strategies, techniques, and how to use everything, just as any other rising pilot would have at the time.

One of the accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen was that they never lost a bomber to enemy action.  They also flew more than 15,000 sorties and destroyed over 1,000 German aircrafts.  The pilots earned hundreds of Air Medals as well as more than 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses.

Eleanor Roosevelt had a very important role in the movie.  She was a catalyst to the allowance of the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II.  She visited the men at the Institute and convinced the government and the Army to send them into real combat.

 

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