In the spring of 1943, the first African American pilots entered war. The Tuskegee airmen or the Red Tails were heroes that were discriminated.
The Tuskegee airmen were the first African Americans to be military aviators, their heroic performance in battle earned them respect and increased their battle opportunities. This included pilots, navigators, bombardiers, support staff, along with personal that kept planes and pilots in the air. In total there were 996 pilots and 15,000 ground personal. They were originally denied in to war due to the color of their skin.
At the time it was told that blacks were lacking in intelligence, skill, and courage. Hearing this made many push harder and harder to prove and to give their skin color a name in a world that made them sound useless. So they did, they overcame segregation and prejudice to become respected and pave the way for full integration of the U.S. military. Starting from the bottom and making there way to the top Tuskegee Airmen would fight for a country that didn’t believe they had would took to be soldier. Being called racist names didn’t matter to them when given the opportunity to show who they really are they didn’t back down they stood tall and fought. The Tuskegee airmen now have a long background of working hard and earning respect from others.
They were originally denied entry in the war as the army resisted taking in black males to be pilots. On October 1940 Franklin Roosevelt president at the time opened a program for African Americans. This program would train and teach black males to see if they were capable to be Military pilots for WWII. Many African Americans around the world would celebrate the honor.
The program would be a success as over 900 African Americans would graduate from the program. This training would be held at the Tuskegee Army Airfield and Morton Field in Tuskegee, Alabama. These places would have access to top military supplies as the Tuskegee Army Airfield was built by the U.
S. military and was built as a full scale military base. Many pilots and personal said that training was rigorous but very helpful for war time situations. In the Tuskegee experience process you would first start of at Morton Field once completing training at Morton Field you move to Tuskegee Army Airfield. Morton Field was where primary flight training was taken place as they would use there two hangers to demonstrate flying and wartime situations. When you make it to the Tuskegee Army Airfield you train with Army Air Corps and you become one step closer to graduate as a pilot or pilot personal.Tuskegee Airmen a group that was discriminated by the color of their skin proved to the world that they could be heroes too.
They were finally put in to battle in the spring of 1943 when landed in North Africa. The African Americans there had a rough transition as it was there first time in battle. However, they did overcome there rough spell by eventually flying outstanding missions over Italy, North Africa, the Mediterranean Sea. Throughout there time in WWII they completed a total of 1,500 missions and destroyed 260 enemy aircrafts. It was told that they had never lost an airman to a german aircraft unfortunately this was not true as they had lost multiple. These battles showed that African Americans were able to handle the situation but however when returning home many struggled to still be equal in America.
Benjamin O. Davis was the first African American general in the U.S. Air Force As he followed his father who was the first African American in any branch of the military. Davis did many different things in the war including pilot, officer, and administrator. After of years of other military training he joined the Tuskegee experience. He was among the first group of graduates earning him lieutenant colonel almost right away. Doing so, he organized a group of African Americans which would be the first all African American air unit called the 99th pursuit squadron.
Later in 1943 he commanded the 332nd fighter also known as the Tuskegee Airmen. In WWII he flew around 60 missions and was known as a great general and lieutenant colonel. After the war he would continue on in the Air Force while also fighting in the Korean War.
He was then promoted to major general and then lieutenant general becoming the first AfricanAmerican to do so. In the great career the Davis had he received many declaration and to service medals. Benjamin O. Davis was the first African American to be honored in retirement.Lee A. Archer Jr. was one of the first African Americans pilots. He graduated first of his class at the Tuskegee Army Airfield.
Soon after he arrived in Italy to prepare to battle for the allies . August 1944 Archer was promoted as first lieutenant. He was a great war pilot as he was known for shooting down 4 aircrafts down in one encounter. He was considered a fighting ace as he was inducted in an elite group called the American Fighter Aces Association. After the end of WWII Archer remained in the Air Force and flew combat missions during the Korean War. He would eventually retire from the United States Air Force after 29 years of service.
In 2004, Archer said “I flew 169 combat missions when most pilots were flying 50,”. This shows how committed to his country he was and that he is a true hero. In 2007, he was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal given to him by then president George W.
Bush Along with receiving many other special citations and awards.The Red Tails used different planes then what most would use. In training they used two different planes. They first one they used was the PT17 Stearman Kaydet. This was used at Morton Field as it was good for those who were first time pilots. The Kayde was a blue plane with an American flag printed on the tail.
The second plan used in training was the P40 Curtiss Warhawk was a fast plane. It was used by white pilots in the war not African Americans. African Americans only used this plane in training. The warhawk was an army fatigue plan with a shark mouth in the front.
The plane that the Tuskegee used was called the P51 North American Mustang. This was a pane that was considered to have won the war for the allies. The Tuskegee airmen didn’t get to use this plane until being supported more. When given the plan there record improve significantly as they were stronger because this plane had a great engine and great pilots. To show who they were they painted the tales of the plane giving them the nickname Red Tails and Red Tail Angels. As a black person in the 1940s it was hard racism was still very present after the war. However, the integration movement had made some progress due to World War II.
For the first time ever Americans had witnessed black and white soldiers fight together as one. They showed that they could but differences aside to fight for good reasons although some didn’t like it. Along with seeing the Holocaust when Jewish people were discriminated by Germans. Adolf Hitler would hunt, torture and kill Jews. Seeing that made some but skin color differences aside.
As racism isn’t something that should be played with. This still occurs today but has gotten much better. A country that was once divided into North and South and were fighting each other over whether or not there should be slaves and a country that separated bathrooms schools and even buses has improved. The United States of America has become a better place for all kinds of people because of heros like Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks and the Tuskegee Airmen.