Tuskegee Airmen Facts

Tuskegee Airmen Facts
The very first African-American United States Army Air Force aviators are known as the Tuskegee Airmen. They fought for the first time in World War II, at a time when racial segregation was still in place in the United States. African-Americans had to fight for their right to serve as pilots in the U.S. military. The Tuskegee program began in 1941, at the Tuskegee Institute, when the 99th Pursuit Squadron was established. In 1943 the 99th Pursuit Squadron joined the 33rd Fighter Group in North Africa. Their first assault mission was a success, although it was not an air-to-air mission. From then on the Tuskegee Airmen earned an impressive record in combat, receiving many military awards for their role in World War II.
Interesting Tuskegee Airmen Facts:
At the time, because of racial segregation, all African-American military pilots trained at Moton Field and Tuskegee Army Air Field, close to Tuskegee, Alabama.
Tuskegee was a good place for training pilots because it had good flying weather all year long.
The Tuskegee Airmen were subjected to racial discrimination in the U.S. Army.
Captain Benjamin O. Davis Jr. commanded the 99th Fighter Squadron at Tuskegee. He was the first African-American to serve as a general in the United States Army.
Several attempts were made to cancel the Tuskegee Airmen program because of racism. Thankfully they failed and the program continued.
The Tuskegee Airmen had several nicknames including the Red Tails, and the Red Tail Angels.
The Tuskegee Airmen's motto was Spit Fire.
There were a total of 932 Tuskegee Airmen (pilots) who graduated from the program; of these only 355 would ever serve in active duty as fighter pilots.
There were more than 10,000 African-American men and women who served as support personnel to the Tuskegee Airmen.
450 African-American Tuskegee Airmen served in combat missions in the European Theater of Operations, in the Mediterranean, and in North Africa.
33 Tuskegee Airmen became POWs (prisoners of war) while serving in the United States military.
66 Tuskegee Airmen died in combat.
The Tuskegee Airmen flew in more than 700 bomber escort missions. During these bomber escort missions, they protected the bombers from enemy fighters. The Tuskegee Airmen was the only fighter group to have a perfect record protecting the bombers.
Combat flights are called sorties. Between May of 1943 and June of 1945 the Tuskegee Airmen flew a total of 15,533 sorties.
African-American U.S. military pilots often flew as many as 100 missions while serving overseas. White U.S. military pilots were not permitted to fly more than 52. The African-American pilots were able to serve more because there were not enough replacements.
The Tuskegee Airmen destroyed 251 enemy airplanes.
The Tuskegee Airmen were awarded a total of 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses for their service.
The Tuskegee Airmen were awarded 8 Purple Hearts, 14 Bronze Stars, 3 Distinguished Unit Citations, and 744 Air Medals and Clusters for their service in the U.S. military.
By 1946 African-American women were entering the Tuskegee Airmen program and being trained for service.
A movie was made in 2012 about the Tuskegee Airmen called Red Tails.


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