Airmen of WWII
Racism is part of American history and is not forgotten. The Tuskegee Airmen of WWII left their mark on the military and their influence changed history. Many events had to happen for the majority of racism, at least in the military, to be changed, such as a war.
December 1940, the Army Air Corps planned an experiment for black aviators in an all black fighter squadron. This group would be called the 332nd fighter group and would consist of four fighter squadrons, the 99th, 100th, 301st, 302nd. (4 A). The squadrons that made the most history would be the 99th and the 100th. The 99th was to be made of 33 to 35 pilots and 278 ground crew men, but those accusations came from another source when the real number of men in the 99th would be a total of 12 black cadets and 1 officer trainee. 3 squadrons usually make up a fighter group so the 99th was nicknamed the “lonely Eagles”. They would be flying PT-17s, then BT-13s, and later AT-6s, that would have better landing flaps, retractable landing gear, and 650-horse power engines (Mckissack). They would be the first fighter squadron of the 332nd to go into combat over North Africa. Being part of the 12th Air force, they would fly tactical missions over the Mediterranean theater (Haulman). Going over in ships, April 15, 1943, they would arrive in Morocco, May 1943, only to be told that the battle between the Germans and North Africans was basically over. They then tested out P-40L War Hawks, and Curtis’s, that were built to reach up to 350 mph, climb over 22,000 ft., and ferry over 1,000 miles. The planes would be put through flight drills and mock dog fights. The 27th, part of another group, trained with the men in Africa. The war was always back and forth so the 99th would join the 33rd fighter group in Fardjoura, mission to capture the Mediterranean Islands, the island of Pantelleria (Mckissack).
The 100th fighter squadron was activated May 23, 1942 and was commanded by Lieutenant Mac Ross and Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin O. Davis Jr. would take over the 99th August 24, 1942. The squadron wouldn’t see combat for they were to stay at Tuskegee Institute Moton Field in Alabama (Haulman).
Strafing, low flying maneuvers used to destroy ground targets such as ammunition track convoys, storage depots, and small farm houses used as field headquarters, was something all squadrons did, and the 332nd did plenty of that and also were mostly known for their escorting bombers. B-17s and B-24s, heavy and hard to maneuver, needed protection from the fast moving enemy. Each bomber had different escorts though, so the enemy wouldn’t be able to take down the best squadrons and with every different escort there were different targets and different bombers.
The escorts and the missions went on throughout 1944 and 1945. The 332nd would be known for the colors of painted they had on the tails of their planes. Each squadron had their own design of different colors and patterns but the 332nd...