The Tuskegee Airmen

"Flying a North American P-51C Mustang of the 99th Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, 1st Lt. Charles P. Bailey escorts Consolidated B-24s of the Fifteenth Air Force over the Alps, in The Shepherd, by Troy White." (photo from AP)

1939 - A small group of black pilots formed the National Airmen's Association, and with the help of Senator Harry S Truman, blacks were allowed to join the Civilian Pilot Training Program.

1940 - The Alabama Aviation Commission built an airport at Tuskegee Institute.

1941 - On July 19, the Army Division of Aeronautics began a flight training program at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama for black pilots.

1942 - In March, five of the 13 trainees in the first class successfully completed the 9-month course; one of the five was Captain Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., a West Point graduate. By 1946, 992 pilots graduated from Tuskegee.

1943 - In April, Tuskegee graduates began flying P-40 Warhawks in the 99th Fighter Squadron in North Africa and Sicily and Italy.

1944 - The airmen in the all-black 332nd Fighter Group that included the 99th, the 100th, the 301st and the 302nd squadrons escorted bombers in the P-51 Mustang, not losing any bombers in over 200 missions.

1945 - 103 officers of the 177th Bomber Squadron were court-martialed in Indiana for visiting the segregated officer's club at Freeman's Field.



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