The Tuskegee Airmen
The Tuskegee Airmen
who served in
flying units in
World War II
. Includes pilots, navigators, bombardiers, and support personnel.
African Americans and Tuskegee Institute involved in aviation before World War II.
From 1940 to 1946, Tuskegee the site of
Army Air Forces
(AAF) pilot training for African Americans.
Almost 1,000 men earned their wings at Tuskegee.
Primary training conducted at
by civilian instructors employed by Tuskegee Institute.
Basic and Advanced training conducted at
Tuskegee Army Air Field
by AAF instructor pilots.
About 450 Tuskegee Airmen flew combat missions in
Combat record of Tuskegee Airmen:
Flew over 15,000 combat sorties.
Types of missions flown: ground attack, coastal patrol, and bomber escort.
Credited with never losing an American bomber to enemy fighters.
Downed over 100 enemy aircraft.
Units involved: 99
Fighter Squadrons; 332
Famous Tuskegee Airmen: Generals B. O. Davis Jr., and Chappie James.
Some Americans, both black and white, critical of segregated flying units.
Some AAF leaders believed that African Americans lacked ability to fly combat aircraft and should not be in AAF.
Some African Americans advocated integrated units or none at all.
Others supported segregated units as an important first step.
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt supported Tuskegee Airmen.
Tuskegee Airmen faced racial tensions and discrimination while serving.
100 black officers of the 477
Bombardment Group (another segregated unit) arrested at Freeman Field, Indiana, for attempting to enter an Officers' Club reserved for whites.
After World War II ended, armed forces were
independent Air Force
established in 1947, some Air Force leaders called for end to segregated units.
Combat record of Tuskegee Airmen an important factor in their decision.
President Truman ordered desegregation
of armed forces; Air Force disbanded segregated units and assigned Tuskegee Airmen to integrated flying units.