Red Tails Essay

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The 99th Pursuit Squadron was activated at Tuskegee on July 19, 1941, nearly six months prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. (In the 1930s, fighter planes were called "pursuit planes"; hence, the Pursuit Squadron. During World War II the term was replaced with "fighter squadron.") After completing their training, in the late spring of 1943 the men were sent to North Africa, which the Allies had invaded Tuskegee Airmen is the name given to members of the U.S. Army Air Force units in World War II that were comprised primarily of African American flyers and maintenance crews, though a few white officers and trainers were also involved. The group compiled an impressive record, primarily in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, despite facing frequent resistance to their presence in the formerly all-white Army Air Corps. Although the best-known Tuskegee Airmen were the fighter pilots of the 332nd Pursuit Group (99th, 100th, 301st, and 302nd fighter squadrons), the 477th Bombard Group (the first black bomber group) was also part of the Tuskegee Airmen. Pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, and instructors all played a role. The Tuskegee Airmen were formed in 1941 in Tuskegee, Alabama. They would serve as the first black members of America’s Air Force. Among those enlisted one year later were Retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Richard R. Hall, Jr. and Retired Lieutenant Colonel Bob Hughes – a white man. The definition of a Tuskegee Airman is anyone who was a pilot, navigator or part of the support personnel during the Tuskegee Experience between 1941 and 1949. Bob Hughes was a trainer at the Tuskegee Army Air Field and there were more white documented airmen. The Tuskegee Airmen were the government’s answer to integration of the U.S. Military Air Force. The young pilots were trained through the Civilian Pilot Training Program. Then

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