The Red Tail Pilots Essay

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The Red Tail Pilots On October 9th, 1940, the U.S. Army Air Corps began allowing black men to join its ranks, ushering in an entirely new era of military aviation. Over the course of the next four years, nearly one thousand pilots would go through vigorous training to become military aviators. These aviators would often be assigned the most degrading tasks the Air Corps had to offer. However they proved themselves worthy of their title by war's end; racking up 109 confirmed kills, 111 German airplanes shot down, and 150 German airplanes destroyed on the ground. They were among the finest World War II aviators. They were the Tuskegee Airmen; the Red Tail Pilots. In the 1930s the U.S. Military was a racially segregated institution. In the Army, black soldiers served in all black units, and under no circumstances would a black officer command a white unit, despite the fact that black men bravely served even before the American Revolution. In fact, individual black men had become aces during World War I and the Spanish Civil War. One Ace, Eugene Bullard, fought with the French Foreign Legion during World War I because the Air Corps would not let him fly. Since all Air Corps pilots were officers, there was a chance that a black officer could end up commanding white enlisted men. The solution? Rather than creating separate units or facilities, the Air Corps simply refused any applications from blacks. Everything changed on October 9th, 1940. The War Department, at the urging of President Franklin Roosevelt, began allowing black men to join the ranks of the Air Corps. Roosevelt, who wished to guarantee the support of blacks for the upcoming election, issued a statement saying “Negroes are being given aviation training as pilots, mechanics, and technical specialists.” This of course did not mean that blacks would be trained equally with white airmen. Instead,

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