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The Tuskegee Airmen

Yikes, so to hear our 'president' get the Tuskegee Airmen confused is embarrassing.

But who were they? The first time I heard about them was the most recent movie, Red Tails, which was released in 2012. It was such an amazing and touching story. I swelled with pride for what they had done and survived through. That American pride of those fighting for freedom and risking their lives for this ideal.

During the time of World War II, there was still segregation where Blacks fought and trained separately from whites. Ironically, before 1941 they weren't allowed to serve as pilots for being assumed of being "not smart enough" or "disciplined enough". It's Ironic because this group did AMAZINGLY. Actually, these comments sound a LOT like what our current 'president' and administration are saying. Isn't it sad that we have slipped back so far? How insulting to say that just because of their skin color that they are inferior after proving to be even superior in many aspects! But that is more based on the individual and their abilities/capabilities. Nothing about looks.

But I digress. Under pressure from black leaders in Congress, the base in Tuskegee, Alabama began training black airmen. So not only pilots but navigators, mechanics, bombardiers, and other personnel for upkeeping and running planes. Surprise, surprise, they well-overshot expectations. But even then, people questioned how well they would do in actual combat.

Skip to 1943 where the Army sent out 450 Tuskegee pilots to North Africa and Europe to fight in the war. They flew fighters that escorted bombers. Their names came from the painted tails of their fighter planes. As their reputation grew, they began to be requested as "Red Tail Angels" as escorts. Can you believe that during this year, that the 99th Fighter Squadron of the Tuskegee Airmen flew almost every day in December? They rarely lost a bomber when under enemy fire. About 150 Tuskegee pilots had lost their lives and many in general became decorated war heroes.

Can you believe that their amazing war record paved the way for eliminating racial discrimination in the military? After the war ended, close to 1000 pilots had graduated from their program which proved they were some of the best to take the skies. It would be such an honor to be able to speak with them and learn from their perspective of what went on during that time!

I highly recommend you watch the movie Red Tails. It was and is such a classic that everyone should enjoy. History holds such amazing stories that need to be shared!


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