The Tuskegee Airmen

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Part 2: Battlefield Successes

Such was the racism of the day. That attitude went out the window, and the Tuskegee Airmen went off to war, seeing plenty of action over the skies of North Africa against Germany's vaunted Luftwaffe. By this time, the Airmen were part of the 332nd Fighter Group. They bombed Axis positions in the Mediterranean area, including on Sicily and in Tunisia.

By this time, Allied forces had landed large numbers of troops in Italy, particularly at a place called Anzio. Defending this new Allied base were a large number of planes, including the 332nd, commanded by Davis. In short order, a total of eight fighter squadrons shot down 32 German planes, with the Airmen bringing down 13 of those.

The Airmen continued their successes, their numbers swelling with more recent graduates. The Airmen joined bombing raids in Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Germany itself. The Airmen were known as the Fighting Red Tails, fiercely respected by the enemy.

By the end of the war, the Airmen had made a major contribution to the Allied war effort, shooting down 109 German planes and raining destruction on hundreds of Axis positions and supply lines. The Airmen flew hundreds of missions, without losing a single bomber to enemy fire.

In all, the Tuskegee Airmen numbered 992 pilots, of which 150 died during the war. The number of military medals awarded to the Airmen included eight Purple Hearts, 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and hundreds more of other kinds of distinction.

First page > Training Days > Page 1, 2

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David White