Skip to comments.A Tuskegee Airman Turns 95
Posted on 07/17/2019 9:32:30 AM PDT by CondoleezzaProtege
On June 27, 1944, I graduated from Tuskegee Army Flying School, established in Alabama shortly before Americas entry into World War II...
My journey to the flight line started in my high-school library... I came across a magazine article about the first all-black flying combat unit... I decided right then that when I turned 18 the squadron was where I wanted to serve.
The train ride down South was eye-opening for a teenager whod never traveled far from New York. When the train crossed the Mason-Dixon Line, the conductor came by and pointed at me: Move to the colored car.
...I flew 43 combat missions with the 332nd Fighter Group, known as the Red Tails. Our commander was the legendary Benjamin O. Davis Jr., who had endured four years of the silent treatment from white cadets at West Point but nevertheless managed to graduate 35th out of a class of 276. At our mission briefings, he implored us, Gentlemen, stay with the bombers! His convictions were encapsulated in his statement: The privileges of being an American belong to those brave enough to fight for them.
On Easter Sunday 1945, I shot down three long-nosed Focke-Wulf Fw 190s, the best piston fighters in the Luftwaffe inventory. That action resulted in my receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross. I was thankful that my country had given me the opportunity to fly and fight, and all these years later I am proud that I contributed to the cause. We called it winning the Double V, victory against totalitarianism abroad and institutional racism at home.
July 4 is my birthday, but I celebrate my countrys birthday too. America was not perfect in the 1940s and is not perfect today, yet I fought for it then and would do so again.
(Excerpt) Read more at wsj.com ...
God Bless this man. A patriot who loves and served his country, and isn’t looking for something to complain about.
I’ve watched (on YouTube) a 1980 “Real People” feature on the Tuskegee Airmen. Link here:
These were amazing men. I got the chance to meet a number of them as they attended the re-commissioning of several flying training squadrons for which I served as Staff Judge Advocate, and which were reconstituted in their honor: 43FTS, 96FTS, 99FTS and 100FTS. Impressive one and all.
Colonel, USAF (ret)
I got to meet Col Charles McGee in October 2017. He was on a flight from Baltimore to Atlanta. He was announced at the gate and got a standing ovation. Though looking very unassuming in a wheelchair, he was sharp as a tack and very humble. Had a very well...it was our job and we just did our job attitude. I have pictures of him. Tearing up now as I think about it.
Several settled in Denver, because of old Lowry AFB, I suppose. Great men and great Americans.
Bassist Percy Heath of the Modern Jazz Quartet was a Tuskegee Airman. He was training to fly P-47s when the war ended, so he didn’t have to deploy.
A story of equal valor is of the 761st Tank Battalion. All African-American tankers that were finally deployed near the end. Fought brillantly at The Bulge.
My dad went over just after the Bulge and always spoke highly of the black soldiers, who he referred to as “colored guys”. He’d never been around many before and had no prejudice, it was just a descriptive term like saying “fat guy” or “a guy from New Jersey”.
Being a wiseass, I’d ask “what color was he?”
A book I suggest about the 761st is "Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII's Forgotten Heroes " by an unlikely author - Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
His father's best friend was in this unit and that is what intrigued him to research and write their story.
The father-in-law of a long time friend and coworker is a former Tuskeegee Airman...Retired out of the USAF in Denver (Lowry AFB) married and still lives here today...
Stay with the bombers: the real mission of pursuits/fighters.
Long-nosed Focke-Wulfs (Ta-152, I assume, in honor of Kurt Tank): Junkers Jumo inverted V-12s; annular radiator made it look like its FW-190 BMW radial precursor.
I salute your service Sir.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.