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The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps (AAC), a precursor of the U.S. Air Force.
See the fact file below for more information on the Tuskegee Airmen or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Tuskegee Airmen worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
BREAKING THE SEGREGATION
- Prior to World War II, the American military consisted only of caucasians. Racist ideology of the time suggested that black people were not capable of fighting effectively in a war.
- However, the rising unease in the late 1930s over possible war in Europe and Asia prompted the federal government to expand its air defenses and the civilian pilot training program, which was opened up to black people.
- A Howard University student filed a lawsuit in protest, and due to pressure from black newspapers, the NAACP, sympathetic government leaders, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the “Tuskegee Experiment” was begun.
- A flight school was founded at Tuskegee University in Alabama, and on July 19, 1941, the Army Air Corps initiated the program.
- The “Tuskegee Experiment” was expected to fail but was a resounding success. The group consisted of African Americans, five Haitians, a pilot from Trinidad, and airmen from the Dominican Republic.
WORLD WAR II SERVICES
- Each of the black military pilots passed through flying training phases. The first of these was civilian pilot training (CPT).
- After CPT, the trainees had to undergo four more phases of training, which included flying PT-17 and PT-13 biplanes and P-40 fighter aircraft used in combat during World War II.
- Like military flight training, the standards were high and many prospective pilots did not graduate from all the phases of training, much less join the WWII sorties.
- The first black flying unit was the 99th Fighter Squadron led by Benjamin O. Davis Jr.
- In April 1943, the 99th Fighter Squadron was deployed to French Morocco as the campaign in North Africa was ending.
- Their primary mission was to escort and attack enemy targets on the ground on the Italian islands of Pantelleria and Sicily, and the Italian mainland.
- It earned its first aerial victory when 1st Lt. Charles B. Hall shot down a FW-190 aircraft in July 1943.
- On January 27 and 28, 1944, while protecting Allied ground forces from enemy air attack, they shot down 13 enemy airplanes.
- In February 1944, the 99th, 100th, 301st and 302nd fighter squadrons and other personnel arrived in Italy, and made up the new 332nd Fighter Group.
- 332nd flew P-51 Mustangs to escort the 15th Air Force heavy bombers during raids. The tails of their planes were painted red, earning them the enduring nickname “Red Tails.”
- During the war, Tuskegee Airmen escorting bombers were downed by enemy fire only seven times out of the 179 missions they executed.
- A total of 27 Tuskegee Airmen-escorted bombers were shot down by enemy airplanes.
- During its combat overseas, the 332nd Fighter Group and its four squadrons shot down a total of 112 enemy airplanes.
- The Fighter Group completed its combat missions in late April 1945, and the war in Europe ended in early May. Its mission accomplished, the group redeployed to the United States and was inactivated in October.
- After the Tuskegee squadrons were disbanded, there were several attempts to revive the integration of black soldiers into the U.S. military.
- President Harry S. Truman thus issued Executive Order 9981 in 1948, mandating the racial integration of all military services.
- Black Navy and Marine Corps pilots as well as black Air Force pilots were eventually recognized.
- Benjamin Davis became the first black general in the Air Force.
- Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James flew fighter aircraft in the Korean and Vietnam wars and rose to become the first black four-star general in the Air Force.
- Col. Charles McGee, who had served with the 332nd Fighter Group, also served in Korea and Vietnam and flew 409 combat missions – more than any other Air Force pilot in the three wars.
- John H. Leahr logged 329 hours of combat flying time, and after his illustrious military career, went on to be one of America’s first black stockbrokers.
- Col. Charles McGee and other Airmen formed Tuskegee Airmen Incorporated in the early 1970s.
- The organization educates the public about the heritage of the Tuskegee Airmen and sponsors educational programs for youth, especially those interested in going into the field of aviation.
- In 2007, Pres. George W. Bush presented a Congressional Gold Medal collectively to the Tuskegee Airmen.
- In 2012, Lucasfilm Ltd. released Red Tails, a film about the Tuskegee Airmen and their participation in the 1944 bombing raids.
Tuskegee Airmen Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Tuskegee Airmen across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Tuskegee Airmen worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Tuskegee Airmen who were the first black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps (AAC), a precursor of the U.S. Air Force.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Air Force Lingo
- A Skilled Pilot
- The Red Tails
- Tuskegee Experience
- Heroes in the Sky
- Flight Suits
- For A Hero
- Tuskegee Era
- People of Color
- Racial Reflection
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Link will appear as Tuskegee Airmen Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 24, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
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