March 04, 2023
The Tuskegee Airmen / African American heroes in history
THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN / African American heroes in history
Blacks in flight
When we speak of African American heroes in history we must include the Tuskegee Airmen. Their contributions to this country can not be overlooked. Their courage and heroic acts made them a symbol of true leadership. Their pioneering spirit encouraged many young men and women to pursue careers in the fields of aviation and engineering. They also paved the way for countless numbers of African Americans to serve in the military.
Prior to the 1930’s they struggled to have the right to fly. During the 1930 African American pilot were mostly self-taught. There were very few pilot training courses they were allowed to attend. From 1930 to 1940 the numbers began to increase. Their sheer determination and political pressure caused the government to change their policy concerning black pilots.
Before 1940 the military limited blacks to labor jobs such as cooks,and cleaning. Pilots were not able to fly. The conditions for African Americans in the military were worst than for their white counter parts. They faced a great deal of discrimination and prejudice on a daily bases. All African American pilots, ground crew and air crew were segregated and forced to live in second-rate living quarters. After much pressure by civil rights organizations the Army Air Core (Air Force) formed an African Americans squadron. The U.S. military contracted Tuskegee Institute to train African American pilots.
The Tuskegee Airmen were part of the Army Air Core/Air Force as primary pilots. They were the military aviation experiment. African American soldiers were viewed as less intelligent than their white counter parts although they were just as qualified. They earned their respect through their hard work and determination. Out of necessity the military accepted them as Combat Fighter pilots. The 332nd air unit was later nick named “Red Tail”. They flew over 15,000 missions. Their contributions played a major role in the outcome of World War II.
Their courageous efforts opened the doors for countless African Americans to become both military and commercial pilots as well as aviation support personnel. Their achievements dispelled the myths that blacks were unintelligent. Today we are proud to note the many African American Officers, Generals and Special Force personnel that serve everyday to protect this country. The sacrifices of these great African American heroes both men and women will go down in military history. We must never forget the soldiers that gave their lives for this country.