The Tuskegee Airmen were the first group of African American pilots of WWII. Members of the U.S. Army Air Corps, the men were part of the 332nd Fighter Group and also the 477th Bombardment Group. The 477th mainly worked on the U.S. B-25 Mitchell. This group of men never actually saw combat. However, the 332nd Fighter Group was the one and only operational unit to be sent overseas where their mission would eventually take them to Europe. Here they were deployed as bomber escorts. In this role, these World War II Tuskegee Airmen were actually successful in every one of their missions.
When mentioning the Tuskegee Airmen in this day and age, one must travel back in history to this time to recall the Jim Crow laws and the fact that many of the African Americans in the U.S. were still subject to those laws. Segregation was still at the forefront and the U.S. military was no exception. Despite the continued racial discrimination even within the military, these men were determined to continue their training and always flew with distinction.
In June of 1944, the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II – also known as the Red Tails – were credited with the first destruction of a German Navy destroyer which had been converted into a torpedo boat. The accomplishment of this esteemed African American group did not stop there. They destroyed over 200 German aircraft and over 900 ground targets, which included railcars, trucks and other vehicles. In the hundreds of missions they flew protecting the U.S. bombers, only 25 were lost. In addition to these accolades, the men received a number of awards and decorations for both their valor and their performance. No one can dispute the valuable role of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II.