12 photos of the Tuskegee Airmen - the historic African-American World War II aviators who paved the way for the full integration of the US military
- The Tuskegee Airmen were US military aviators who trained at Tuskegee Army Airfield in Alabama during World War II.
- African-Americans, previously barred from flying with the US military, were segregated at Tuskegee.
- Along with the training in Tuskegee, enlisted personnel were trained across the US, according to Daniel Haulman of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.
- The pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintainers, and others who graduated made history as some of the most respected units of the war.
- They flew missions out of North Africa and Italy, providing air support for ground units and escorting bombers.
In 1941, the US military designated Tuskegee, Alabama, as the training ground for African-American pilots
Though they were finally able to become US military pilots, black Americans trained in segregated facilities
Tuskegee continued training pilots, navigators, bombardiers, and other maintenance and support personnel
The first class of pilots graduated in March 1942.
The Tuskegee Airmen were highly successful during the war, escorting medium and heavy bombers on missions over Italy and Germany
They also flew air-support missions for ground troops
The 99th also provided cover for Allied naval vessels in the Mediterranean Sea
Originally flying out of Tunisia, the pilots later flew out of Sicily before eventually launching missions from mainland Italy
The 99th Fighter Squadron began flying missions from mainland Italy in September 1943
Despite numerous successes in combat, officials still tried to bar the African-American unit from further combat deployments.
Here are insignia for various squadrons on an AY-6 Texan aircraft during a 2012 ceremony honoring Tuskegee Airmen. The top emblem is for the 332nd Fighter Group. The unit insignia, from left to right, are for the 99th, 100th, 301st and 302nd Fighter Squadrons.
In September 2018, the Air Force flew a formation honoring past, present, and future Tuskegee Airmen.
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