After WWII many men were forgotten. Up until 1942 our military had no African Americans in the Air Force. Itwas literally unheard of. In 1917 Walter White the director of the NAACP had demanded that blacks be allowed in the Air Corps.
His demand was not met until March 7, 1942 when thefirst Black military pilots were awarded their wings at Tuskegee Army Airfield, Alabama. This event marked 25 years of determined effort by African American Activists. This was one of the main civil rights topics in the WWII era. After the pilots flight training, there were a select few that made a major impact in the war through their expert piloting skills. This group of African Americans are known today as the Tuskegee Airmen, and they will never be forgotten. Tuskegee Army Air Field was opened July, 23 1941, however training didn't begin until November 1st .
Tuskegee was located in Alabama so it was a clear indication that black pilots were to be trained although all the traineeswere not black.The war department announced in July of 1941 that the 99th Pursuit Squadron would enlist 33 pilots, 27 planes, and 400 men total. It also said that 270 men were also in training to be enlisted as ground and hangar crews. Additionally it stated that Tuskegee had the intention to train100 pilots per year at Tuskegee. In March 1942 thefirst five black pilots graduated. Their names were George S.
Roberts, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., Charles H. BeBow, Jr., Mac Ross, Lemuel R. Custis.
These men completed and passed normal Army flight instruction and many hours of flight time. By July 1942 there were enough black pilots to form a strong squadron. However the Army was not ready to send black pilots overseas, the group stayed at Tuskegee to receive extra combat training under the leadership of Captain Benjamin O. Davis Jr. After being deployed to a base in North Africa, the Airmen got thefirst shot at combat on June 2, 1943. It was just a simple stra..