African American History
There were many African American brigades and small units that have contributed to the war greatly, but the most famous one was the Tuskegee Airmen. The Tuskegee Airmen consists of a group of Black pilots of the U.S. Army Air Corps.
Before the Tuskegee, there were only white pilots in the Air Corps. Congress, in 1941, made the Army form a unit composing of only African Americans because they wanted to give them the opportunity to contribute to the war. In order to do this, the government set up a system to recruit the pilots for the unit. Thus in June 1941, the Tuskegee unit was activated, and known as the 99th Fighter Squadron. They trained at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama.
The Tuskegee Airmen were prepared for combat and were first deployed to Casablanca, Morocco. They were in combat with the Luftwaffe. The pilots and ground crew of the Tuskegee's were left with no guidance because of segregation. Their goal was to take over Pantelleria, Italy. But then the 99th fighter Squadron were stationed in Sicily for the Anzio Campaign, joining the 79th Fighter Squadron and was fully in combat. They were equipped with P-39 Aircobra, P-47 Thunderbolts, and their signature plant, the P-51 Mustang. The “Redtail Angels,” as they were called by the Allies, had never lost a man to an enemy.
They destroyed over 400 aircraft and sunk a destroyer. The Tuskegee Airman flew more than 1,500 missions. The men were awarded two Presidential Units Citations, 744 Air Medals, 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, several Silver Stars, and fourteen Bronze Stars. The U.S. was looking for experienced pilots and the Tuskegee Airmen were them. They also marked the end of segregation in the U.S. military and now were in high demand through the new United States Air Force.
Source: “Tuskegee Airman ." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 11 Jul. 2004. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_Airmen >.