Compiled by S. Davis & J. Adams – Contributions to WWI & II
America, Britain’s ally
The first all-black flying unit in the American military, the 99th Pursuit Squadron was formed in 1941. During World War II the servicemen trained at the segregated Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama.
The squadron were trained using single-engine plains at the Tuskegee base. Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr. became squadron’s commander, and their first mission was on June 2, 1943.
The Tuskegee airfield programme later expanded to train pilots and crew to operate two-engine B – 25 medium bombers. Most of the black aviation cadets were college undergraduates. In total 992 pilots graduated from the Tuskegee airfield course. The man flew 1,578 missions and 15, 533 sorties, and won over 850 medals.
George Spencer “Spanky” Roberts
Roberts, one of the first of the famed “Tuskegee Airmen” to fly and commanded fighter planes during World War II. After a long and decorated career with the U.S. Air Force, Roberts embarked on a second career as a Wells Fargo banker from 1968 to 1982.
In total, over one million African Americans served their country in WWII, including several thousand women. Despite the proven abilities of these troops, the U.S government kept its practice of segregation in place, right up until the close of the war.
**It is not our white brother’s fault that our story has not been told, but ours for not having an interest. Our media and church leaders, those who should lead us and help us remember our history; often let these occasions pass in blissful ignorance. We were not responsible for yesterday; however, today is in our hands. If we have a part in today, we too have to share the responsibility for tomorrow.
Dedicated to Charles Brown