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100 Must-Read World War II Books

From the birth of the United States, African American men and women have fought and died in defense of a nation that has often denied them many fundamental rights of citizenship. Now Gerald Astor has chronicled their efforts and accomplishments in this critically acclaimed survey. From Crispus Attucks, first casualty of the American Revolution, to fighters on both sides of the Civil War, Astor moves to the postwar Indian campaigns and the infamous Brownsville riot. He also documents the prejudices and grievous wrongs that have kept African Americans from service-and finally traces their ascent to the highest levels.

The Right to Fight is a groundbreaking contribution to American history. Queen Bess : Daredevil Aviator The first African-American aviator to earn an international pilots license was a woman Movie: Home of the Brave Video Description Based on the play by Arthur Laurents, this film recounts the story of a young black private who suffered a nervous breakdown. Peter Moss' condition was induced by his experience on a reconnaissance mission during WWII and by a lifetime of racial discrimination.

Crippled by rage and trauma, he has developed psychosomatic paralysis. But if he can overcome his anger and frustration, he might just walk again. One of the first bold stances taken on the race issue in Hollywood, though tame by today's standards, the universal message is obviously still very relevant and worthwhile. Tuskegee Airmen. They painted the tails of their Ps bright red, and names like "Hammerin' Hank," "Creamer's Dream," and "'Mo' Downs" on the sides of their aircraft.

But what really made the Tuskegee Airmen distinct was the fact that they never lost a bomber during some escort missions during World War II. There were original Airmen. These included pilots, bombardiers, and navigators. More than 10, black men and women served as their vital support personnel. None of the bombers they escorted was lost to enemy fighters. They flew 15, sorties between May, and June 9, They destroyed enemy aircraft.

They sank a German destroyer using only their machine guns. They disabled more than box cars, locomotives and rolling stock. They won more than medals, including Distinguished Flying Crosses, eight Purple Hearts, 14 Bronze Stars, Air Medals and clusters, and three distinguished unit citations.


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For every pilot, there were at least 10 black men and women on the ground in support roles including mechanics, medical technicians, administrative support and cooks. They were trained at Chanute Field, Illinois. White American pilots were not allowed to fly more than 52 missions, but black American pilots often flew up to missions due to lack of replacements.

Charles E. McGee papers

The all-black th bomber group was activated and scheduled to fight in the Pacific, but the war ended before their deployment. In honor of the Tuskegee Airmen, their instructors and ground support personnel who participated in preparing for combat training at the Walterboro Army Airfield during the Second World War. Because of their heroic action in combat they were called Schwartze Vogelmenschen black bird men by the Germans who both feared and respected them. White American bomber crews in reverence referred to them as the "Red Tail Angels" because of the identifying red paint on their tail assemblies and because of their reputation for not losing any aircraft they protected to enemy fighters as they provided fighter coverage for missions over strategic targets in Europe.

Congress activated the all-black 99th Fighter Squadron on March 22, May 31, the 99th Squadron arrived in North Africa. On July 2, , Lt Hall of Indiana became the first member of the squadron to shoot down a German Focke Wulf aircraft while flying escort duty in Sicily.

No longer restricted to escort duties, they bombed key German targets. On July 4, , the 99th was joined into three other Squadrons: the th, st and the nd Squadrons to form the nd Fighter Group, all of which had been trained at Tuskegee. The group earned a Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation for a spectacular escort mission to Berlin on 24 March On April 26, , the Tuskegee Airmen downed the last four enemy aircraft destroyed in combat in the Mediterranean theater. The mission was always the dominating factor. It was a life and death operation, and it was important to our nation.

Benjamin O. Davis, the Airmen's former commander. The history of the United States is steeped in contributions of the Air Force, formerly Army Air Corps, in preserving and maintaining freedom. The American airmen have been victorious in all of our nation's conflicts. It is important that we continue to acknowledge the sacrifices and service of these men who perform so admirably. I know the accomplishments of the brave and dedicated Tuskegee Airmen will never be forgotten.

Told through interviews with veterans and historical photos, Black Knights is the story of the men and women who served in the training program at Tuskegee Army Air Field from to Based on rigorous research and analysis, what makes this book unique is inclusion of first-hand accounts: the pilots stories are here, as are the experiences of the mechanics, band members, armorers, staff officers, nurses, and more. A third group of Tuskegee Airmen were trained in the U.

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Although they were organized as the th Bombardment Group in , they did not complete their training in time to see overseas combat. Fifty-five airmen were credited with destroying German aircraft in the air.

Tuskegee Airman: The biography of Charles E. McGee, Air Force Fighter Combat Record Holder

Lane, and Second Lieutenant Charles V. They and other airmen destroyed another planes on the ground as well as approximately railcars, trucks, and other motor vehicles. The Airmen received three Distinguished Unit Citations. The second citation was awarded to the 99th Fighter Squadron the unit had been renamed for successful air strikes against Monte Cassino, Italy. The Tuskegee Airmen were often the subjects of incorrect claims that exaggerated or intentionally minimized their role and record in World War II aerial combat.

Yet the accomplishments of these pilots are best summarized by Dr. Daniel L. If they did not demonstrate that they were far superior to the members of the six non-black fighter escort groups of the Fifteenth Air Force with which they served, they certainly demonstrated that they were not inferior to them either.

Tuskegee Airman The Biography of Charles E McGee Air Force Fighter Combat Record Holder

Moreover, they began at a line farther back, overcoming many more obstacles on the way to combat. Colonel Eldrige F.

a book list by Leah Smith, librarian and avid reader

Jack Daniels Holsclaw. A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman. Benjamin O. Davis Jr. A Tuskegee Airmen Love Story. William J. Powell and the Bessie Coleman Aero Club. Skip to content.