Tuskegee Airmen-A Salute to The "RED TAILS"
in Italy in WWII
The 332nd Fighter Group,
known as the
"The Redtails"
the famous All-Black Outfit
was the only
U.S. Fighter Group in WWII
that could claim to have
never lost a bomber
while escorting to and
from a target
President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the Army Air Corps to form an all-Negro flying unit in 1940.
The Air Corps opened a new training base
at the Tuskegee Institute in central Alabama in order to train the Negro pilots needed for the new squadron. As a result the 99th. Pursuit Squadron was created.
In the spring of 1941 the first African-American enlisted men began training to
become mechanics and the first thirteen candidates entered pilot training.
Pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group, "Tuskegee Airmen," the elite, all-African American 332nd Fighter Group at Ramitelli, Italy., from left to right, Lt. Dempsey W. Morgran, Lt. Carroll S. Woods, Lt. Robert H. Nelron, Jr., Capt. Andrew D. Turner, and Lt. Clarence P. Lester.
Captain Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., became the first Negro to solo an aircraft as an U.S. Army Air Corps officer on September 2, 1941.
On March 7, 1942 the first a contingent of young black pilots were inducted into the U.S. Army Air Corps on Tuskegee's airstrip. Eight days later the 100th Fighter Squadron was established as a part of the 332nd Fighter Group.

Designated the 99th. the Fighter Squadron arrived in Africa May 31, 1943, and attached to the 33rd Fighter Group flying P-40s. The first mission was flown 3 days later by Lt. William A. Campbell, Charles B. Hall, Clarence C. Jamison and James R. Wiley.
On June 9,1943 six pilots became the first U.S. Negro pilots to engage in aerial combat.
Led by Lt. Charles Dryden, Lt. Willie Ashley, Sidney P. Brooks, Lee Rayford, Leon Roberts and Spann Watson, exchanged fire with German fighter planes, with no losses to either side
On July 4, 1944, the 99th was joined with three other Squadrons: the 100th, 301st and the 302nd to form the 332nd Fighter Group of the 15th Air Force. These were all-Negro squadrons, all trained at Tuskegee.
The Group transitioned to Mustangs
decorating them with bright red spinners
and tails, Thus earning their nickname,
On March 24, 1945, Col. Davis led the Group on the longest escort mission ever flown by the Fifteenth Air Force, a 1600-mile round trip to the Daimler-Benz tank works in Berlin. On this mission, Roscoe C. Brown, Jr., Charles Brantly and Earl Lane, each shot down a German
Me-262 jet fighter aircraft.
As a result of this mission the Group
received a Distinguished Unit Citation
for their achievements that day.

The combat record of the Tuskegee Airmen

• Over 15,000 combat sorties (Including 6000+
for the 99th prior to July '44)
• 111 German airplanes destroyed in the air
• 150 German aircraft destroyed on the ground
• 950 railcars, trucks, and other motor vehicles destroyed
• 1 destroyer sunk by P-47 machine gun fire
• Sixty-six pilots killed in action or accidents
• Thirty-two pilots downed and captured, POWs
• NO Bombers were ever lost to Enemy Aircraft while being escorted
• 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses earned
• 744 Air Medals
• 8 Purple Hearts
• 14 Bronze Stars

•••We of the 464th and 465th Bomb Groups•••
As well as all of the other Groups in the 15th AF

Notice: All photos unless otherwise noted are from my original negatives and are copyrighted.
email: frank@frankambrose.com