The Tuskegee Airmen is the popular name of a group of African-American military pilots (fighter and bomber) who fought in World War II. Formally, they formed the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Forces. The name also applies to the navigators, bombardiers, mechanics, instructors, crew chiefs, nurses, cooks and other support personnel for the pilots.
In all, 992 pilots were trained in Tuskegee from 1941 to 1946. 355 were deployed overseas, and 84 lost their lives in accidents or combat. The toll included 68 pilots killed in action or accidents, 12 killed in training and non-combat missions and 32 captured as prisoners of war. The Tuskegee Airmen were credited by higher commands with the following accomplishments:
1578 combat missions, 1267 for the Twelfth Air Force; 311 for the Fifteenth Air Force179 bomber escort missions, with a good record of protection, losing bombers on only seven missions and a total of only 27, compared to an average of 46 among other 15th Air Force P-51 groups
112 enemy aircraft destroyed in the air, another 150 on the ground and 148 damaged
950 rail cars, trucks and other motor vehicles destroyed (over 600 rail cars)
One destroyer put out of action.
40 boats and barges destroyed
Awards and decorations included:
Three Distinguished Unit Citations
99th Pursuit Squadron: 30 May–11 June 1943 for actions over Sicily
99th Fighter Squadron: 12–14 May 1944: for successful air strikes against Monte Cassino, Italy
332d Fighter Group (and its 99th, 100th, and 301st Fighter Squadrons): 24 March 1945: for a bomber escort mission to Berlin, during which pilots of the 100th FS shot down three enemy ME-262 jets. The 302nd Fighter Squadron did not receive this award as it had been disbanded on 6 March 1945.
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