The Tuskegee Airmen
Today's United States military allows the aviation field to be filled regardless of gender or race. The courageous military of today has not always been so open-minded nor understanding. In 1925, an Army War College study came to the conclusion that blacks would never have what it takes to fly aircraft of any type because they lacked intelligence and were cowardly under combat conditions. The 1925 Army War College study of "Negroes in combat" had also said that negroes "lacked ambition and courage; they were unsuitable to serve in the military, much less as fighter pilots". That document was used to deny flight training, as well as many other potential leadership positions to African Americans in the U.S. armed forces. At this time there were already several licensed black pilots flying in the United States, but it would be more than 20 years before this utterly harmful notion was pushed aside, and the dream would become a reality where countless heroes would be born.
Although African Americans served in the armed forces, they were limited to which types of jobs and positions they could adventure in. On April 3, 1939 Public law passed which allowed for growth of the Army Air Corps. One section of the law offered the possibility for any African American who wanted to further their military careers besides simply working the chow hall or in the motor pool. It called for the "creation of training programs to be located at black colleges which would prepare African Americans for service in a large range of areas in the Air Corps support services." While the 1939 law required the Army Air Corps to expand, they did not do so as quickly as the minority population wanted. By the end of 1940, the Army Air Corps had still not created an aviation manning document for colored Americans because they felt that the Army War College study was valid and did not want new colored units interfering with their missions. On January 16th, 1941 in response to pressure from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the War Department formed the all-Black 99th Pursuit Squadron of the U.S. Army Air Corps. The new colored recruits were to be trained at the segregated Army Airfield at Tuskegee, Alabama
The Tuskegee Army Airfield officially opened on July 19th, 1941 in Tuskegee Alabama.
Instead of using existing facilities, the military issued Tuskegee Airfield a contract and taught flight training while a separate segregated base was being built for aerial training. The first training program was conducted at the Tuskegee Institute's Moton field using civilian planes. After the cadets completed their primary training, they were sent to Tuskegee Army Air Field for further training on combat aircraft. The training of colored pilots had an increasing element of difficult times because there were no blacks instructors in the military during these times. Because of this, eleven white officers were assigned to instruct the 429 enlisted...