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Tuskegee Airmen

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Known as the "Red Tails" because of their unit markings, the Tuskegee Airmen overcame much adversity to become one of the most respected units of the Army Air Corps. In June 1941, the Tuskegee Airmen program officially began at the Tuskegee Institute, a highly regarded university founded by Booker T. Washington in Tuskegee, Alabama. The Airmen, including ground support crews, were placed under the command of Capt. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., one of the few African American West Point graduates. The Tuskegee Airmen saw their first combat mission in North Africa in 1943. They were initially equipped with P-40 Warhawks and P-39 Airacobras. Later they had the P-47 Thunderbolts, and finally were given the airplane they would become most identified with, the P-51 Mustang. By the end of the World War II, the Tuskegee Airmen achieved a very impressive combat record, shooting down well over 100 German aircraft and receiving three distinguished unit citations. The Tuskegee Airmen were also awarded several Silver Stars, 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 8 Purple Hearts, 14 Bronze Stars and 744 Air Medals. Their valiant efforts lead the way to the desegregation of the armed forces in 1948.
Inducted in 2008.
Portrait Location: Hall of Fame Hallway

Induction Video

San Diego Air & Space Museum

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