February 19

February 19, 1942 – Tuskegee Airmen Activated

On February 19,1942,  the 100th Fighter Squardron was activated in the 332 Fighter Group which is better known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

Tuskegee airmen 2

Photograph shows several Tuskegee airmen. Front row, left to right: unidentified airman; Jimmie D. Wheeler (with goggles); Emile G. Clifton (cloth cap) San Francisco, CA, Class 44-B. Standing left to right: Ronald W. Reeves (cloth cap) Washington, DC, Class 44-G; Hiram Mann (leather cap); Joseph L. “Joe” Chineworth (wheel cap) Memphis, TN, Class 44-E; Elwood T. Driver? Los Angeles, CA, Class 44-A; Edward “Ed” Thomas (partial view); Woodrow W. Crockett (wheel cap); at Ramitelli, Italy, March 1945. (Source: Tuskegee Airmen 332nd Fighter Group pilots.)

The 100th Fighter Squardron was the second African American combat unit of the Tuskegee Airmen and the Army Air Force. The first was the 99th which was activated on March 22, 1941. Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American soldiers to fly during World War II. These heroic soldiers fought valiantly in the war even when many initially doubted the flying capabilities of African Americans.

Tuskegee Airmen touring Balad Air Base

Captain Mark Ferstl (left) explains an unmanned aerial vehicle’s ground control station to Tuskegee Airmen retired Lieutenant Colonel Lee Archer (sitting) retired Lieutenant Colonel Robert Ashby (back right) and retired Colonel Dick Toliver (leaning on the chair). The Tuskegee Airmen are here to meet deployed 332d Expeditionary Operations Group Airmen and observe operations.

The Tuskegee Airmen proved that not only could they fly, but they were as good as any of America’s pilots during the war.  The Tuskegee Airmen whose chief role was the protection of large bombers from German fighter planes participated in over 15,000 sorties from May 1943 to June 1945.  Approximately 1000 pilots were trained at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

 

Tribute To Black History Month

December 19, 1875 – April 3, 1950 – Carter Godwin Woodson

Carter G Woodson portrait

Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Dr. Carter G. Woodson  began “Negro History Week” the forerunner to Black History Month. Dr. Woodson was a noted, historian, journalist, author and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.