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History of the Tuskegee Airmen 1941-45

A Timeline of the History of the Tuskegee Airmen

The following is a general chronology of the major events which led to the formation of the Tuskegee Airmen through their on going efforts today to teach young Americans the value of "excellence in education" and "accurate historical facts omitted from U.S. history books."

May, 1939--Two pilots of The National Airman's Association, an organization comprised of black pilots, meet with Senator Harry S. Truman from Missouri. Truman helps sponsor a bill to allow black pilots to serve in the Civilian Pilot Training Program.

December, 1940--The Army Air Corps submits a plan to the War Department for an "experiment" forming an all black fighter squadron with thirty-three pilots.

January 16, 1941--The 99th Pursuit Squadron is formed by the War Department to be trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Alabama.

July 19, 1941 Tuskegee Army Air Field officially opens.

March 1, 1942--Captain Benjamin Davis, Jr. is promoted to Lt. Colonel.

March 7, 1942--the first class of Tuskegee pilots graduates and earn their wings.

August 24, 1942--Lt. Colonel Benjamin Davis, Jr. takes command of the 99th Fighter Squadron.

April 15, 1943--The 99th (The Lonely Eagles) heads for North Africa.

July 2, 1943--Captain Charles B. Hall is the first Tuskegee pilot to down an enemy aircraft. He shoots down a FW-190 and damges an Me-109.

1943--Lt. Colonel Benjamin Davis, Jr. leaves the 99th to return home to command the 332nd Fighter Group. The 332nd is comprised of the all black 100th, 301st and 302nd Fighter Squadrons.

October 7, 1943 the 99th is attached to the 79th Fighter Group of the 12th Air Force.

January, 1944--Lt. Colonel Benjamin Davis, Jr. and the 332nd arrive in Taranto, Italy and attached to the 12th Air Force.

June 25, 1944--pilots of the 302nd Fighter Squadron sink a German destroyer with machine gun fire from their P-47's.

June,1944--The 332nd is attached to the 15th Air Force. The 99th Fighter Squadron is added to the 332nd Fighter Group as its fourth squadron.

August, 1944--The 332nd participates in the invasion of southern France by escorting bombers and on ground attack missions in Rumania and Czechoslovakia.

September 10, 1944--Four pilots of the 332nd are awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

March 15, 1945--The all black 477th Bombardment Group is moved from Godman Field, Kentucky to Freeman Field, Indiana.

April 1, 1945--The men of the 477th protest the strict segregationist policies ordered by base commander Colonel Robert Selway in a document called Regulation 85-2.

April 5, 1945--The some black pilots led by 2nd Lt. Roger C. Terry and Lt. Marsden Thompson try to enter the segregated officer's club.

April 9, 1945--Base commander Colonel Robert Selway orders the black officers to sign a statement that they have read and accept Regulation 85-2. The 101 officers refuse in what was called the Freeman Field Incident. [Note: For more information, see the book "The Tuskegee Airmen Mutiny at Freeman Field" by Lt. Col. James C. Warren.]

June, 1945--Colonel Benjamin Davis, Jr. is named commander of the 477th Composite Group, which includes the 99th and 100th Fighter Squadrons. They begin training for combat in the Pacific Theater.

August 14, 1945--World War II ends with the surrender of Japan.

August 12, 1995--The Air Force clears the service records of Tuskegee Airmen involved in the so called "Freeman Field Mutiny" vindicating their stand for equality.

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