This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Tuskegee Airmen, the inspiration for Tuskegee Next.
The Tuskegee Airmen were the men and women who were involved in an Army Air Corps program in World War II to train African-Americans to fly and maintain airplanes for the war effort. In a war against a Third Reich that oppressed those deemed inferior, the Tuskegee effort represented a step forward in proving that those who were overlooked or looked down upon could make a difference.
Fast Facts About the Tuskegee Airmen:
- The tenacious bomber escort cover provided by the 332nd "Red Tail" fighters often discouraged enemy fighter pilots from attacking bombers escorted by the 332nd Fighter Group. The 99th Squadron distinguished itself by being awarded two Presidential Unit Citations (June-July 1943 and May 1944) for outstanding tactical air support and aerial combat in the 12th Air Force in Italy, before joining the 332nd Fighter Group.
- The 332nd Fighter group was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its' longest bomber escort mission to Berlin, Germany on March 24, 1945. During this mission, the Tuskegee Airmen (then known as the 'Red Tails') destroyed three German ME-262 jet fighters and damaged five additional jet fighters.
Honoring the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, Tuskegee Next transforms the lives of at-risk youth through aviation education and career path opportunities, so they can transform their communities and the future of the skies.