What should be included in a study guide on the Tuskegee Airmen?

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In making a study guide on the Tuskegee Airmen, a few key points, explained below, should be included:

  • Who were the Tuskegee Airmen? The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of African American military pilots who fought during World War Two. The name of the group comes from the fact that they trained at the Tuskegee Army Air Field and were educated at Tuskegee University. The initial group from 1941 was made up of the 99th Pursuit Squadron, which consisted of 47 officers and 429 enlisted servicemen. Within a year, however, more than 3,000 African American men were stationed and learning at Tuskegee.
  • What did the Tuskegee Airmen do? The 99th Squadron was considered ready for combat by mid-1943, and they were sent to North Africa. Their first mission, an air attack, was a success and saw the surrender of over 11,000 Italians and nearly 80 Germans. Such success from an air attack had never been seen before, and the group therefore received a Distinguished Unit Citation. Over the next year, more students graduated from Tuskegee, and eventually the 332nd Fighter Group was also sent into combat. Today, history remembers the Tuskegee Airmen as some of the most talented pilots of World War Two.
  • What is the significance of the Tuskegee Airmen? Before the Tuskegee Airmen, African Americans had not been allowed to serve as military pilots. Throughout World War One, African Americans were routinely rejected from aviation service due to their race. In 1939, however, Appropriations Bill Public Law 18 was passed in Congress which designated a small amount of funds for the training of African American pilots, though still in segregated settings. Even though they saw much success during the war, they still returned home to racism after the war ended. It was not until 1948 that segregation in the US military ended. At this point, veteran Tuskegee Airmen were instrumental in the growth of the newly formed United States Air Force.

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