Talk:Tuskegee Airmen

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Tuskegee Airmen:

Here are some tasks awaiting attention:
  • Article requests : Add images to Tuskegee Airmen Commons
  • Cleanup : "See Also" listing
  • Infobox : Add military unit infoboxes for 332nd and 99th to article
  • NPOV : "Convtroversy over the escort record" section; requires rewrite
  • Verify : External links; remove all spam links
    citation/source needed for Lt. Gen. Walter E. Buchanan III quote
Priority 3

Culture chart[edit]

Although I have not checked the references, the chart on culture looked impressive. Perhaps, it should be returned to this page or placed on a new page about this culture. Snowman (talk) 19:20, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree that the chart looked impressive, but my concern was in its use for popular cultural references which is, at best, an aside to the main focus of the article. There were a few errors also in the chart that first piqued my interest, and on reflection, I thought the chart was useful but excessive in its application to a minor section of the article. I can be persuaded, however, and my words are not actually carved in stone... FWIW Bzuk (talk) 19:30, 14 January 2008 (UTC).
I see that you have done some tidy-up work and the list of culture looks good too. On reflection I think that you are correct; nevertheless, I appreciate the hard work that went into making the table. I am sure that tables are needed on some other pages. Snowman (talk) 20:33, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
I absolutely agree that the amount of work in formatting a very presentable and useful table should not be overlooked and I will contact the author to ask him to consider using the same format in other areas. I certainly didn't want to play the ogre after so much creativity and effort was expended as the table was very impressive. FWIW Bzuk (talk) 20:47, 14 January 2008 (UTC).
I guess I'm not clear on why the chart was removed. I understand your point about popular culture references being less important, but that is the reason I moved the information from the main portions of the article and the trivia section and consolidated them at the end of the article in chart. Most of the items within the chart had Wikipedia articles or were already a part of the article, so I saw it as adding to the knowledge base for someone interesed in the Tuskegee Airmen. Absolon S. Kent (talk) 21:09, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Just a minor point: the first column did not sort correctly as it contained both alphabetical and numerical items, but I guess that different date formatting would fix this. Snowman (talk) 21:27, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Looks like the sort function works on the letters. We could probably use only the year in future sortable tables since the actually release day is of less importance. Absolon S. Kent (talk) 22:08, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
I have not tried it but it might work with year-month-day, in that order, when days and months are expressed as numbers, for example YYYY-MM-DD, 2008-01-14. Snowman (talk) 22:32, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Removal of photographs[edit]

Why? Bzuk (talk) 00:34, 15 February 2008 (UTC).

I'm also not sure the series box belongs at the top of the article. I think it was better located in the see also section. Absolon S. Kent (talk) 10:58, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Strange inconsistency[edit]

The article makes the weird claim that the Luftwaffe knew that the pilots of the 99th were black ,and thus gave them the nickname "schwarze Vogelmenschen", but that bomber crews in the USAAF asking for "red-tail escorts" did not know the same fact. This is hard to believe. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:17, February 20, 2008 (UTC)

Soldierofchicago (talk)soldierofchicago- Please read about the Tuskegee airman who was shot down the fall of 1944 in Nazi held territory. Before being sent to the Luft-Stalag the Germans drove him to a huge mansion situated in the German countryside where a Luftwaffe major, probably intelligent chewed the fat with him. This major showed the pilot a picture of himself graduating from flight school. The German officer also told him that he'd spent time in Detroit as the pilot was also from Detroit. Don't take lightly the thoroughness of German intelligence. They knew who the Black pilots, soldiers and sailors by unit designation. —Preceding comment was added at 19:37, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

It's apparently an American tradition to make up names "the Germans" supposedly gave American units, see "Devil Dogs". There is no source for the claim, "Vogelmenschen" is not and has never been German slang for fighter pilots, there are no hits whatsoever in German for this claim and it sounds like a Native American mythological figure, not something a German soldier would've come up with in the mid 1940s. Actual Wehrmacht slang was much more direct and cynical, see here:

On the upside, unlike the hilarious "Teufelshunden", "schwarze Vogelmenschen" is at least grammatically correct. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:24, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Claims, particularly on 24 March 1945[edit]

In general most American fighter and bomber units were guilty of massive over-claiming. I have added "claim" to most of the text that implies the German losses were exact, meaning for example, that it implies that 13 were claimed therefore suggesting that was the exact number shot down.

On 24 March 1945 the text read that the group were credited with three Me 262s to the 322nd. According to German records, JG 7 actually lost four. But what the article does not say is that 11 were claimed by the American unit, ontop of yet more claims made by the US bombers. This makes it impossible to tell what fighter or bomber units were responsible for those kills. Sources and citations added. Dapi89 (talk) 15:43, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

A recent documentary on the History Channel cited 3 confirmed kills, 3 probable and 2 damaged. An amazing display of flying against a technologically superior opponent. The history channel also stated that they drew first blood of any units to face the 262 in combat. Tom 06/14/08 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:42, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

The History Channel program cited was incorrect regarding the first claims against German jets. Fighters of the 15th Air Force were credited with downing 12 German jets from December 1944 to April 1945. The first three Me 262 kills in the 15th were scored by the 31st Fighter Group prior to the 332nd's engagement on March 24 '45. At the end of the war the 31st had downed seven jets followed by the the 332nd with three plus the 52nd and 325th with one each. The overall US record was 17 jets by the 357th Group of the 8th Air Force. See Dr. Frank Olynyk, "USAAF (Mediterranean Theater) Credits for Destruction of Enemy Aircraft in Air to Air Combat, World War 2." Privately printed, 1987. Also William N. Hess, "German Jets vs the U.S. Army Air Force." Specialty Press, 1996.

Btillman (talk) 21:43, 11 August 2011 (UTC)B Tillman Aug 11, 2011

A more complete listing of info on above two sources:

Title: USAAF (European Theater) credits for the destruction of enemy aircraft in air-to-air combat, World War 2 Issue 5 of Victory list Author: Frank J. Olynyk Publisher: F.J. Olynyk, 1987 Length: 829 pages ASIN: B00071PY62

Title: German Jets Versus the U.S. Army Air Force: Battle for the Skies Over Europe Author: William N. Hess Edition: illustrated Publisher: Specialty Press, 1996 ISBN: 0933424639, 9780933424630

Georgejdorner (talk) 17:20, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

George Lucas Movie[edit]

Possible. miranda 22:38, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

destroyer sunk: TA-23?[edit]

In the article we read:

By the end of the war, the Tuskegee Airmen were credited with 109 Luftwaffe aircraft shot down, the German-operated Italian destroyer TA-23 sunk by machine-gun fire, and destruction of numerous fuel dumps, trucks and trains.

but in they wrote:

TA23 was commissioned on 09.10.1943. On 22.04.1944 the ship attacked coastal sites at Bastia and Corsica. During a mine laying operation on 25.04.1944 the ship was hit by a mine disabling the engines. Towed by TA29 , both ships were attacked by British MTB and TA23 had to be sunk by torpedoes fired from TA29.

and in Iron Men, Wooden Boats. the Epic Story of American PT Boats in World War II by Howard F. West:

The TA 23 was so badly damaged, in the action that she had to be abandoned and sunk by one other vessels.

In the Wikipedia article - Ciclone class torpedo boat:

Impavido (...) Captured by the Germans in September 1943, served as TA23. Sunk by mines 25 April 1944

In Museum of Black WW II History they do not mention name of destroyer but the date of battle:

On 25 June 1944, eight P-47s attacked a German destroyer escort with machine-guns, and it blew up and sank.

but no one Ciclone class torpedo boat was sunk on that day.

The name and type of destroyer sunk by Redtails (and date of this operation) has to be verified. Julo (talk) 12:06, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Flight surgeons?[edit]

In my view the African American flight surgeons assigned to the task of training and care of these airmen is a very important part of this history. WWII was an era where tremendous advances in aviation medicine were accomplished and the conditions under which these men lived and worked to support the pilots is nothing short of amazing. Is this article so overloaded with quality information that accomplishments of non-flight personnel just as vital to the team should be overlooked? --Gene Hobbs (talk) 04:15, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Both white and black flight surgeons made their mark during the war. There were also order-of-magnitude advances in signals; wouldn't it be appropriate to talk about African-American signalmen doing their duty?
What I saw in your addition was not an explication of the trials and accomplishments of the black flight surgeons who were involved with the Tuskegee Airmen but an inadequately short tagging-on, an inappropriately brief mention of them alongside ground crew and the presumed pilots who make up an air arm. I saw your addition as a way to get this interesting book into the article, but I didn't think it was done in a manner that served the reader more than it served the book. If flight surgeons are discussed here, I think a fuller description of their experience would be far better than a "me, too" teaser. Binksternet (talk) 04:47, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Ah, OK, thanks for the reply. I was in the midst to expanding on their medical coverage elsewhere in the article using the named reference I had added. When I saw that the reference only lasted 4 minutes I figured I better get clarification here before I wasted more time. I'll try to get back to this later tonight and add all the text at once for you to edit. Thanks again! --Gene Hobbs (talk) 13:33, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
wouldn't this information be better suited in an article devoted to aviation medicine? Just askin'... FWiW Bzuk (talk) 13:47, 3 March 2009 (UTC).
I have none of the books listed in the bibliography but I do have this article that is a great review of the history. My initial intent was to expand the idea that "Until the formation of the Tuskegee flying units, all U.S. Army flight surgeons were white" -p23 and discuss their duties as related to these men. This also shows the importance of these men in broadening boundaries outside of just military aviation. After that I wanted expand some of the background behind the political pressure and events leading to the creation of the unit. "Responding to Hastie’s urgings as well as other pressures, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802, enacted into law in May 1941. Gen. Yount’s 1938 suggestion – to train an all-African American flying unit by establishing a Training Center for this purpose and by providing a similar operational unit for its graduates – was resurrected and approved in December 1940." -p6. It is also interesting to me that Mrs. Roosevelt requested a photo of herself in the "plane and sitting in the cockpit behind Chief Anderson" which "brought Tuskegee aviation to national attention" (would be cool if we could find this photo). This event lead to increases in recruitment. "Cadet selection, classification and initial training" -p30 also has some interesting history. So my intent was not to spend all my time on the flight surgeons in as much as placing the named reference in that location would allow for me to get started. But to be honest, your comment makes me think maybe I should just leave it alone for now and see how it progresses.
A better publication on general history of aviation medicine can be found here if you need it. --Gene Hobbs (talk) 16:43, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
No, no, don't back down. Take at least the first step and write about how flight surgeons were all white until Tuskegee. Please. Binksternet (talk) 16:56, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
I'll try it after work, please check back to edit (my writing sucks so it is usually brief). The photo with Eleanor Roosevelt is already in wikipedia (here). --Gene Hobbs (talk) 17:50, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Not Giving The African American Fighting Men Their Due!![edit]

We must be exceedingly careful not to promote skepticism under the guise of truth. If bombardier squadrons kept requesting the escort of 332nd then that is a testimony to their prowess in the air and to their commander, Colonel Benjamin O Davis Jr who by the way was a stickler for military discipline. The Germans respected the Tuskegee Airmen. One thing about the Germans they've, always respected a formidable opponent on the battlefield. They did'nt underestimate their enemies(for the most part)and tippped their hats off to them!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Soldierofchicago (talkcontribs) 23:03, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

This is an attack on a straw man. This article treats the Tuskegee Airmen with all the respect they're due. Unfortunately, the entire article is disjointed writing. According to the 'Controversy' section toward the end of the article, it was claimed that the Tuskegee Squadron allowed no bomber losses, when in fact bombers were lost. Not to have lost any bombers is improbable. Setting the record straight doesn't diminish the fact that the Tuskegee pilots did quite as well as their white counterparts. Skepticism is almost always healthy. It usually promotes truth. The best reply is verifiable information. Tapered (talk) 05:03, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

To say that the Tuskegee Airmen did quite as well as there white counterparts is an understatement. In the article it states that a historian found evidence of 25 bombers that went down on the Tuskegee Airmen's watch in WWII. The white units were often losing more than that in a single mission. There is just no comparison of statistics when it comes to matching combat accomplishments. They were head and shoulders above their enemy and their American counterparts. You can only draw a parallel between the German pilots and white American pilots. Only 66 Tuskegee Airmen died in combat and only 32 were captured in all of WWII. Tom 08/03/10

Portrait of 332nd pilots from WW2 nominated on wiki commons[edit]

I've nominated Toni Frissell's famous portrait of airmen from the 332nd during World War II in Italy as a featured picture on Wiki Commons. Editors can support the nomination by voting here. Voting closes in nine days. Thank you. --Goldsztajn (talk) 06:13, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Possible addition to the "Popular Culture" Section[edit]

In band camp years ago we learned a piece entitled "The Tuskegee Airmen". Unfortunately, I've misplaced the sheet music, and google has been of no help. Has anyone ever seen/heard of this piece?Pressondude (talk) 00:27, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

I'm not sure if this was a good idea (edit mercilessly, critique mercifully), but I added both a prod deletion and merge tag on Erwin Lawrence, and of course, put a merge tag on this page. Please discuss amongst yourselves. --I dream of horses (talk) 00:37, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Never mind. Apparently, it's been done. --I dream of horses (talk) 00:39, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Another merge idea: Should the 332d Fighter Group article be merged into this? --Zegoma beach (talk) 13:29, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Popular Culture[edit]

I added a reference to Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian to popular culture references. The movie made me more aware of them than I had been previously. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:45, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

15 year old black girl inclusion[edit]

Originally for the Cessna 172 wiki, better here. Will shorten and put in Popular Culture, unless better place is noted.

  • July 13, 2009 15 year old Kimberly Anyadik completed a round trip flight in a 172S N6048Z (172S10217) from Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum in Compton, CA to the east coast and back. She is believed to be the youngest black female to pilot an airplane transcontinentally, with Ronell Norman as safty pilot and Tuskegee Airman Levi Thornhill (after whom the aircraft is named, and why its tail is painted red), stopping at Little Rock’s Central Flying Service, where other members of the Tuskegee Airmen signed her airplane [1] Flightsoffancy (talk) 16:26, 16 July 2009 (UTC)


This is trivia; important for Anyadik but not for this article. Binksternet (talk) 18:18, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Non-encyclopaedic, plus the reference doesn't support the claim. Reference doesn't say anything about it being completed, just that she's flown from California to Arkansas. In fact it doesn't even say she got to Arkansas, just that she's scheduled to get there. However it is still entirely unencyclopaedic. Canterbury Tail talk 01:32, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Squadron comanded by whites and Puerto Ricans?[edit]

I have requested a citation from a recognized, credible source supporting the claim that the squadron was commanded by whites and Puerto Ricans. I am skeptical of it for several reasons. First of all, while the army did segregate white and black troops, there was no segregation on the basis of Puerto Rican or Hispanic ancestry. In fact, the category of Hispanic didn't even exist back then, and wouldn't even appear on the U.S. census until 1980. Moreover, Hispanic does not denote a specific race; Hispanics can be any race. In the 1940's, a white Puerto Rican (i.e. someone who looked like Ricky Martin) would've been categorized as white, and a black or mulatto Puerto Rican (someone who looked like Roberto Clemente) would've been categorized as black. Since its extremely unlikely a black Puerto Rican would have been appointed to command the Tuskegee Airmen, any Puerto Rican appointed commander would almost certainly have been considered white. Some of the commanders may indeed have been Puerto Rican, but I am skeptical of the suggestion that Puerto Ricans were appointed to command the unit as a matter of official policy. ResuModnar (talk) 02:31, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Murder of Airmen[edit]

I'm curious if anyone has ever heard of a case where a Tuskegee Airmen was murdered by the Klan or some other hate group of the time. Also, if at anytime during the War, an American bomber or another fighter flown by a white pilot ever fired on one of the Tuskegee fighters on purpose. -OberRanks (talk) 14:23, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Did you hear about such cases or you are just curious? - Darwinek (talk) 14:35, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Curious after reading about Lemuel Penn. -OberRanks (talk) 14:45, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Lemuel Penn was quite an isolated event, though medially attractive since it came after the Civil Rights Act. I am sure any hate crime aimed at Tuskegee Airmen would be properly documented and well-known. - Darwinek (talk) 15:09, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

New source[edit]

The Tuskegee Airmen: American Heroes sources is not considered a reliable source, Not only is it a junior age novel but it has been described as virtually worthless for research purposes by the American Library Journal. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 22:49, 9 October 2010 (UTC).

That source is not being used in this article.Georgejdorner (talk) 13:45, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Recent re-write[edit]

The latest edits have introduced a "sea of red ink"; are all these "red links" necessary? Is anyone proposing to write articles on all of these topics? FWiW Bzuk (talk) 14:35, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

The "red ink links" gives the administrators some idea of articles still needed. Deleting the red links is a way of indicating that a subject is unimportant enough to merit no article. And I generally don't leave a red link if I don't intend to write an article for that link.

Georgejdorner (talk) 18:23, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Note: I did go on to write articles to connect with the red links.

Georgejdorner (talk) 02:03, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Controversy over escort record[edit]

I believe this section needs to be rewritten and tightened. After reading the sources cited in the article, I see the following facts as key:

1) The belief the Tuskegee Airmen had never lost a bomber stemmed originally from a press release from their higher command, the 15th Air Force.

2) Apparently, no one ever checked the validity and truthfulness of the press release.

3) Citations for decorations awarded the Tuskegee Airmen referred to losses, as did combat reports made out by them.

4) The Tuskegee Airmen were so highly regarded that the claim was easily believed.

If I were rewriting this section at present, I would shape it around these facts. However, I wanted to allow discussion that I hope will lead to consensus on this section, so that it does not become a battleground of rewrites and edit wars.

Georgejdorner (talk) 13:45, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

The section already covers those points, does it not? Or is this about emphasis and presentation? -fnlayson (talk) 14:05, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
There has been some recent editing and revisions, consequently, the section now contains all the pertinent points made above. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 16:16, 11 October 2010 (UTC).
All except the origin of the claim, that is. As the article now stands, the origin of the false claim is vague; many readers will blame it on the Tuskegee Airmen themselves. The fact that many of the Airmen came to believe it is not the same as saying a Tuskegee Airman or Airmen fostered the falsehood, but may come across that way. Georgejdorner (talk) 17:40, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
What is your source for the PR release? Binksternet (talk) 17:49, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
The source of the claim that the Red-Tail fighter group while on escort missions had no bomber losses is identified as a newspaper article "332nd Flies Its 200th Mission Without Loss," in the 24 March 1945 issue of the Chicago Defender and that statement is cited. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 18:18, 11 October 2010 (UTC). The phenomenon of an inaccurate statement being repeated ad nauseam is such a common factor in popular media such as newspapers and journals that most academic research demands primary, secondary and tertiary affirmation is a foregone conclusion. FWiW, although instances of Tuskegee veterans making similar statements are recorded, there is no evidence that the original assertion was made by Tuskegee Airmen.Bzuk (talk) 18:27, 11 October 2010 (UTC) I had the opportunity and honour to listen to a presentation by Dr. Richardson, a surviving Tuskegee Airman whose talk did not assert that the bomber escorts had never lost a bomber. In questioning after the presentation, he specifically addressed the issue and insisted that the "popular press" had made such a claim but no Tuskegee Airman had ever thought that bomber escort missions were entirely without loss. He did proudly state that the missions were highly successful, conducted under adversity and were not generally acknowledged during the war. In postwar reassessment of the Tuskegee Airmen, a great deal of attention was paid to bringing the story to the public and to generations to come through an extensive education program, in which he played no small part, as one of the Airmen who made numerous presentations across North America to interested audiences. FWiW, I have also been present at other Tuskegee Airmen presentations at Dayton, Ohio and Oshkosh, and have never heard the claim made that the fighter group never lost a bomber, except when the question came from a member of the audience. Bzuk (talk) 18:38, 11 October 2010 (UTC).

Unfortunately, you or I can't refer to your personal experiences for a source citation. However, I am here for the same reasons you are, to craft an article that honors these men.

When you parsed the news articles referred to, surely you saw this quote:

"Haulman told the Advertiser he had discovered the claim that the Tuskegee Airmen had never lost a bomber they escorted to enemy fire first appeared on March 24, 1945, in an article in the black newspaper Chicago Defender. The newspaper's headline read "332nd Flies Its 200th Mission Without Loss."

The information was attributed only to "the 15th Air Force, Italy."

Which shows that the Airmen themselves were not the source. This is NOT in the WP article. (Touch of irony here: on 24 March 1945, the 332nd won itself a Distinguished Unit Citation).

As for beliefs of individual Airmen, surely you noticed this quote:

"We had a record that was pretty unique," said Luther Smith, 87, a Tuskegee pilot from outside Philadelphia who said he never witnessed a bomber lost to German fighters during 133 missions.

"I should know," he said. "I was there."

Neither of these two points are covered in the present section. A reader will have to call up those sources on screen to find these facts, as I did when I checked the cites As it stands now, the article's slant is that of the journalists–"They weren't so hot after all."

My reading of the situation is that once the tale took off, some of the Airmen believed the press clippings, and it became a point of pride with them. Not that they needed any more. Their record tells the tale.

Georgejdorner (talk) 20:11, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Not at all, The way the section reads is that the story of the bomber escorts never losing a bomber was traced to a newspaper article; other data disagreed. The Air Force did a review. The Tuskegee Airmen themselves through their umbrella organization, also did not accept the original contention and had data that contradicted the popular view. I do not see what your concerns are, the article never says the Airmen believed the story, in fact, they had doubts from the outset. Quoting inaccurate information from one source to another is the only issue, The Tuskegee Airmen never at any time, made the claim they were "perfect" in their role as bomber escorts, it was an example of an urban myth being exploited. Two axioms to apply: "If it sounds too good to be true..." and "when the legend reads better than the truth..." BTW, Billy the Kid was not "left-handed", never had "gunfights" and did not escape the attention of Pat Garrett, but the story continues unabated about the legendary Western outlaw, not the true nature of a young murderer, whose name really was New Yorker Henry McCarty. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 21:22, 11 October 2010 (UTC).

I must wonder if you even read my last entry. As for a Tuskegee Airman believing that they lost no bombers, I repeat the ignored quote above, which comes from a source given in the Tuskegee Airmen WP article:

QUOTE: "We had a record that was pretty unique," said Luther Smith, 87, a Tuskegee pilot from outside Philadelphia who said he never witnessed a bomber lost to German fighters during 133 missions.

"I should know," he said. "I was there." END QUOTE.

So obviously at least one of the Tuskegee Airmen believed it.

Having disposed of that fallacy, I invite you to quote me the portion of the article that traces the bogus info supplied to the "Chicago Defender" back to 15th Air Force. And please skip irrelevancies like Billy the Kid's much-debated birth name. We're dealing in military history here. Something that could be disposed of in about 100 concise words, for crying out loud.

Georgejdorner (talk) 03:10, 12 October 2010 (UTC) And second thoughts:

Doesn't the fact that we can't agree on a simple reading of the existing text tell you there is something wrong with it? Ambiguity is not encyclopedic.

Georgejdorner (talk) 03:10, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

I think some rewriting is needed for the section. It'd probably be easier for all us to say something more specific about the source than the source in the WP article though. -fnlayson (talk) 04:42, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Knock off the condescension, I read and dismissed your arguments twice. The fact that Tuskegee Airmen knew that bombers were lost on their missions is not challenged. One airmen indicated he did not know of a bomber lost on his missions does not translate to all airmen. The story was a contrived and sensationalized one that was attributed to a newspaper article. The Air Force had records that showed the contrary, they did a report, the Tuskegee Airmen did a report, nearly everyone agreed that the report of no lost bombers was inaccurate. Other voices were heard. I thought you might understand that the inferences of urban mythology, I was wrong. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 14:09, 12 October 2010 (UTC).

Bzuk, I have taken a lot of care to discuss this section with all, including you, because I think a partnership among those of us working on this article would produce the best result.

I agree with your above post, with the exception of your accusation of me being condescending. Might I point out that you never peeped a word about rejecting my previous posts? Can't you see that you gave no indications you even read at least part of my post?

That's why I reprinted the quote proving that a Tuskegee Airman could believe in the false version of the facts; I didn't reprint it just because it contradicted your statement that TAs would not believe in it. I printed it the second time in the form I used because I thought my original post of the quote might not be easily discerned.

I am also baffled by what seems to be your unwillingness to sort through the newspapers' sensationalism and ambiguity and produce a precise encyclopedic account for WP.

I believe the heart of this controversy is a chronological one (the following is based on sources cited in WP article):

9 June 1944: Bombers lost.

12 July 1944: Bombers lost.

18 July 1944: Bombers lost.

20 July 1944: Bombers lost.

26 July 1944: One bomber lost.

31 August 1944: A mission report on the 332nd notes that Colonel Davis's skill held bomber losses to "only a few".

12 September 1944: One B-17 lost.

24 March 1945: "Chicago Defender" runs article based on 15th AF info about the 332nd FG's perfect escort record.

Also 24 March 1945: 332nd wins Distinguished Unit Citation for its escort mission to Berlin. However, some bombers were lost on this mission.

2006–2007: Historians finally start putting together the information that would finally update the original (inadvertently incorrect) "Chicago Defender" article. The conclusion seems to be the loss of 25 or fewer bombers, while other fighter groups escorting bombers were known to lose 25 or more bombers per mission.

Daniel Haulman, USAF Historian, used official reports to find 25 bombers had been lost up to and including 24 March 1945. Tuskegee Airman historian William Holtman scrutinized the same records, and did not disagree.

Lets see if we can use this chronology to produce a clear and definitive section to this article.

Georgejdorner (talk) 19:36, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Rest assured that I have read all your statements, comments and discussion points. I just do not attribute that much importance to what is now a "non-issue" although it once was a contentious one. Are we "beating a dead horse" now? FWiW, Bzuk (talk) 23:46, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Disappearing text[edit]

Once again, properly sourced information that I added has disappeared from the article without leaving a clue on the Page History. Somehow, this has happened several times since I have been working on this article. This disappearance of text makes me feel uneasily unwelcome.

If there is someone sabotaging my efforts, I would appreciate being treated with the same respect I have shown for prior editors. I have limited myself to removing only such unsourced material as was contradicted by reliable sources, which I then cited. All other unsourced material has been preserved while being placed into continuity.

I am trying to clarify this article as an umbrella article that serves as a focal point for the units that constituted the Tuskegee Airmen, as well as relate their historical importance. As is my custom, I am citing sources for everything. I am working from the principle that extended accounts of feats by individuals or units belong in a bio, either personal or unit. At present, I am trying to gather material to write the bomber squadron histories.

Georgejdorner (talk) 18:38, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps there is an upload problem at your end. As far as I know, only horribly abusive posts and ones that reveal personal information are removed from Wikipedia, and many of those leave traces in article histories—the posts are noted as deleted, with the note remaining.
I doubt you are experiencing a lack of respect. If I saw something going on here out of the ordinary I would be on it ASAP. Binksternet (talk) 21:17, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Is Ambrose reliable?[edit]

Given Steven Ambrose's reputation for inaccuracy and plaigarism, can he be a reliable source for this article?

Georgejdorner (talk) 01:43, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

No harm done. Judging by a quick look, it seems that Ambie Boy is only mentioned regarding his own work. Brutal Deluxe (talk) 02:15, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

No, not in the slightest, it would probably be best to remove any reference to his work, much of it contains glaring innaccuracies. ( (talk) 11:43, 5 September 2013 (UTC))

File:Tuskegee airman2.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Tuskegee airman2.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on June 11, 2011. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2011-06-11. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page so Wikipedia doesn't look bad. :) Thanks! howcheng {chat} 16:13, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Tuskegee Airman
A portrait of Edward M. Thomas, one of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American pilots in United States military history. During World War II, the U.S. military was still racially segregated. In 1941, the Army Air Corps formed the 99th Pursuit Squadron. Their first combat assignment was to attack the island of Pantelleria in preparation for the Allied invasion of Sicily. On June 11, 1943, the island surrendered; it was the first time in history an enemy's military resistance had been overcome solely by air power.Photo: Toni Frissell; Restoration: Lise Broer

Pantelleria - not the first time for air power[edit]

Currently the text states that the surrender of the island of Pantelleria was "the first time in history an enemy's military resistance had been overcome solely by air power." Is this true? The resistance of Mahsud tribesmen in South Waziristan in 1925 was overcome by air power alone (see Pink's War). Maybe there are other examples. Greenshed (talk) 13:08, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

As I recall, I was the editor who posted the claim about Pantelleria. I do not know what became of the cite for it, but I distinctly recall that the claim was backed by reference to texts on the Tuskegee Airmen.

Greenshed's point is well made. The only possible difference could be that Pantelleria was occupied after its surrender, while the homelands of the Mahsud were not. Whether that niggling point may change the claim, I don't pretend to know.

However this claim of uniqueness turns out, the Tuskegee Airmens' reduction of Pantelleria should remain in the article because it shows that the brass that wanted to eliminate the 99th Fighter Squadron would–to put it mildly–bend the truth to further their aim. In other words, if the "famous first" is deleted, please leave in the rest of the story concerning Pantelleria.

Georgejdorner (talk) 17:17, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

The historical instances of air power overcoming an enemy alone are limited. The Tuskegee Airmen's action at Pantelleria is still highly significant. Greenshed (talk) 17:17, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Why is the word "white" and the word "race" in quotation marks in this article?[edit]

I suspect someone with an agenda is trying to make some kind of point. We read:

The "white" population of Freeman Field was 250 officers and 600 enlisted men. Superimposed on it were 400 African-American officers and 2,500 enlisted men of the 477th and its associated units. Freeman Field had a firing range, usable runways, and other amenities useful for training. African-American airmen would work in proximity with "white" ones; both "races" would live in a public housing project adjacent to the base.

HedgeFundBob (talk) 04:43, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

Use of quotation marks, commonly called "scare quotes" identify the unconventional or unusual use of a word, or term. In World War II Army parlance, there were no "whites" as such, since soldiers were not identified as such, although it is a commonly understood term today. As to "races", that was more often a colloquialism for discrimination, and during the period, often black or African-Americans were not even considered as a racial group, but were often denigrated as sub-human. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 04:52, 22 July 2011 (UTC).
Please link to some reliable source establishing these points. In any case, this reasoning does not strike me as compelling and is entirely too subtle. How could one infer that the frame of reference of the article had suddenly shifted to "World War II Army parlance"? I'm not even sure what "races" being "a colloquialism for discrimination" means, either. I always assumed that "races" referred to the various races of human beings, and am confident this was how the term was employed in the period in question. Please also link to official Army policy establishing that black wasn't a race. TIA.HedgeFundBob (talk) 06:18, 22 July 2011 (UTC)


The fact of racial segregation in U. S. society is so well known that it needs no reference. As can be seen here, the residue of that prejudice haunts us now even in the vocabulary of this article. The quest here is not for a reference to prove something as basic as the presence of air in the atmosphere; it is for basic vocabulary to suit the unjust situation of racial prejudice.

To those of us old enough to personally recall how racial segregation worked in America, Bzuk's comments are a statement of the obvious. However, he is too narrow-gauged. The entirety of American society was that rotten with prejudice. The American military only reflected the society from which it sprang.

At any rate, today's vocabulary monger should probably light on the terms "African-American" and "Caucasian" as the relevant terms.

Georgejdorner (talk) 16:48, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

1949 Las Vegas gunnery contest[edit]

I'm a member of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. and am quite involved with the group as a youth mentor and aviation instructor. I'm also an aviation-history writer for both Air & Space Smithsonian and Aviation History Magazines--byline Stephan Wilkinson. It happens that I'm currently working on an article about the Las Vegas gunnery meet won as a team (not the individual-pilot championship, in which they came in second) by the 332nd Fighter Group. In the last several days, I have interviewed both James Harvey and Harry Stewart, the two surviving pilots from that team of four pilots plus ground personnel. (One pilot was an alternate, a stand-by in case one of the three main team members was hurt or whatever).

This article's description of the winning team having been declared "unknown" at the conclusion of the contest is wrong. What happened was that the winners were openly known and acknowledged, they were photographed with the trophy at a banquet at the Flamingo Hotel, and the 332nd's name was engraved on the trophy--it's currently on display at the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB, if anybody doubts me. Many months later, however, the 1949 Annual of the Air Force Association, which lists all Air Force accomplishments, records, etc. for the year--then for some reason declared the winner of the 1949 Conventional Class (piston-engine aircraft, since there was also a Jet Class) to be "unknown." That one-word description was perpetuated annually until 1993, I believe, when it was finally corrected. The popular myth is that this was all part of a racist attempt by the USAF to discredit the 332nd, but the truth probably is that it was all part of a typical military screw-up; the trophy itself was "lost" for many years and ultimately discovered in a Wright-Patterson storage room in 1996.

I have no interest in editing Wikipedia, nor do I have the time or interest to come up with any of your beloved "citations" to support the above. Your text is wrong, however, and you people can do whatever you wish to correct it. Or not. what the hell, you can use my article as a citation when it's published in January 2012 in Aviation History. Again, or not. (talk) 21:43, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

uncited claim[edit]

"Some claim that after tallying up the score, the organizers announced the third and second place winners and claimed that the first place squadron was unknown. It has also been claimed that years later the Airmen fought for the recognition for winning the competition, and succeeded.[citation needed]"

If you can find a source for this statement, you can put it back in the article. Xaxafrad (talk) 07:34, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

Role of Adjutant General ES Adams[edit]

I got this information here: I'm confused about his role..

Twillisjr (talk) 17:08, 12 March 2012 (UTC)


In one place it stated the "332nd first saw active combat in January 1944", then a couple of paragraphs later the "332nd first saw combat in February 1944". Two of the three separate lists of accomplishments (prior to consolidation) disagreed on the number of DFCs. One said 96, the other "An estimated one hundred and fifty". I left the earlier date and the 150 in for the moment until I can dig into this or somebody else figures them out. Clarityfiend (talk) 03:36, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

96 DFCs. Can't find the 332nd's first month of action, so I took the sentence out. Clarityfiend (talk) 00:25, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

to Jim

Jim I was stationed at the Freeman Field Twin engine Training base in Seymour Indiana at the same time as the Tuskegee airmen. At that time on graduating as Lieutenants they tried to enter the white Officers club. the white colonel Robert E. Selway had some of them jailed . He was relieved of his command. I wrote the details in my novel American Corruption. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:36, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Poor Military Record[edit]

According to this they lost more of their own planes than they shot down. In the same time period, other groups flying the same planes shot down twice as many airplanes as they lost.

Very poor showing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:04, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Active Duty Air Force Building[edit]

On a wall hangs a picture in the commanders section: it explains in brief how the red tails destroyed a ship with machine gun fire, never lost one bomer during their escorts.

 I am sure, our military would not permt false advertisement of their actions.

As all creeds of men and women come to grip with fact all peoples have and are fighting for freedom[s] in all levels of almost every aspect of our creation the red tails sought to break formation and go after those aircraft who sought to destroy our way to hope, freedom and liberty for all. (talk) 16:53, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

Lieutenant, not lieutenant colonel[edit]

The first photo caption refers to Lee Archer as a "lieutenant colonel." Archer was never a lieutenant colonel. He was a first lieutenant. (talk) 19:08, 24 January 2016 (UTC)

Red Tail Aces[edit]

It is my understanding is that there was not a single pilot from all the Tuskegee Airmen to achieve the position of Ace (Five Kills)during the entire War. Is this correct?...Mike Peppard — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:48, 16 August 2016 (UTC)

First Lady's Flight - brouhaha[edit]

Is "brouhaha" really an appropriate word to be using in encyclopedic prose? It may be part of an english dictionary somewhere but perhaps something along the lines of "public controversy" would be better. My experience with this word always had the connotations of conflict or fighting as in, "the argument led to a brouhaha at the bar." Garyvp71 (talk) 21:23, 27 February 2017 (UTC)