On this date in Tuskegee Airmen History


History makes us smart, Hertiage makes us proud

The following information was taken from the current "Tuskegee Airmen Chronology," written by Daniel L. Haulman, PhD, Chief, Organization History Division, Air Force Historical Research Agency.  This information is provided to provided short comments on the Tuskegee Airmen History.  They may cause you to want and know more!

DD/MMM Event(s)

23 Mar

23 March 1944: Enlisted members of the 99th Fighter Squadron assisted in the evacuation of areas threatened by the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius. The 99th Fighter Squadron flew one dive-bombing mission against an enemy artillery position, dropping eight 1,000 pound bombs. (99th Fighter Squadron War Diary for March 1944)

23 March 1946: Twelve new black military pilots graduated from advanced pilot training at Tuskegee Army Air Field. Eight of them belonged to class SE-46-A for single engine pilots, and four of them belonged to class TE-46-A for twin engine pilots.

24 Mar

24 March 1943: Lt. Earl E. King became the third casualty of the 99th Fighter Squadron (99th Fighter Squadron history, Mar 1941-17 Oct 1943)
24 March 1944: A shift in the wind relieved the 332nd Fighter Group at Montecorvino, Italy, from ash falling from the continuing eruption of Mount Vesuvius. (332nd Fighter Group history, Oct 1942-1947) Ash from the eruption began falling on Capodichino, Italy, home of the 366th Service Group. (366th Service Squadron history, call number SQ-SV-366-HI).

24 March 1944: The 99th Fighter Squadron dive-bombed an enemy artillery position, using twelve P-40s, each carrying a 1,000 pound bomb. (99th Fighter Squadron War Diary, March 1944)

24 March 1944: Class 44-2-A of B-25 transition school at Mather Field, California, graduated. Among the graduates were 9 of the 10 black pilots who started the class in January. They were transferred to Selfridge Field, Michigan, where the 477th Bombardment Group was based. (Mather Field History, Mar-Apr 1944, vol. I, AFHRA call number 286.24-5, p. 6; History of B-25 Transition School at Mather Field, California, 1 Jan-29 Feb 1944, AFHRA call number 286.24-4, vol, 7, p. 2).

25 Mar

25 March 1942: The 689th Signal Aircraft Warning Company was activated at Tuskegee Army Air Field, Alabama. (organizational record card of 689 Sig AW Co).

25 March 1943: Class SE-43-C graduated from advanced pilot training at Tuskegee Army Air Field. This was the twelfth class to graduate, and there were 13 graduates that day. (Roster of TAAF graduates)

25 March 1944: At night an enemy air raid struck the area of the 99th Fighter Squadron, at least the second such raid during the month. (99th Fighter Squadron War Diary, March 1944)

26 Mar

26 March 1942: Lt. Wallace P. Reed became commander of the Tuskegee Weather Detachment at Tuskegee Army Air Field, becoming the station weather officer. (67 AAFBU history, 21 Mar 1942-30 Sep 1944).

26 March 1943: The ground echelon of the 332nd Fighter Group and its 100th, 301st, and 302nd Fighter Squadrons departed Tuskegee Army Air Field, heading for Selfridge Field, Michigan. The men boarded a train at a nearby station for the move. The move eased overcrowding at Tuskegee Army Air Field. (332nd Fighter Group History, Oct 1942-1947)

26 March 1944: The 99th Fighter Squadron flew one dive-bombing and three patrol missions. (99th Fighter Squadron War Diary, March 1944)

26 March 1944: Mount Vesuvius became calm again, after four days erupting. (332nd Fighter Group history, Oct 1942-1947) Its ash fall had crippled B-25s stationed near it.

27 Mar

27 March 1944: The 99th Fighter Squadron flew another dive-bombing mission against enemy targets in Italy. Two P-40s were damaged by flak. (99th Fighter Squadron War Diary for March 1944)

28 Mar

28 March 1943: The air echelon of the 332nd Fighter Group flew from Tuskegee Army Air Field, Alabama, to Selfridge Field, Michigan. (332nd Fighter Group history, Oct. 1942-1947)

28 March 1944: Two P-39s of the 332nd Fighter Group’s 302nd Fighter Squadron, flying a patrol mission with 38 other P-39s along the coast of Italy, chased and fired at a German Ju-88 airplane. Although they saw it smoking, they did not see it go down. (report on incident, sent by Dr. Frank Olynyk)

29 Mar29 March 1941: Ms. Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, visited Kennedy Field in the Tuskegee area and was taken up in an aircraft piloted by Chief C. Alfred Anderson, Tuskegee Institute’s chief instructor pilot. Ms. Roosevelt was a Rosenwald Fund trustee who helped secure funding for the construction of Moton Field at Tuskegee. [Robert J. Jakeman, The Divided Skies (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1992), pp. 245-246. A popular story claims that Ms. Roosevelt was discouraged by her Secret Service escorts from going on the flight, but a historian who has researched the lives of the First Ladies noted that not long after Roosevelt first took office, Eleanor Roosevelt “adamantly refused Secret Service protection,” and Secret Service agents might have not been with her that day. (Lewis Gould, American First Ladies: Their Lives and Their Legacy [Routledge, 2014], p. 294.
29 March 1942: Five members of the Army Nurse Corps were assigned to Tuskegee Army Air Field. Among them was 1st Lt. Della H. Raney, who became the chief nurse at the base. (Tuskegee Army Air Field history, call number 289.28-1 at the Air Force Historical Research Agency).

29 March 1943: The ground echelon of the 332nd Fighter Group completed its move from Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama to Selfridge Field in Michigan (Maurer, Air Force Combat Units of World War II).

29 March 1944: 99th Fighter Squadron P-40 pilots flew two dive-bombing missions against enemy artillery positions. (99th Fighter Squadron War Diary, March 1944)

29 March 2007: All of the estimated 16-19,000 participants [both living and deceased] of the "Tuskegee Experience," who are known as Tuskegee Airmen, were collectively, not individually awarded the Congressional Gold Medal (CGM) by former President George W. Bush and the Congress in a one-time only ceremony held inside the U.S. Capitol Rotunda with 300 Tuskegee Airmen and widows present, representing all of the Tuskegee Airmen. The ceremony was broadcast on national television, and the gold medal honoring the Tuskegee Airmen collectively was unveiled, although Congress had already voted the previous year to award it. While the President did not mention the “never lost a bomber” claim during the ceremony, it was mentioned by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, who was not aware that it had been called into question. Immediately following the ceremony, the one and only Tuskegee Airmen CGM was taken to the Smithsonian Institution (National Air & Space Museum), and was later transferred to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in March, 2016. (Ron Brewington, National Public Relations Officer, Tuskegee Airmen Incorporated at the time).

30 Mar30 March 1944: The 99th Fighter Squadron flew two missions. On the second one, squadron P-40s dropped eight 1,000 pound bombs on an enemy command post. One of the P-40 pilots, after his fighter was hit by flak, crash-landed in a friendly area of southern Italy, and was rescued by Allied forces from New Zealand. The pilot was Lt. John S. Sloan. (99th Fighter Squadron War Diary, March 1944)

30 March 1944: The Statistical Control Division, Office of Management Control, issued a report on “Operations of the 99th Fighter Squadron Compared with Other P-40 Aircraft Squadrons in the MTO (Mediterranean Theater of Operations), 3 July 1943-31 January 1944.” The report noted that the black 99th Fighter Squadron had performed as well as other squadrons with which it served, implying that the letter of General House dated 16 September 1943, which had called the squadron inferior, had been wrong. (AFHRA call number 134.65-496; IRIS number 112858)

31 Mar

31 March 1942: 2nd Lieutenant Harold C. Magoon, second highest ranking white officer at Moton Field, and Assistant Supervisor there under 1st Lieutenant William T. Smith, was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. (66th Army Air Forces Flying Training Detachment, Moton Field, Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, Feb 1941-7 Dec 1941, vol. 1, appendix VI).
31 March 1944: The 99th Fighter Squadron flew one dive-bombing mission. By the end of the month, the 99th had flown 379 missions since it started flying in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. (99th Fighter Squadron War Diary, March 1944)

31 March 1944: 2d Lt. Norvel Stoudmire in one of the squadrons of the 332nd Fighter Group was killed while flying on a harbor patrol mission. His aircraft caught on fire and he was not able to bail out safely. (332nd Fighter Group summary history, Oct 1942-1947)

31 March 1945: The 332nd Fighter Group conducted a fighter sweep and strafing mission against railroad and other targets in the Munich area of southern Germany. (332nd Fighter Group mission       report number 252) During the mission, twelve members of the group shot down a total of 13 enemy airplanes, including FW-190s and Me-109s. The victors included 1st Lt Robert W. Williams, who shot down 2 FW-190s, and Maj William A. Campbell, 1st Lts Roscoe C. Brown, Jr., Earl R. Lane, and Daniel L. Rich, 2nd Lts Rual W. Bell, Thomas P. Brasswell, John W. Davis, James L. Hall, Hugh J. White, and Bertram W. Wilson, Jr, and Flight Officer John H. Lyle, who each shot down one enemy aircraft. (Fifteenth Air Force General Orders 2292 and 2293 from 1945) Three 332nd Fighter Group P-51D pilots were reported missing that day, including 2nd Lt. Arnett W. Starks, Jr and 1st Lt. Clarence N. Driver of the 100th Fighter Squadron, and 2nd Lt. Frank N. Wright of the 99th Fighter Squadron. Driver went missing at 1315 hours over northern Italy probably because of low fuel. Wright went into a spin while in pursuit of the enemy at 1420 hours over Landshut, Germany. Starks was hit by enemy antiaircraft artillery at 1430 hours over Voklammerkt, Germany. (332d Fighter Group mission report number 252 and Missing Air Crew Report numbers 13211, 13212, and 13216). 1st Lts. Robert W. Willliams and Bertram W. Wilson Jr., both of the 100th Fighter Squadron, each earned a Distinguished Flying Cross for heroic actions on this day. (Fifteenth Air Force General Order 3484 dated 29 May 1945).