Red Tail Angels

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The video above was produced by the United States Army Air Corps in 1945 and narrated by Captain Ronald Reagan.  The film is a salute to the Tuskegee Airmen.

Blacks have served in all of America’s wars, in spite of the racial hatred that was often directed against them during their service.  In World War II the military was still segregated, and opposition to blacks serving as pilots was intense.   However, the Army Air Corps could not ignore that blacks had passed the tests to qualify as aviation cadets. Trained at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama, the 99th Pursuit squadron was activated in 1941 and sent overseas to North Africa in April 1943.

The 99th served in the Sicilian Campaign and in Italy.  In the Spring of 1944 it was joined by the 100th, 301st and 302nd pursuit squadrons and formed the all black 332nd fighter group.  The 332nd flew as escorts for bombers flying bombing raids into Czechoslavakia, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Germany.  The 332nd became known as the Red Tails, or Red Tail Angels, for the red paint on the tails of their planes, and for the skill with which they guarded the bombers they escorted.  The men of the 332nd in their time in combat destroyed 261 enemy planes, damaged another 148, and flew a total of 15,533 combat sorties.  They suffered 66 pilots killed.  95 Distinguished Flying Crosses for heroism were earned by the pilots, along with other awards for valor, and the 332nd received three President Unit Citations.  A bomber group, the 477th Medium Bomber Group, consisting of the 616th, 617th, 618th and 619th bomber squadrons, was formed from Tuskegee Airmen, but the War ended before the unit was deployed overseas.

A movie is being released On January 20th, Red Tails, in a long overdue salute to these men who had to fight not only the enemy but the racial prejudice of  many of their fellow Americans.  They were a credit to their nation and to their race, the human race.

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4 Responses to Red Tail Angels

  • With age comes wisdom Kurt! Reagan used to say he didn’t leave his party, his party left him. To a certain extent that was true. I could easily, for example, have seen myself voting for Harry Truman, on the strength of his foreign policy, over liberal Republican Tom Dewey.

  • Kurt says:

    Yes, but as you know, I’m pretty firmly on the side of the wisdom of the youthful Reagan, with his liberal activism for Blacks and workers.

    I’ll be honest, I’ve long had warm, social relationships with a number of “ex-liberals” of the Jeanne Kilpatrick, Norman Podhoretz, Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, and, in a way, Joseph Ratzinger variety. Ben Wattenberg was once even kind enough to support me in a political race. Folks of this tendency I’ve considered pleasantly free of any conservative baggage from their past, particularly on race issues and pre-WW2 isolationism. And, of course, I made my own neoconservative drift to the Right during the 1980s, giving me somewhat more symapthy for those whose conservatism is of recent vintage rather than historical.

  • T. Shaw says:

    I dunno. I used’ta read in history.

    It seems it was Dems that were against the Civil War and the vicious racists, e.g., the 1863 NYC draft riots. It was the donkey, not the GOP, that ran with the KKK and, for decades, ruled the Jim Crow, segregation “solid South.” Barnet Schecter wrote a book, The Devil’s Own Work about the draft riots.

    GOP and conservatives were not the racists in this country.

    Historians will marvel at how a system so dishonest, dull and illogical as the dem lib big lie could have exercised such sway over so many for so long. I guess it has something to do with the nature of evil.

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