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Chantilly in Fairfax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Tuskegee Airmen

 
 
The Tuskegee Airmen Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 1, 2019
1. The Tuskegee Airmen Marker
Inscription.  In spite of adversity and limited opportunities, African Americans have played a significant role in the U.S. military history over the past 300 years. They were denied military leadership roles and skilled training because many believed they lacked qualifications for combat duty. Before 1940, African Americans were barred from flying for the U.S. military. Civil rights organizations and the black press exerted pressure that resulted in the formation of an all African-American pursuit squadron based in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1941. They became known as the "Tuskegee Airmen." The term refers to all who were involved in the Army Air Corps/Army Air Forces program to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft—approximately 15,000 personnel, military and civilian, both African American and Caucasian.

The military selected the Tuskegee Army Air Field (TAAF) to train pilots because of its commitment to aeronautical training. Tuskegee Institute (later University) had been selected for the Civilian Pilot Training Program in 1939. It had the facilities and engineering and technical instructors, as well as climate for year
The Tuskegee Airmen Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 1, 2019
2. The Tuskegee Airmen Marker
round flying. The Tuskegee program became the center for African-American aviation during World War II.

From 1942 through 1946, 949 pilots graduated at TAAF, receiving commissions and pilot wings. Black navigators, bombardiers and gunnery crews were trained at selected military bases elsewhere in the United States, along with ground and support personnel.

Four hundred and fifty of the TAAF pilots served overseas in either the 99th Pursuit Squadron (later the 99th Fighter Squadron) or the 332nd Fighter Group. The 99th Fighter Squadron flew P-40 Warhawk aircraft in combat in North Africa and Sicily, and later flew the P-39, the P-47 and the P-51 aircraft as they were transferred to the 15th Air Force and joined the 332nd Fighter Group's 100, 301 and 302 Fighting Squadrons in Italy, where they served until the end of World War II. The Airmen who did not go overseas trained at Selfridge Field, Michigan as bomber crews in the 477th Medium Bombardment Group. The 332nd Fighter Group was deactivated and joined the newly crated 477th Composite Group at Lockburne Air Force Base in Ohio. The unit was deactivated there in 1948 when President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 integrating the United States Air Forces.

The Tuskegee Airmen overcame segregation and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II. They
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proved conclusively that African Americans could fly and maintain sophisticated combat aircraft. "In recognition of their unique military record, which inspired revolutionary reform in the Armed Forces," the Tuskegee Airmen, together with the men and women who supported them, were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2006.

The following members of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. contributed to this panel:

[Names listed]
 
Erected by Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities marker series.
 
Location. 38° 54.683′ N, 77° 26.532′ W. Marker is in Chantilly, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker can be reached from Air and Space Museum Parkway west of Localizer Road, in the median. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly VA 20151, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Piedmont Airlines (here, next to this marker); The Flying Tigers (here, next to this marker); F-100 Super Sabre Society (here, next to this marker); F-86 Sabre Pilots Association (here, next to this marker); The Distinguished Flying Cross Society (here, next to
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this marker); Sully Plantation (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Sully Farms (approx. 0.7 miles away); Richard Bland Lee: Gentleman Farmer (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Chantilly.
 
Categories. African AmericansAir & SpaceCivil RightsEducationWar, World II
 

More. Search the internet for The Tuskegee Airmen.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 1, 2019. This page originally submitted on December 1, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 37 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 1, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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