Tuskegee Tuesday

Paintings, Photos and Commentary by Stan Stokes.

Tuskegee’s First Five

Tuskegee’s first five cadets to receive their wings and become official US Army Air Force pilots were in Class 42C-SE. This group of black pilots completed their pilot training on March 6, 1942, at Tuskegee Army Air Field, in Tuskegee, Alabama. Of the 13 original cadets, five graduated: Charles DeBow Jr., Benjamin O. Davis Jr., George “Spanky” Roberts, Mac Ross,…

Robert Diez

Robert Deiz was born on June 17, 1919, in Portland, Oregon.   Prior to World War II, in the late 1930s, Diez enrolled in the Civilian Pilot Training Program at Swan Island in Portland, Oregon, receiving his pilot’s license.   After graduation from the University of Oregon, Deiz joined the U.S. Army Air Corps. On September 6, 1942, Deiz graduated…

Colonel William Campbell

Tuskegee Class SE-42-F. He graduated from the program on July 3, 1942 as a second lieutenant. Campbell was then assigned to the 99th Pursuit Squadron.   Campbell flew in the first combat mission of the 99th Pursuit Squadron on June 2, 1943.   Having completed a long first combat tour, Campbell was sent back to the US and flew as…

Mac Ross

Ross’s alma mater, West Virginia State College (now West Virginia State University) had a Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP) created by the Civil Aeronautics Authority in 1939 to increase the number of active pilots in America in response to the ongoing war in Europe. The federal government had selected Tuskegee Institute as the official pilot training program site for African…

Benjamin O. Davis – Part 3

With the end of WWII in Europe, Col. Davis returned to the United States in June 1945 to command the 477th Composite Group at Godman Field, Kentucky. He later became base commander. In March 1946, he went to Lockbourne Army Air Base, Ohio, as commander of the base, and in July 1947 became Commanding Officer of the 332nd Fighter Wing.…

Benjamin O. Davis – Part 2

In July 1941, Davis entered aviation cadet training with the Tuskegee Airmen’s first class of aviation cadets, Class 42-C-SE. On March 6, 1942, Davis graduated from aviation cadet training with Captain George S. Roberts, 2nd Lt. Charles DeBow Jr., 2nd Lt. Mac Ross, and 2nd Lt. Lemuel R. Custis. Davis and his four classmates became the first African-American combat fighter…

Charles Hall

Tuskegee Airman Charles Hall made history for himself and his fellow 99th Fighter Squadron pilots.    After three years of college, Charles enlisted in the US Army as an aviation cadet. He was a member of Tuskegee Class 42-F-SE. On completion of training, Charles B. Hall was commissioned as a second lieutenant of the U.S. Army Air Force on July…

Robert Ashby

Bob Ashby enlisted in the Army Air Corps at age 17 as a candidate for the Aviation Cadet program. He was called to active duty in August 1944. Bob was assigned to Keesler Field, Mississippi, for basic training and testing for entry into the Aviation Cadet Program. In December 1944, Ashby was sent to Tuskegee, Alabama, to begin cadet training.    At Tuskegee, he…

Capt. Freddie E. Hutchins

Freddie Hutchins of Donaldsonville, GA, graduated from flight training on April 29, 1943, at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama. In December, he deployed to Italy with the 302nd Fighter Squadron, part of the 332nd Fighter Group. The 302nd Fighter Squadron flew its first combat mission on February 5, 1944.   Hutchins scored his first aerial victory on July 26, 1944,…

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