Turner and Briggs

Painting of Tuskegee Airmen Turner and Briggs in from of a P-51

Andrew Turner enlisted into the US Army on October 8, 1942 as a member of class 42-I-SE at Tuskegee, Alabama. He received his wings and was inducted into the US Army Air Force on October 9, 1942.

He deployed into WWII with the 100th Fighter Squadron. After a mission in which the 100th’s commanding officer, Lt. Robert Tresville, failed to return, Turner assumed command of the 100th. He flew the P-51 Mustang for 69 combat missions before the war ended.

Two years after the war had ended, Major Andrew Turner was killed in a mid-air collision while flying a P-47 Thunderbolt.

Major Andrew Turner
Major Andrew Turner

John Briggs was a cadet in flight training at Tuskegee in class 43-E-SE. He was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant and flew combat missions out of Italy as a member of the 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group.

During WWII, he flew 125 combat missions in the P-39 Bell Airacobra. This is where he escorted Navy ships to the Italian Anzio Beachhead and strafed ground targets; 70 combat missions in the P-47 Thunderbolt and the P-51 Mustang, strafing German airfields and escorting B-17 and B-24 bombers to their targets in Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. He also downed a Messerschmitt ME-109 German fighter aircraft.

Major John Briggs died in June 2007 at the age of 86.

Major John Briggs
Major John Briggs

“Skipper’s Darling III”
In Stokes’ painting of the two pilots, the aircraft is Turner’s P-51C Mustang, “Skipper’s Darling III.” The P-51C was a great aircraft. When it was upgraded into the P-51D, it became arguably the best all-around fighter of WWII.