World War II Pilots
Paved the way for the integration of the U.S. military
Before 1940 black Americans were not allowed to fly in the United States military. In 1941, the Army Air Corps began training black pilots at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama, where 32 Texans earned their wings and others served in support roles. Nine of the Texas Tuskegee Airmen saw action overseas. Overcoming prejudice and discrimination, almost 1,000 African American pilots gained the right to fly military aircraft during World War II. The Tuskegee Airmen became known for their excellent record protecting American heavy bombers during escort missions. Their accomplishments include 15,000 sorties flown and 260 enemy aircraft destroyed. The Tuskegee Airmen proved that African Americans could fly and maintain military aircraft, paving the way for integration of the U.S. military.