WWII Tuskegee Airmen Chronology

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    TUSKEGEE AIRMEN CHRONOLOGY

    Dr. Daniel L. HaulmanChief, Organization History Division

    Air Force Historical Research AgencyExpanded Edition: 21 March 2011

    27 June 1939: Congress passed the Civilian Pilot Training Act. (Robert J. Jakeman,The Divided Skies .)

    September-October 1939: The Civil Aeronautics Administration received TuskegeeInstitutes application to be a civilian pilot training institution, and after Tuskegee obtained

    permission to use the Montgomery Airport as a facility, the application was approved.(Robert J. Jakeman, The Divided Skies )

    Late Februar y 1940: The Civil Aeronautics Authority approved TuskegeesKennedy Field for Civilian Pilot Training, after improvements to the field, eliminatingTuskegee Institutes need to use the Montgomery Airport. (Robert J. Jakeman, The

    Divided Skies)

    25 March 1940: George A. Wiggs arrived in Tuskegee to administer the standardwritten examination required of all Civilian Pilot Training students. Every student whotook the examination passed, surpassing the passing rate of other schools in the South.(Robert J. Jakeman, The Divided Skies .)

    16 September 1940: Congress passed a Selective Service Act which required all thearmed services to enlist Negroes . On the same day, the War Department announced thatthe Civil Aeronautics Authority, in cooperation with the U.S. Army, would start thedevelopment of colored personnel for the aviation service. (Public Law 783, 16September 1940; War Department Press Release, 16 September 1940; 99 th FighterSquadron summary history in the lineage and honors folder of the 99 th Flying TrainingSquadron at the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA), Maxwell AFB, AL)

    Late October 1940: In a press release, President Franklin D. Rooseveltsadministration announced that Negroes would be trained as military pilots in the Army AirCorps. At the same time, the War Department promoted Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. to be thefirst black general in the U.S. Army and Judge William H. Hastie, the first black federal

    judge, as a civilian advisor to Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson. All three actions weredesigned to discourage black voters from supporting Republican candidate Wendell Wilkiein the November 1940 Presidential election. (J. Todd Moye, Freedom Flyers (New York:Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 28, 72)

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    20 December 1940: The War Department issued Army Regulation 210-10 thatrequired post commanders to insure that all officers at an installation be allowed fullmembership in the officers club , mess, or other social organization.

    16 January 1941: The War Department announced plans to create a Negro pursuit

    squadron whose pilots would be trained at Tuskegee, Alabama.

    19 March 1941: The 99 th Pursuit Squadron was constituted. (Maurer, CombatSquadrons of the Air Force, World War II) . At the same time, a new Air BaseDetachment was constituted, which later became the 318 th Air Base Squadron and finallythe 318 th Base Headquarters and Air Base Squadron (Colored) at Tuskegee. (organizationrecord card)

    22 March 1941: The 99 th Pursuit Squadron was activated at Chanute Field, Illinois,under the command of Captain Harold R. Maddux, a white officer, but composed of African-American enlisted men. (Maurer, Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War

    II)Late March 1941: Ms. Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt,

    visited Kennedy Field in the Tuskegee area and was taken up in an aircraft piloted byChief C. Alfred Anderson, Tuskegee Institutes chief instructor pilot. Ms. Roosevelt was aRosenwald Fund trustee who helped secure financing for the construction of Moton Fieldat Tuskegee.

    1 May 1941: An Air Base Detachment was activated at Chanute Field, Illinois, tosupport the 99 th Pursuit Squadron. It was later redesignated as the 318 th Air BaseSquadron and still later the 318 th Base Headquarters and Air Base Squadron (Colored) atTuskegee. (units organization record card)

    7 June 1941: The War Department approved a contract that established a primaryflying school at Tuskegee Institute. Lt. Col. Noel F. Parrish was assigned as one of thefaculty members. (Tuskegee Army Flying School history yearbook, AFHRA call number289.28-100)

    12 July 1941: Construction began on Tuskegee Army Air Field, a military airfield afew miles northwest of Moton Field, which would provide basic and advanced militaryflight training for the pilots who had already received primary flight training at MotonField. (Lou Thole, Forgotten Fields of America, volume III [Missoula, MT: PictorialHistories Publishing Co., Inc., 2003], p.3)

    19 July 1941: The first class of aviation cadets (42-C) entered Preflight Training atTuskegee Institute. It included Captain Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr., who served asCommandant of Cadets. Twelve cadets served with him under Captain Noel F. Parrish, awhite officer, and 2d Lieutenant Harold C. Magoon, another white officer, who served asthe adjutant. The other cadets were: John C. Anderson, Jr., Charles D. Brown, TheodoreE. Brown, Marion A. Carter, Lemuel R. Custis, Charles H. DeBow, Jr., Frederick H.

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    29 April 1942: The second class of African-American pilots graduated from flyingtraining at Tuskegee Army Air Field. (99 th Fighter Squadron history, Mar 1941-Oct 1943)

    15 May 1942: The 99 th Pursuit Squadron was redesignated as the 99 th Fighter

    Squadron and the 100th

    Pursuit Squadron was redesignated as the 100th

    Fighter Squadron.(Maurer, Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II)

    20 May 1942: The third class of African-American pilots graduated from flyingtraining at Tuskegee Army Air Field. (99 th Fighter Squadron history, Mar 1941-Oct 1943)

    1 June 1942: 1 st Lt. George S. Roberts assumed command of the 99 th FighterSquadron. He was the first African-American to command the squadron. (99 th FighterSquadron history, Mar 1941-17 Oct 1943).

    13 June 1942: the 318 th Air Base Squadron at Tuskegee was redesignated as the

    318th

    Base Headquarters and Air Base Squadron (Colored). It served with the 99th

    FighterSquadron at Tuskegee. (organization record card of the 318 th Base Headquarters and AirBase Squadron).

    3 July 1942: The fourth class of African-American pilots graduated from flyingtraining at Tuskegee Army Air Field. (99 th Fighter Squadron history, Mar 1941-Oct 1943)

    4 July 1942: The 332d Fighter Group was constituted (Maurer, Air Force CombatUnits of World War II) . The 301 st and 302d Fighter Squadrons were also constituted thatday, for eventual assignment to the group. (Maurer, Air Force Combat Units of World War

    II)

    25 July 1942: The 96 th Maintenance Group was redesignated as the 96 th ServiceGroup (Colored) at Tuskegee Army Air Field. (Organization record card)

    25 July 1942: The 96th Maintenance Group was redesignated as the 96th ServiceGroup. At the same time, the 366 th and 367 th Materiel Squadrons were redesignated as the366 th and 367 th Service Squadrons at Tuskegee. (Organization Record cards at AFHRA)

    5 August 1942: The fifth class of African-American pilots graduated from flyingtraining at Tuskegee Army Air Field. (99 th Fighter Squadron history, Mar 1941-Oct 1943)Enough African-American pilots had completed training to bring the 99 th FighterSquadron to its full strength of 33 pilots.

    19 August 1942: The 99 th Fighter Squadron was attached to the III FighterCommand (Maurer, Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II)

    22 August 1942: Lt. Col. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. became commander of the 99 th Fighter Squadron, replacing Lieutenant George S. Roberts in that position. Colonel Davis

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    13 May 1943: The 477 th Bombardment Group (Medium) was constituted, along withthe 616 th , 617 th , 618 th , and 619 th Bombardment Squadrons. (Maurer, Air Force CombatUnits of World War II; Maurer, Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II).Meanwhile, enemy forces in Tunisia surrendered, leaving all North Africa in Allied control.

    16 May 1943: Col. Robert R. Selway, Jr., became commander of the 332d FighterGroup back in the United States. (Maurer, Air Force Combat Units of World War II). Likehis predecessor, he was a white officer.

    19 May 1943: Lieutenant General Carl Spaatz, commander of the Twelfth AirForce, inspected the flying field of the 99 th Fighter Squadron at O ued Nja. (99 th FighterSquadron history, Mar-Oct 1943)

    28 May 1943: The 99 th Fighter Squadron was assigned to the XII Air Support (later,XII Tactical Air) Command. (Maurer, Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II)

    29 May 1943: The 99th

    Fighter Squadron was attached to the 33d Fighter Group,which was under the command of Col. William M. Momyer. (Maurer, Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II)

    1 June 1943: The 477 th Bombardment Group (Medium) was activated at MacDillField, Florida, with the 616 th 617 th , 618 th , and 619 th Bombardment Squadrons. (Maurer,Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II; Maurer, Air Force Combat Units of World War II). Never fully manned, they were inactivated in August and not activatedagain until 1944. They would la