260. Tuskegee Airmen

The term “Tuskegee Airmen” was coined in 1955 by Army Air Corps veteran Charles E. Francis in his book of the same name, referring to more than 14,000 African American men who were trained during World War II to fly combat and support aircraft and to support the pilots, and their planes, on the ground. Their training took place mostly at airfields at and around Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, though some of the airmen were trained in 10 other states, including Indiana. 

A total of 992 African American pilots were trained by the U.S. Army between 1942 and 1946. This included fighter, bomber, liaison, and service pilots.

·        Liaison pilots flew light aircraft in battlefield areas to assist artillery units’ aim at enemy targets.

·        Service pilots flew aircraft that were not used in combat.

The 332nd Fighter Group, made up entirely of Tuskegee Airmen, shot down 112 enemy aircraft during their time in World War II. Because of the extended length of time needed to train a full bomber crew, the 477th Bombardment Group, activated in January 1944, was still in training at the end of the war.

At least five Tuskegee Airmen were from Howard County.

·        John McClure and Hardy Bennett were fighter pilots.

·        John Cunningham was a liaison pilot.

·        Andrew Dunigan Jr. served as an aircraft mechanic.

·        Gordon Morgan trained as a pilot; further details of his service are unknown.

Learn about the Tuskegee Airmen from the Tuskegee Institute.

10 minute 1940s video of Tuskegee Airmen: "Wings For This Man"