The Real Red Tails Tuskegee Airmen of WWII

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    Watch this authentic footage of the Tuskegee Airmen "Red Tails" during WWII.

    In the annals of American history, few groups have made such an impact on the racial makeup of the armed forces as the Tuskegee Airmen. These brave men were the first black pilots in the United States Army, and they fought with distinction during World War II. The Red Tails, as they came to be known, overcame discrimination and adversity to become one of the most celebrated units in U.S. history.

    Who were the Tuskegee Airmen?

    The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of black pilots who served in the United States military during World War II. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first Black military aviators in the United States Army Air Corps (AAC). They trained at Tuskegee Army Airfield in Alabama, hence their name. The Tuskegee Airmen were chosen for their piloting skills and their willingness to fight against discrimination.

    The trainees for the program came from across the United States. About 14,000 Black Americans were trained at Tuskegee as aviators, bombardiers, trainers, aircraft and engine mechanics as well as control tower operators and other maintenance and support personnel. About 1,000 of those were pilots.

    Related: Celebrate Black History month

    Why were the Tuskegee Airmen also called 'Red Tails?'

    The Tuskegee Airmen's planes were known as "red tails" because of the distinctive red markings on the tails of their airplanes.

    The Tuskegee Airmen combat record

    Their 332nd Fighter Group was the first all-Black flying unit in history and became famous for its daring air combat record during World War II. They flew 1,578 combat missions with 179 bomber escort missions. They lost bombers on only seven of those missions.