Tuskegee Pilot Lt. James Brown with Gabriela and Gracen
My son Gracen loves everything about WWII Aviation. When we found out there was actually a Tuskegee pilot living in Denver, we called him up and asked him if we could meet him. Lt. James Brown was kind enough to spend a couple of hours sharing his WWII experiences with us. Gracen was asking questions left and right, Gabriela was taking notes, and I was the chauffeur. Afterwards Gabby wrote this story about the great Tuskegee Airmen.
Rising Above to Excellence
Tuskegee Airmen were the members of the 332nd Fighter Group and the 99th, 100th, 301st, and 302nd Fighter Squadrons and are mainly remembered because they were the only African-American pilots who served in combat with the United States during World War II.
I believe the easiest way to understand who these amazing men were and what they did is to jump in the cockpit. You are now siting in the cockpit of a plane that can fly up to 500 miles per hour. This cockpit that you are siting in is so cramped that you can barely move anything but you elbows. Moving your elbows is vital because you have to be able to move the stick. This one stick controls everything — the lives of you and the men around you. Your job is to escort bombers back the to base. Every time you shoot down an enemy plane that is targeting one of your bombers, you are saving the lives of up to ten men.Your plane holds 50 caliber bullets which have about a half inch diameter and are approximately five inches long. Now to even have a chance of hitting an enemy aircraft you must be closer that 1000yd to your target. When you return back to your base after escorting bombers to safety, you are not congratulated for risking your life to save the lives of men. No, you are simply greeted with racism, discrimination, and segregation.
Why? Why were the Tuskegee greeted with this madness? They were African American pilots and they were not wanted. Yet, the airmen continued to do their duty to their country. A country that had two sets of rules; two standards. A country that had a double standard for them and their skin color. Though every foreigner treated the Tuskegee Airmen with equality, their own country did not understand their worth as a human beings.