Are Tuskegee Claims True

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by pbfoot, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    The claims of the Tuskegee Airmen of never allowing the loss of a aircraft escorted by them is being challenged as explained in the following article

    News

    Historian Says Tuskegee Airmen's Record May Not Be So Perfect
    Tue, 12 Dec '06

    Claims Reports Show Escorted Bombers Were Shot Down
    For over 60 years, it has been a mark of pride... the claim that America's first black fighter pilots, the Tuskegee Airmen, never lost a bomber to enemy fire while flying escort runs in World War II. But one man says he has evidence that claim may be inaccurate.

    William F. Holton has been the historian for Tuskegee Airmen Inc. for nearly 10 years... and he says Air Force records show at least a few bombers were shot down while under escort by the famed Red Tail Squadron. Holton first made his comments Sunday to the Montgomery (AL) Advertiser.

    In an interview with the Associated Press, Holton says the unblemished record claim appears to have started in May 1945. That's when Colonel Buck Taylor wrote a letter commending Tuskegee group leader Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Jr., in which Taylor stated the group had the distinction of never losing a bomber.

    "That's sort of where the whole concept emanated from," Holton said.

    But that goes against several combat mission reports from the period, Holton says. He cites one report from July 1944, that states "1 B-24 seen spiraling out of formation in T/A (target area) after attack by E/A (enemy aircraft). No chutes seen to open."

    Another report says "10 Me-109s attacked the rear of the bomber formation from below and left one B-17 burning, with 6 chutes seen to open."

    Daniel Haulman, of the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, came to the same conclusion.

    Holton's comments have been scornfully rebuked by surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen, who say the historian is trying to damage the group's reputation, years after the fact.

    "I think they are trying to destroy our record. What's the point now?" said former Airman Carrol Woods, adding the claims are "outrageous."

    Holton said his only interest is making sure the group's history is as accurate as possible... and he notes that while the Tuskegee Airmen's record may not have been perfect, it was still very impressive.



    The issue may forever remain the subject of conjecture, and deeply-held opinion... but already, the president of the Tuskegee Airmen says he will no longer claim in speeches the group never lost a bomber under its escort.

    "I'm going to drop (it) until we can get this thing clarified," said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Russell Davis. "We've got some homework to do, obviously
     
  2. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    So they MIGHT HAVE lost a couple of bombers. In the big scheme of things, its still an enviable record.
     
  3. twoeagles

    twoeagles Member

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    This is a huge source of pride in a country that has seen way too much
    racial conflict and division. I am one for facts, but some things are
    okay to let lie.
     
  4. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    yes but AF veterans are a bit pissed off on this ongoing claim since the War. It's bunk anyhow, as Me 262's came in and shot down 15th AF bombers right under their noses ...........

    pb's article came right after a posting of the same on 12 clock high discussion forum
     
  5. twoeagles

    twoeagles Member

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    If it was so blatantly obviously inaccurate, how did it get a life of
    its own? I mean, if people have known for 60 years that bombers were
    downed, and they are basing it all on one letter written in May, 1945, then
    I would think that the these guys would sort of squirm in their seats
    every time someone repeated the claim. I know I would.
     
  6. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    how do you know they aren't. Remember this fighter group was victimized through racial interference throughout it's existance. Guess the guys want to be proud of something. Heck I would be proud that I just served during those cray chaotic missions in 44-45
     
  7. R-2800

    R-2800 Member

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    so they MIGHT have lost a few bombers, their record even if these "claims" were real their record would still be remarkable. I would have to see some HARD evidence to belive these claims
     
  8. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    I suggest that they were an average squadron no better and no worse its the adversity that they had to contend with with the segragationist US military that is commendable
     
  9. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    Ive met and talked with some Vets who were almost hostile towards this bit of Tuskeegee fame, calling them liars and frauds ect ect....

    I still think it was a bit of Allied propaganda that has/d gotten out of hand....
     
  10. engcompany

    engcompany New Member

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    My grandfather told me that he flew with these guys sometimes. For the claim of no bomber's shot down under their escort? I never asked him that and he never mentioned it. The only thing he did tell me about them was that they were usually only escorts on milk runs.
     
  11. wmaxt

    wmaxt Active Member

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    I don't think Berlin was ever a "Milk Run". They also got a few 262's so they wern't to shabby. If they lost a few it would not be suprising - a 109 diving out of the sun would be close to impossible to stop, but that wouldn't tarnish their reputation, just put a little patina on it. They certainly paid the price to earn their way.

    wmaxt
     
  12. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    I certainly agree with this.
     
  13. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    I noticed the 262's as well certainly above the norm
     
  14. bomber

    bomber Banned

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    Why not take the time and go the their museum....I'm sure they'd welcome your support

    It's going to be great !...

    It's got a movie theatre and above you as you sit in your seat is a P51 hanging from the ceiling....

    I know because I've also worked for the interior designers doing it...

    Simon
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    For all their work, they only had one offical ace - Buddy Archer. Clinton had to pull some strings to get him offical recognized as an ace - I think this all happened around 1994.
     
  16. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    This is true Joe...
     
  17. P38 Pilot

    P38 Pilot Active Member

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    Didnt he only get 5 kills?
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    4 1/2 - Historians pulled strings and got his last kill fully credited. It was always rumored that his command did not want to give him full credit because he was black - possibly true but never the less, it would seem these guys would of achieved many more aerial victories than their press leads us to believe...
     
  19. engcompany

    engcompany New Member

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    I only ever had one conversation with him about it. That was all he said and it wasn't like they flew every mission together. I feel they broke ground and deserve the credit they are due. As far as the claim? Who will ever really know?
     
  20. P38 Pilot

    P38 Pilot Active Member

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    Flyboy you should hear this in Alabama. They make it out in schools that the Tuskegee Airman were the only fighter pilots in WWII. They take something and stretch it out.
     
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