Tuskegee Airmen's real record?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by FLYBOYJ, Apr 1, 2007.

  1. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    MONTGOMERY, Ala. - At least 25 bombers being escorted by the Tuskegee Airmen over Europe during World War II were shot down by enemy aircraft, according to a new Air Force report.

    The report contradicts the legend that the famed black aviators never lost a plane to fire from enemy aircraft. But historian William Holton said the discovery of lost bombers doesn't tarnish the unit's record.

    "It's impossible not to lose bombers," said Holton, national historian for Tuskegee Airmen Inc.

    The report released Wednesday was based on after-mission reports filed by both the bomber units and Tuskegee fighter groups, as well as missing air crew records and witness testimony, said Daniel Haulman, a historian at the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery.

    The tally includes only cases where planes were shot down by enemy aircraft, Haulman said. No one disputed the airmen lost some planes to anti-aircraft guns and other fire from the ground.

    The 25 planes were shot down on five days: June 9, July 12, July 18 and July 20, 1944 and March 24, 1945, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.

    "All of these records have been here all along," Haulman said. "It was just a matter of putting them together."

    The surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first group of black fighter pilots allowed into the U.S. Army Air Corps, received the Congressional Gold Medal on Thursday from President Bush in Washington.

    With nearly 1,000 pilots and as many as 19,000 support personnel ranging from mechanics to nurses, the group was credited with shooting down more than 100 enemy aircraft and — for years — with never losing an American bomber under escort.

    Haulman told the Advertiser he had discovered the claim that the Tuskegee Airmen had never lost a bomber they escorted to enemy fire first appeared on March 24, 1945, in an article in the black newspaper Chicago Defender. The newspaper's headline read "332nd Flies Its 200th Mission Without Loss."

    The information was attributed only to "the 15th Air Force, Italy."

    "In fact, on the very day the claim was published, more bombers under 332nd Fighter Group escort were shot down," Haulman wrote.
     
  2. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Its still an enviable record. Just being a member of that unit is a source of pride.
     
  3. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    Very true, and now my Grandfather, who claimed that record was bullsh!t, stands correct...
     
  4. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    I always thought that claim was a load of bull. It's about time someone corrected the myth.
     
  5. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    Definitely one of the great myths of WW II. In an effort to over compensate for the injustices of a segregated military, the "Red Tails were made out to be supermen, when actually they were good pilots, nothing more, nothing less. There's no way that they could prevent the determined fighter oppostion of the Luftwaffe from bringing down the heavies. To think that, one would be greatly underestimating the skill, tenacity and devotion to duty of the German pilots.
     
  6. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Yep, glad to see it has been disproved.
     
  7. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Thank you Flyboy for your post, Good comments in reply also.
     
  8. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    I think it is like we all said the past months........... total nonsense

    March 24, 1945 :

    III./JG 7 with 31 Me 262A's shot down 10 B-17's of the 15th AF protected by the 332nd and the 31st fg's. ............. ooooooooooops !

    the jets attacked in 2 different groups. Eight 262's were claimed shot down but only 4 were hit. Ace Alfred Ambs tore the wings off of 2 B-17's with his 3cm's and then was hit by return .50's of a B-17 as he passed it in formation being hit in the cockpit and wounded, he dropped down to 19,000' and bailed out successfully along with his other 3 kameraden

    side note: even making a claim of only 25 bombers lost to the 332nd fg protection is still a silly statement
     
  9. Bernhart

    Bernhart <b>2012 Forum Fantasy Football Champion</ b>

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    actually wish people would have left this alone, somethings are best left alone, kinda like believing in Santa, Easter bunnies and tooth faireys. Dispelling this rumour after so many years, how does it benifit anyone?
     
  10. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The truth...

    I perfer to know the truth, its that simple....
     
  11. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Have to agree with FBJ here. I would rather know the truth. I allways doubted the claim that they never lost a single bomber anyhow.

    Does that make them any less of pilots? No they were good pilots but they were no "super pilots".

    They still did there duty for there country and deserve to be honored though like anyone else who did the same. :salute:

    The truth however is still the right thing to put out.
     
  12. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    simply explained, for years many US "white" air force fighter jocks have had rubs against the black bros in flying arms due to the publicity during the latter part of the war. this helps dispel those notions by keeping the record in-line with reality. leaving it alone for all the world to believe B.S. is total nonsense
     
  13. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Agreed, spot on Erich.
     
  14. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    No One is knocking the "Red Tails"! I'll take the truth over falsehood or myth every time.
     
  15. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    The truth never hurts( in the long run)
     
  16. Negative Creep

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    Isn't there a film about the Redtails out soon? I'm sure I read George Lucas was invo9lved
     
  17. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    You're right, with George Lucas as Executive Producer. Was announced as a 2008 release depending upon it's production schedule. And hopefully it will be historically accurate.
     
  18. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Doubt it, Hollywood will turn it and change it like they did Pearl Harbor and everything else!
     
  19. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I echo above. The Red Tails were good pilots, but not the best in the world. They did a good, yeoman service, and that's all the country asked of them.
    The country thanks them for that service, just as it thanks service pilots of all ethnic backgrounds.

    I acknowledge that at the time, black pilots were a thing of curiosity for the mostly-all-white Army Air Corps, but when they went into battle, I doubt very much if the bombers being escorted had many racists in them when the Tuskegee Airmen shot away or chased away some attacking German.

    Saved is saved, say "Thank you" and move on.

    I think it strange that this "new" record has taken this long to surface. Don't you think some white guy in a bomber who saw a bomber shot down while being escorted by red tails would have spoken up by now? This smacks of "revisionism," and too many people are ready to believe it with no proof other than "someone somehwere said it ...."

    Lest you ask, I am white and am not saying the new report was wrong ... I'd just like to know why it took 65+ years to surface, especially when so many potentially racist people ... read that white crewmen in bombers ... HAD to have seen otherwise, assuming the new report is true. Bombers shot down usually "go down in flames ..."

    Also, the Tuskegee Airmen themselves had to know it if the new report is true. Were there no honest black pilots? I think that unlikely.

    Meanwhile, the black pilots who flew in WWII deserve their due measure of respect and gratitide. Whether they lost a plane or not, they served, did their duty to the country the same as other airmen, and deserve the same accolades as their White, Oriental, American Indian, Hawaiian, or OTHER ethnic pilots got and get.

    I'd like to know the real score, including why the "cover up" was successful for 65+ years. I have no desire for "revenge" in any way, I'm just curious ... been that way all my life.

    As stated above, the truth should be published "As Is," not as "made up yarns." Really, no other "agenda." Could be true, could be false. Either way, it would be nice to know, just so we're correct in our assessment.

    Tuskegee Airmen, thank you either way. Your service was and is appreciated, as was service from all participants in all theaters and branches of operation.
     
  20. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    If we're interested in air war history, of course we want the truth, or as close as we can get to it. I wouldn't say I ever took that claim literally, zero bombers under escort lost, though I hadn't seen specific research into how many were actually lost.

    Let's remember though that disprovable aerial claims of all kinds and all countries are still routinely quoted as if they are facts. The distinction in this case is that the claim could be disproved by research into records of other units on the same side. In most cases you need the records of the other side; and that tends to introduce at least aguable uncertainty: are the other side's records really as reliable as "ours" (whoever "us" happens to be)!? Still, many 90+% disprovable WWII claims, in particular shoot downs highly unlikely to have actually occurred, are still presented as facts, all the time.

    Joe
     
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