Today marks the 73rd Anniversary of the activation of the 99th Pursuit Squadron. The first fighter squadron comprised of and led by African American pilots and maintainers, also known as the Tuskegee Airmen. The program officially began in June 1941, with 47 officers and 429 enlisted men. The Squadron first flew the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk in North Africa, and eventually flew the P-51 supporting bombing missions into Europe. The 99th would be the first of 4 Fighter Squadrons and 3 medium bomber squadrons of the Tuskegee Airmen . Pioneering Aviators of their time many went on to become future leaders in what became the U.S. Air Force.
In celebration of the upcoming WWII movie, ‘Red Tails’, Ebony Magazine and some of the film’s star-studded cast went to the American Airpower Museum for the production of a special edition for Ebony Magazine. Produced by George Lucas and starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrance Howard, Nate Parker and David Ayelowo, ‘Red Tails’ tells the heroic story of the struggles and triumphs of the Black American fighter pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen, during WWII. Jeff Clyman, the President and Founder of the Museum, along with AAM Board member Jacky Clyman proudly presented the actors each with a special edition Cockpit USA Tuskegee Airmen A-2 Jacket, designed and produced in collaboration with a group of real, New York based Tuskegee Airmen.