Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

‘Red Tails’ — The Real Story of the Tuskegee Airmen

posted by Nell Minow

George Lucas wrote the story for this month’s release, “Red Tails,” about the heroic WWII fighter pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen.  It will be in theaters on January 20.

YouTube Preview Image

The American armed forces were not integrated until 1948, so throughout WWII they were still segregated.  The 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the U.S. Army Air Corps, informally known as the Tuskegee Airmen, were the first African-American military aviators.  The historically black Tuskegee Institute initiated a flight training program.  When First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited for an inspection and was taken for a ride by one of the instructors, it brought some visibility and support to the program and the work of civil rights pioneers like the NAACP’s Walter White and labor leader A. Philip Randolph led to the passage of legislation specifically allocating funds to train African-American pilots.

Advertisement

The pilots and support crew of the Tuskegee Airmen had an extraordinary record of skill and heroism.

According to Wikipedia:

In all, 996 pilots were trained in Tuskegee from 1941 to 1946, approximately 445 were deployed overseas, and 150 Airmen lost their lives in accidents or combat. The casualty toll included 66 pilots killed in action or accidents, and 32 fallen into captivity as prisoners of war.

The Tuskegee Airmen were credited by higher commands with the following accomplishments:

  • 15,533 combat sorties, 1578 missions
  • One hundred and twelve German aircraft destroyed in the air, another 150 on the ground
  • Nine hundred and fifty railcars, trucks and other motor vehicles destroyed
  • One destroyer sunk by P-47 machine gun fire
  • A good record of protecting U.S. bombers, losing only 25 on hundreds of missions.

Awards and decorations awarded for valor and performance included:

Advertisement

  • Three Distinguished Unit Citations
    • 99th Pursuit Squadron: 30 May–11 June 1943 for the capture of Pantelleria, Italy
    • 99th Fighter Squadron: 12–14 May 1944: for successful air strikes against Monte Cassino, Italy
    • 332d Fighter Group: 24 March 1945: for the longest bomber escort mission of World War II
  • At least one Silver Star
  • An estimated one hundred and fifty Distinguished Flying Crosses
  • Fourteen Bronze Stars
  • Seven hundred and forty-four Air Medals
  • Eight Purple Hearts

An excellent made-for-television film, The Tuskegee Airmen, starred Laurence Fishburne and Cuba Gooding, Jr., who appears in this film.  “Red Tails” also stars Terrence Howard, who played a downed Tuskegee airman taken prisoner in “Hart’s War.”  There is  a PBS documentary, The Tuskegee Airmen, with the pilots and crew of the 332nd and those who are working to tell their story and restore one of their planes.

Advertisement

There are also many books, including The Tuskegee Airmen: An Illustrated History: 1939-1949 and the oral history Freedom Flyers: The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II and the children’s book, Tuskegee Airmen: American Heroes.

Advertisement

YouTube Preview Image

More “The Real Story” posts:

We Bought a Zoo

Unstoppable

Soul Surfer

Sanctum

 

 

Previous Posts

Rent This Instead: A Better Ed Helms Raunchy Comedy (that isn't "Hangover")
"Vacation" is a gross, dumb disappointment. If you want to see Ed Helms in a much better raunchy comedy, try the neglected gem Cedar Rapids. Helms plays a mild-mannered, small town insurance guy who is tapped at the last minute to go to the ...

posted 3:05:56pm Jul. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Superhero Origami
DC Super Heroes Origami: 46 Folding Projects for Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and More! is filled with great craft projects that incorporate some sneaky math lessons into origami versions of iconic ...

posted 8:00:34am Jul. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation
You think you've seen it before? Well, it is a familiar situation. Hitchcock had an assassin waiting in a concert hall for the right moment to ...

posted 5:54:06pm Jul. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Best of Enemies
Once upon a time, network television news was dignified, objective, and delivered in stentorian, voice-of-God tones by white, vaguely Protestant men, ...

posted 5:23:39pm Jul. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Exclusive Premiere Images: Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism
Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism is now a film starring Dominic Monaghan ("The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"), ...

posted 4:57:43pm Jul. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.