The Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site was founded to honor the many contributions African-Americans enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II made to American history and society. These African-Americans, called “Tuskegee Airmen”, fought extreme racial discrimination and became one of the most highly-respected military groups in American history. During the course of the war, 66 out of the 450 Tuskegee Airmen died in battle. The airmen engaged and defeated Messerschmitt Me 262s, the first operational jet fighters, and were awarded a total of eight-hundred and fifty medals!
The extensive achievements of the Tuskegee Airmen disproved the racist propaganda, rhetoric, social customs, laws and even actions levied against Blacks in the military. The accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen greatly influenced the U.S. military’s decision to end racial segregation within, thus, fully integrating all its branches.
The Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, operated by the National Park Service, is located in Tuskegee, Alabama, on Moton Field. Moton Field was selected because it was the only primary facility for flight training for African-American pilot candidates. The candidates who passed the intense aviation training became known as the Tuskegee Airmen and comprised the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group. However, “Tuskegee Airmen” actually references all, including bombardiers, control tower operators and dispatchers, instructors, maintenance workers, mechanics, medical personnel, meteorologists, navigators, parachute riggers, radio operators, supply personnel and technicians, who were involved in the “Tuskegee Experience” program.