Friday, January 22, 2016

Tuskegee Airmen

Control Tower at Moton Field

Montgomery Alabama provided a short lay-over on our way to Pensacola Florida. We stayed in the Fam-camp at Maxwell-Guntner Air Force Base just off of I-85. 
While in Montgomery we discovered Moton Field the National Historic Site dedicated to the Tuskegee Airmen.
Hangar 1

Tuskegee University was chosen in 1941 as the aviation training center for the group.  The Institute had a history of dedication to aviation and with President Roosevelt's endorsement became one of a select few private American institutions to own, develop and control facilities for military flight instruction. It was the only primary flight training center for African American pilot candidates during WW II.
This listing Gulf sign looks like it has been there since 1941

Fire Supplies building
Classes were taught at the University but flight training took place at Molton Field. Part of the space is an active Municipal Airport. We were lucky enough to watch sky divers on the day of our visit.

Beyond the active runways much of the old airport still stands and the hangers and outbuildings remain. The tale of these first African-American Pilots, navigators and bombardiers  along with their trainers and support teams has been preserved here as part of our National Historic record.
The 2 hangers at the field showcase a museum that brings the stories of the airmen to life through films and a National Parks oral history project that captured their stories.

 The Tuskegee trained squadrons served as bomber escorts over Italy and Germany during World War II and had one of the lowest loss records of all of the fighter groups.
They were known as the "Red Tails" because of the 4 fighter squadrons that flew with the 332nd Fighter group that flew the P-40 and P-51 Mustang with the tails painted red.

The Tuskegee Airmen were remarkable in their achievements both at War and at home. Officers fighting segregation within our borders staged a nonviolent protest at the officer's club in Freeman Field Indiana that brought notice to the Military's need to desegregate.
It was not until 1948 that the armed forces were directed to provide equal opportunity to all individuals.

Ghost structures represent buildings which no longer stand


  1. Very interesting, Bonnie! My dad trained at Maxwell Field; I didn't realize that the Tuskegee Airmen history was so close. We will have to check it out in our travels.

  2. You definitely should Jim. There is a museum on the base that is reported to be very good. It was closed when we were there. It would be fun to see some of your Dad's history there.