Courage Knows No Color: The Story Of The Tuskegee Airmen

May 18, 2018

 

By: Marc Kelley

Syndicated by; Montana News

In order to understand political ideology, we must first understand the relative position of any ideology when compared with another. Unfortunately, many people on both sides of the political aisle today, believe political ideology is represented by a linear progression, with conservatives on one end and liberals on the other.

 

The truth is somewhat more complicated and is best explained by a circular model, as opposed to a linear model. In the circular model, or what is called the political compass, the further one's political views move to the right or to the left, the more extreme the ideology becomes.

 

History has shown us what happens when political ideology reaches the extreme. War have been waged and many lives lost as the US fought against communism, fascism and socialism. Many young people today have forgotten or are simply not interested in learning the lessons of the past. It is a sad day indeed when the sacrifices of so many are ignored, in an attempt to re-write history.

 

 

Today, fascism has become a buzz-word used to describe anyone with conservative views or political ideology. Many on the left have lost the ability to view individuals who may disagree with their point of view, as anything short of the enemy, who is to be silenced at any cost. Ironically, groups like Antifa, hold themselves up as the enlightened portion of our society, fighting against what they call fascism.

 

 

Sadly, these misguided individuals fail to realize by shouting down anyone who dares disagree with their perspective, they themselves are committing the acts of a fascist regime. By its very definition, fascism exalts a nation and often a race, above the individual and relies on social regimentation and forcible suppression of any opposition. 

 

Groups on either side of the political spectrum who encourage hateful, divisive ideology, are simply not helpful. Whether is is Colin Kaepernick and his embrace of Black Lives Matter, perpetuating the false, "hand up don't shoot" narrative, or George Soros and Move On.org touting their goal to bring, "Real Americans" back into the political process, as their website states.

 

In both cases, these men and their pet projects only serve to hurt the US. These men are, where they are today, because they are standing on the shoulders of people who came long before them. People who truly endured oppressive conditions and unfounded hate, based on ignorance and fear. Rather than looking to groups who simply want to line their own pockets, while at the same time denigrating our country, it is my opinion their efforts, money and pseudo-celebrity status, would be put to much better use, if they would be honest, and admit their hearts are filled with as much hate and ignorance as members of the KKK or the publishers of The Daily Stormer here in Montana.

 

This is the story of a group of American's, who have come to be called, the Tuskegee Airmen. A unique group of individuals who came together at a time our country needed courageous men and women, to fight against true fascism. The political ideology of the Nazi's and their belief in the "master race" and the political ideology of Japan and their goal of world domination through the doctrine of "Hakko Ichiu", represented a true threat, to our way of life in the U.S.

Since the days of the US Civil War, and the formation of the Buffalo Soldiers, the US War Department followed a mandated policy of segregation for our soldiers.

 

While Black units participated in many conflicts and had acquitted themselves with valor and honor, they remained segregated and subject to many of the same ideological prejudice, which caused the US Civil War. During WWI (the war to end all wars), African American citizens flocked to the recruiting offices to join the military. Many Black soldiers, felt much the same as they do today; in that, volunteering to serve our country in a time of need, would prove their loyalty, patriotism and worth to those who doubted their ability. While Blacks were allowed to serve in WW I, they were for the most part, assigned to support roles with very few actually seeing combat.

 

Following WWI, our country was enamored by the likes of Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart, as they flew their aircraft and captivated our nation as aviators. Many African Americans were anxious to join these perceived social elites and began learning to fly aircraft. This reality was again met with resistance from the White ruling class, who mistakenly believed, Blacks were incapable of learning to operate a machine as complex as an aircraft.

 

In 1938, then sitting President Franklin D. Roosevelt began feeling pressure about losing the support of Black voters. With the 1940 Presidential election approaching and WWII not going well for our allies, it seem a safe bet, the US would be unable to avoid entering the conflict, and once again our country would need brave patriots, to server in our military.

 

In a moment of clarity, then First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt began speaking to her husband about allowing Black pilots to serve in our military. This notion was scoffed at and declared as unwise by much of our military leadership. However, what the Admirals and Generals surrounding President Roosevelt failed to consider, was the First Lady's considerable constitution. In a move which could have been conceived by now President Trump, The First Lady took her argument directly to the people. Just a few short months before the Japanese would bomb Pearl Harbor, Eleanor Roosevelt would pose for a photo, sitting in the rear seat of a JP-3 Piper training aircraft, flown by C. Alfred Anderson, the first Black flight instructor, chosen to lead the Tuskegee Experiment in Tuskegee, Alabama, where Black pilots would be taught the role of air combat.

 

On December 7, 1941, Japan bombed our Naval base at Pearl Harbor, forcing the US to enter WWII. The response from the American public was the same as it had been in the Revolutionary war, the Civil war and WWI, brave men and women flocked to join the military and fight for our country. The US was about to unleash the greatest military industrial complex the world had ever seen and there would be ample opportunities for anyone interested in fighting for our country. What was initially termed as the Tuskegee Experiment, was now about to become the Tuskegee Experience, as the first Black pilots began their air combat training at The Tuskegee Army Airfield.

 

In all, 992 pilots were trained at Tuskegee from 1941-1946. 355 Tuskegee Airmen were deployed into the European Theater and flew their P51 Mustangs, first out of bases in North Africa and then in Sicily, as they protected our B17 bombers on their bombing missions over axis held territory. 68 of the Tuskegee Pilots were killed in action, another 12 were killed in training accidents and 32 were shot down and captured as prisoners of War. 

 

In what I see as a pure act of defiance and the expression of both bravery and loyalty, the Tuskegee Airmen adopted the practice of painting the tails of their aircraft, bright red, announcing their presence to enemy fighters. The group would become known as the "Redtails" or "Redtail Angels", by the 10 man aircrews flying in the B17 bombers. The urban myth of the "Redtails", never losing a bomber under their escort, has become a legend, told in songs and in movies. The truth of the matter is, we lost aircrews who were protected by both White and Black pilots, during WWII. It is unfair to expect perfection from anyone in the performance of their duty.

 

What is not acceptable is the unequal or unjust treatment of any of our veterans. Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, male or female. Our veterans represent the best of what our country has to offer. So please, don't lecture me on how our country is a fascist regime and how you feel oppressed by a county to whom you owe everything. A country, which because of the sacrifices of so many, allows you to remain safe to flourish economically and to enjoy the right to free speech.

 

Before you call someone a fascist, you may well benefit from picking up a history book and learning how brave men and women battled and overcame fascism, before you were even a twinkle in your mother's eye. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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