Prior PK stories on the Tuskegee Airmen:
|HBO’s 1995 The Tuskegee Airmen: Where the canonization of a ‘myth’ began|
In looking through history books detailing America’s World War II Army Air Force ‘aces’, one thing stood out: the Tuskegee Airmen had absolute no impact on the course of the Allies winning the war over the Axis Powers. Not one of the famed Red Tails earned the honorific of ‘ace’ (meaning five or more confirmed aerial kills), compared to a list of more than 1,200 white American fighter pilots who earned that title during World War II. Aces like Chuck Yeager, who would go on to be the first person to break the sound-barrier, an arbitrary record in Black-Run America (BRA), a world that only honors those who were the first to break the much more important color-barrier.
Contrary to contemporary claims, the involvement of the Black fighter pilots was inconsequential to the overall war effort. Yes, 72 members of the Tuskegee Airmen shot down 109 enemy aircraft, but when you consider America’s great World War II ‘ace’ Richard Bong shot down 40 planes himself, you have to wonder why the story of the Black pilots overshadows one such as Bong’s? Have you ever heard of Bong?
But you’ve heard of the Tuskegee Airmen, right? Weird.
Dr. Daniel Haulman pointed out in Nine Myths About the Tuskegee Airmen, a controversial 2008 paper, that the Tuskegee Airmen had fewer aerial kills compared to all-white fighter groups. Interesting, 332d Fighter Group (the Tuskegee Airmen) lost more of its own aircraft then it shot down:
In November 1945, the War Department published a report called “Policy for Utilization of Negro Manpower in the Post-War Army. Since the report had been prepared by a committee of generals headed by Lt. Gen. Alvan C. Gillem, Jr., it was sometimes called the “Gillem Report.” Part of the report compared the four P-51 fighter escort groups of the Fifteenth Air Force, which included the all-black 332nd Fighter Group and the all-white 31st, 52nd, 325th, and 332nd Fighter Groups (the other three fighter escort groups of the Fifteenth Air Force, the 1st, 14th, and 82nd, flew P-38 aircraft). While the report praised the 332d Fighter Group for successfully escorting bombers, it also criticized the group for having fewer aerial victory credits than the other groups because it did not aggressively chase enemy fighters to shoot them down, but stayed with the bombers it was escorting. The report also claimed that each of the three white P-51 fighter groups shot down more than twice as many aircraft as it lost in combat, but that the 332d Fighter Group lost more of its own aircraft in combat than it destroyed of the enemy. The implication is that the black 332d Fighter Group might have lost fewer bombers it escorted than the other three white P-51 fighter escort groups, it also shot down the least number of enemy aircraft. Depending on what the criterion was, the 332d Fighter Group was the worst and also the best at the same time.
One of the best? For losing the fewest bombers? But wait, we learn in another paper by Haulman that most of the bombers lost – escorted by the Tuskegee Airmen – were via German antiaircraft (ground) weaponry:
A second myth is that the Tuskegee Airmen “never lost a bomber” that they were escorting. The 332d Fighter Group’s own mission reports often note that its pilots witnessed friendly bombers going down, mostly to enemy antiaircraft fire.
So wait-a-second: if Axis fighters weren’t posing a great threat to the Tuskegee Airmen-escorted bombers, why didn’t they ever engage them as other all-white fighter groups did? Wasn’t the bulk of Germany’s greatest ‘aces’ on the eastern front, fighting the invading Soviet Union?
The Wrong Stuff
NASA.gov still has a story from 2004 featured on its site that has since been completely discredited:
The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-Americans to be trained as WWII military pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps. One thousand Airmen were trained at Tuskegee, Ala., and 445 entered combat. They painted the tails of their aircraft red for easy identification, thus earning the nickname “Red Tails.”
Flying over 15,000 sorties, they destroyed more than 490 enemy aircraft and 45 trains. They never lost a bomber to enemy fighters – a record no other fighter group achieved.
We would learn 62 years after the end of World War Two that the “never lost a bomber” story was a myth, perpetrated by those trying to create a legend that only bigots would dare challenge. Or those who care about honoring true ‘aces’ like Richard Bong, as opposed to worshiping a fictional story like the Tuskegee Airmen.
In looking through those same history books – many published before the advent of Tuskegee Airmen hysteria – one thing is clear; history is written by the winners, meaning the Disingenuous White Liberals (DWLs) in control of Black-Run America (BRA) can pass on pushing Bong’s story and puff up the contributions of the Red Tails.
And when did it all start? When did those white Army Air Force “aces,” who won glory in the air over Europe and in the Pacific, take second fiddle to the Tuskegee Airmen? Try 1995, with an HBO movie entitled The Tuskegee Airmen:
The Tuskegee Airmen is a 1995 HBO television movie based on the exploits of an actual groundbreaking unit, the first African American combat pilots in the United States Army Air Corps, that fought in World War II. The film was directed by Robert Markowitz and stars Laurence Fishburne, Cuba Gooding Jr., John Lithgow, and Malcolm Jamal Warner.
At the end, the film details the unit’s accomplishments: 66 out of the 450 Tuskegee Airmen died in battle, they engaged and defeated Messerschmitt Me 262s, the first operational jet fighters, and they were awarded a total of 850 medals over the course of the war. The credits also note (inaccurately, but a common belief of the time) that the 332nd never lost a single bomber to enemy fire.
Watching this movie on DVD recently, the credits still contained the same discredited note. If you repeat a lie long enough, it will eventually become a truth:
The claim at the end of the film that the 332nd never lost a single bomber to enemy action is a source of historical controversy. This statement was repeated for many years, and not challenged because of the esteem of the Tuskegee Airmen. However, Air Force records and eyewitness accounts later showed that at least 25 bombers were lost to enemy fire. This was still a far cry from the hundreds of bombers lost to enemy fire under escort of their white counterparts.
A far cry from their white counterparts? Mainly because the Tuskegee Airmen never flew in the Pacific and encountered Japanese Kamikaze pilots and due to the fact they entered the European theater of war after the Luftwaffe had been largely decimated. Remember, it was largely antiaircraft fire that brought down bombers they escorted.
J. Todd More, a gushing hagiographer of the Tuskegee Airmen, wrote about the vast impact the HBO film had in establishing the “official narrative” of the Red Tails, one that differs incredibly from true accounts. In his book Freedom Flyers: The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, he we writes on p. 174:
For better or worse, The Tuskegee Airmen created and solidified a collective memory of the experience that will never be dislodge. It sent place a narrative that veterans of the experience and interested observers alike all appropriated as their own. People who have never been to Italy now report that white bomber pilots requested escort from the Red Tails as if they had been eyewitnessess to the conversations, because they saw white characters in The Tuskegee Airmen do just that. Hundreds of the narratives in the Tuskegee Airmen Oral History Project recorded between 2000 and 2005 followed the film’s story arc closely, and the vast majority of interviewees referenced the film in one way or another; the movie itself became an artifact in the history of the Tuskegee Airmen. Of course, it’s impossible to judge to what the degree the film influenced these memories, because all of the National Park Service’s interviews were recorded after the film made its impact.
Such as the visceral impact of “never losing a bomber myth.” Mission accomplish on that, HBO. Tell a lie loud enough and long enough, and the Tuskegee Airmen becomes as important to American history as… well, more important than any military victory we study. After all, they broke the color-barrier! Who cares if the movie is full of outright lies when it serves the purpose of being pure-propaganda!
Remember, the winners get to write history. Teach with Movies (teachwithmovies.org), a radical DWL teaching tool for integrating movies into lesson plans, profiles HBO’s The Tuskegee Airmen in glowing terms, meaning that school children across the nation will continue to be peddled a lie. Here’s what Teach with Movies wrote about the movie:
The Tuskegee Airmen is a movie about commitment, discipline and courage. The 332nd Fighter Group of the Army Air Corps was one of the best units to fly in World War II. This movie will introduce children to another step in the long road that black people took toward racial equality.
To give you a sense of how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to develop lesson plans, and by parents to supplement school curriculum or for homeschooling, we have set out below a paragraph from the Learning Guide to The Tuskegee Airmen.
The Tuskegee Airmen were the elite, African-American 99th Fighter Squadron (later expanded to the 332nd Fighter Group) commanded by Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. The Tuskegee Airmen flew more than 700 missions and were the only Fighter Group that never lost a bomber to enemy aircraft. They earned three unit citations, more than 744 Air Medals and Clusters, more than 100 Flying Crosses, 14 Bronze Stars, 8 Purple Hearts, a Silver Star, a Legion of Merit, and the Red Star of Yugoslavia. The Tuskegee Airmen downed 111 enemy fighters, including three of the eight Messerschmitt ME-262 jets shot down by the Allies during the war. The 332nd also destroyed countless targets during ground attack missions and even sank a German destroyer with machine gun fire that hit the ship’s ammunition stores, triggering secondary explosions. Sixty-six Tuskegee Airmen (out of a total of 450 sent overseas) lost their lives in combat.
Yikes! Virtually everything that Teach with Movies promotes about The Tuskegee Airmen is a lie! Dr. Daniel Haulman decimated all of these lies in a report published in 2008, though the truth is always the first casualty right? Even Amazon.com still peddles the lie in the product listing for the movie.
Fitting that this 1995 movie had the tagline “They were our country’s best defense…and its greatest glory.”
In reality, the Tuskegee Airmen story is the country’s best defense of segregation... and its greatest glory, since we know Black people can’t compete for pilot slots in integrated flight training units now.
Our nation’s best defense in World War II were the Army Air Force pilots like Richard Bong, who time has forgotten. Well, Teach with Movies has ensured that future generations of Americans will only learn about The Tuskegee Airmen via a movie starring that dude Morpheus from The Matrix.
It is these men whose false exploits, glamorized by TWO Hollywood movies, will ensure they are remembered as the true heroes of World War Two, a constant reminder that not only aerial, but supremacy over white bigotry was achieved. That lily-white ace Richard Bong, who gave his life for his country, was the wrong color. He’ll never get the Congressional Gold Medal nor have school children celebrate Bong Day (well, some might) as they do “Tuskegee Airman Day.”
Read the Congressional Gold Medal to Tuskegee Airmen Public Law here. Remember, less than two percent of US military aviators are Black now. What exactly is the legacy of the Airmen again? That segregation worked (though their record was still inflated, largely by Hollywood writers); that integration shows Black people can’t compete with white standards.