The Howard Baugh Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.          P.O. Box 482        Petersburg, VA 23803 

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Howard Baugh Chapter

Tuskegee Airmen, INC.

The Tuskegee Airmen Story


Records within the Department of Defense confirm the fact that African Americans have always been both willing and able to fight for our nation since first arriving here in 1528. A synopsis of US Military history reveals:

Colonial Period (1718-1736):Black soldiers made up 10% of the French forces and 20% of the Spanish forces that fought the Natchez Indians.  

French and Indian War (1753-1764):Black soldiers had won honors in battles at Ft. Duquesne, Ft. Cumberland, the Plains of Abraham, and "Negro Mountain" in western Maryland.  

American Revolution (1775-1783):Black “Minutemen” fought and died at Lexington and Concord. Only free blacks were accepted in Washington’s Army; each brigade averaged 42 black soldiers; (2) all black units credited with saving the entire American Army at the Battle of RI; 600 blacks were part of French forces that besieged the British Garrison in Savannah; Blacks made up 50% of French forces that drove the British from LA & MS. By war’s end, 5,000 black soldiers had fought for the Colonial Army in most major battles and had garnered honors and praise from their commanders. However, society soon forgot and blacks were barred from the military.    

War of 1812 (1812-1815): This was mostly a naval war. Blacks were still barred from the militia and marines but not the Navy. Having Revolutionary War and sailing experience, blacks were the most valuable and sought after manpower assets. Constituting 10-20% of ships crews, blacks performed heroically and played a major role in freeing the Great Lakes from British control.                                                                       

Civil War (1861-1865):Over 180,000 blacks (10% of Union troops) served in USCT units including the courageous 54th Massachusetts Infantry of Ft. Wagner fame. Of the Union’s 118,000 combat sailors, 30,000 were black. Blacks earned 25 Medals of Honor (MOH) and suffered 37,000 casualties during the Civil War.    

Indian Campaigns (1866-1890): (4) Regiments of black soldiers were dispatched to help tame the western U.S. Their bravery and fighting prowess earned them the nickname “Buffalo Soldiers” from Indians. They were also awarded (18) Medals of Honor by the US Government.                                            

Spanish American War (1898):Fighting in concert with Teddy Roosevelt’s “Rough Riders”, these same “Buffalo Soldiers” made major contributions to the success of this campaign. In this 4-month long war, black soldiers earned (5) Medals of Honor, (25) Certificates of Merit, and (8) Silver Stars.                                 

World War I (1914-1918):400,000 blacks served in uniform but only 10% saw combat. Those who did served in all branches except aviation. The all black 369th Infantry fought with the French 4th Army at the front. The 369th fought tirelessly in the trenches for 191 days, longer than any other American Regiment. Germans called them the “Hell Fighters” because of their fighting prowess. For their service, the 369th was awarded the Legion of Honor, France’s highest national decoration. No black soldier was awarded the Medal of Honor.

1925:In a blatant attempt to distort and pervert US Military history, the US Army War College conducted a study that concluded that African Americans were feckless, as well as physically, emotionally, psychologically, morally and intellectually unfit for combat. This put African Americans in the ironic position of having to fight for their "right to fight” for their country. Civil Rights organizations and the African American press were relentless in exerting pressure on the US government to reject these reprehensible and fallacious findings.