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Historical Photos of the Tuskegee Airmen at Air Base in Italy During WWII

In World War II, the Tuskegee Airmen were a group of primarily African American military pilots and airmen. Together they formed the 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group and the 477th Bombardment Group.

During World War II, the 99th Pursuit Squadron (later the 99th Fighter Squadron) was the first black flying squadron to deploy overseas (to North Africa in April 1943, and later to Sicily and other parts of Italy). As the first black aircraft group, the 332nd Fighter Group originally included the 100th, 301st, and 302nd Fighter Squadrons. The group was sent to Italy in early 1944. The 332nd Fighter Group began flying heavy bomber escort missions in June 1944 and, in July 1944, with the addition of the 99th Fighter Squadron, it had four fighter squadrons. Despite training with North American B-25 Mitchells, the 477th Bombardment Group never saw combat.

#1 Several Tuskegee airmen attending a briefing in Ramitelli, Italy, March 1945

Several Tuskegee airmen attending a briefing in Ramitelli, Italy, March 1945

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#2 Members of the 332nd Fighter Group

Members of the 332nd Fighter Group

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#3 Crew chief Marcellus G. Smith, Louisville, KY, 100th F.S.

Crew chief Marcellus G. Smith, Louisville, KY, 100th F.S.

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#4 A Tuskegee airman standing on an airfield, looking at airplanes

A Tuskegee airman standing on an airfield, looking at airplanes

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#5 Sgt. William P. Bostic, 301st F.S. in control tower

Sgt. William P. Bostic, 301st F.S. in control tower

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#6 Tuskegee airman Edward C. Gleed, Lawrence, KS, Class 42-K

Tuskegee airman Edward C. Gleed, Lawrence, KS, Class 42-K

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#7 Pilot Newman C. scanning the skies, with parachute room in background

Pilot Newman C. scanning the skies, with parachute room in background

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#8 A Tuskegee airman sitting on top of an airplane, a P-5D, Creamer’s Dream airplane in the background

A Tuskegee airman sitting on top of an airplane, a P-5D, Creamer's Dream airplane in the background

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#9 Goats on runway

Goats on runway

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#10 Edward C. Gleed, Tuskegee pilot, standing, three-quarter length portrait

Edward C. Gleed, Tuskegee pilot, standing, three-quarter length portrait

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#11 Several Tuskegee airmen attending a briefing

Several Tuskegee airmen attending a briefing

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#12 Toni Frissell with Major George S. “Spanky” Roberts

Toni Frissell with Major George S. "Spanky" Roberts

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#13 Edward C. Gleed and two Tuskegee airmen

Edward C. Gleed and two Tuskegee airmen

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#14 Members of the 332nd Fighter Group attending a briefing

Members of the 332nd Fighter Group attending a briefing

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#15 Col. Benjamin O. Davis presenting war bond for best kept A/C

Col. Benjamin O. Davis presenting war bond for best kept A/C

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#16 Three Tuskegee airmen looking skyward

Three Tuskegee airmen looking skyward

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#17 Four P-51 Mustangs flying in formation

Four P-51 Mustangs flying in formation

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#18 Tuskegee airmen exiting the parachute room

Tuskegee airmen exiting the parachute room

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#19 Tuskegee airman Edward M. Thomas of Chicago, IL, Class 43-J.

Tuskegee airman Edward M. Thomas of Chicago, IL, Class 43-J.

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#20 Members of the 332nd Fighter Group in a briefing room

Members of the 332nd Fighter Group in a briefing room

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#21 Tuskegee airmen Woodrow W. Crockett and Edward C. Gleed

Tuskegee airmen Woodrow W. Crockett and Edward C. Gleed

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#22 Tuskegee airmen Marcellus G. Smith and Roscoe C. Brown

Tuskegee airmen Marcellus G. Smith and Roscoe C. Brown

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#23 “Escape kits” (cyanide) being distributed to fighter pilots

"Escape kits" (cyanide) being distributed to fighter pilots

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#24 Tuskegee airmen Roscoe C. Brown, Marcellus G. Smith, and Benjamin O. Davis

Tuskegee airmen Roscoe C. Brown, Marcellus G. Smith, and Benjamin O. Davis

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#25 Tuskegee airmen attending a briefing

Tuskegee airmen attending a briefing

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#26 Tuskegee airmen playing cards in the officers’ club in the evening

Tuskegee airmen playing cards in the officers' club in the evening

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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