332nd Fighter Group &
447th Bombardment Group
United States Army Air Force
The only black air units that saw combat during the war were the 99th Pursuit Squadron and the 332nd Fighter Group. Their dive-bombing and strafing missions commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. were highly successful.
In May 1942, the 99th Pursuit Squadron was renamed the 99th Fighter Squadron. It earned three Distinguished Unit Citations (DUC) during World War II for operations over Sicily from May 30–June 11, 1943, Monastery Hill near Cassino from May 12–14, 1944, and for successfully fighting off German jet aircraft on March 24, 1945. On that day in March, 43 P-51 Mustangs led by Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. escorted B-17 bombers over 1,600 miles into Germany and back. The bombers’ target was a massive Daimler-Benz tank factory in Berlin that was heavily defended by Luftwaffe aircraft. Pilots Charles Brantley, Earl Lane and Roscoe Brown all shot down German jets over Berlin that day.The mission was the longest bomber escort mission of the Fifteenth Air Force throughout the war.
Altogether, the pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group earned 96 Distinguished Flying Crosses. We owe a debt of gratitude to these men for their bravery and loyalty to the USA in a time of segregation and cruelty to African-Americans. Thank you for your service.
Col. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., commander of the Tuskegee Airmen 332nd Fighter Group, in front of his P-47 Thunderbolt in Sicily.