THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN
Nearly 30 years of anonymity ended in 1972 with the founding of TUSKEGEE AIRMEN, INC., (TAI)
at Detroit, Michigan. Organized as a non-political, non-military and non-profit national entity,
TAI exists primarily to motivate and inspire young Americans to become participants in our
nation’s society and it’s democratic process, to support young men and women pursuing
excellence, with special attention to those interested in careers in aviation or aerospace, and
to keep alive the history of achievement and knowledge of the importance of the original
Tuskegee Airmen. There are over 50 chapters of TAI located in major cities and military
installations throughout the United States and the Far East. The membership of TAI consists of
veterans, civilians, and active duty officers and enlisted personnel from all branches of the
military, and is open to anyone interested in supporting the goals and objectives of the
national organization and it's chapters.
The goals of Tuskegee Airmen, Incorporated (TAI) are to perpetuate the activities and
achievements of those Americans who shared in the aspirations and frustrations of pioneering
men and women in the Tuskegee Airmen Experience of the United States Army Air Corps, and
to actively motivate all youth to outstanding achievement and leadership in our democratic
society with emphasis on the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
(STEM). The principal educational and charitable objectives will be accomplished through:
- Bringing together in a spirit of friendship and goodwill all persons of the areas of the
United States and abroad who shared in the aspirations, frustrations, and successes of
those pioneering men and women in United States military aviation;
- Conducting historical research and documentation of the achievement of those Tuskegee
Airmen who served our country;
- Engaging in the educational/STEM related programs that help in motivating youth to
Include aviation and aerospace careers;
- Inspiring youth to outstanding achievement and leadership in our democratic society
through social and educational activities; and,
- Addressing matters of social concerns that will further the organizational objectives.
THE SAN ANTONIO CHAPTER
The on-going mission of the San Antonio Chapter, Tuskegee Airmen Inc. (SAC-TAI) is to
acknowledge and preserve the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen while motivating and mentoring
GOAL 1. To preserve the legacy of the men and women of the Tuskegee Aviation
- Develop and implement annual programs commemorating and focusing on contributions
and achievements made by the Tuskegee Airmen.
- Maintain close liaison with local (or affiliated) known Documented Original Tuskegee
Airmen (DOTAs) and their families; the family members of Lonely Eagles (deceased DOTAs
and members), and the 99th Flying Training Squadron.
- Maintain a Speakers Bureau to provide historical presentations to community leaders,
organizations, military units, and commanders at appropriate forums.
GOAL 2. To inspire youth to outstanding achievements through leadership development
and educational activities.
- Provide education assistance (financial) awards to selected high school students who
meet approved criteria
- Serve as role models through continued visibility in the community
- Implement an active Youth Program
- Provide briefings to local area schools, youth organizations, private organizations, and
All functions and activities of SAC-TAI will be in support of these goals and objectivities. The
overall duty and responsibility of each member of the SAC-TAI Board of Directors (BOD) and
Executive Committee (EC) will also be in the primary interest of the organization, and in concert
with established goals and objectives of the Chapter and/or National organization.
TUSKEGEE AIRMEN FACT SHEET:
Due to the rigid pattern of racial segregation that prevailed in the United States during World
War II, 966 Black military aviators were trained at an isolated training complex near the town
of Tuskegee, Alabama, and at Tuskegee Institute, Four Hundred and fifty Black fighter pilots
under the command of Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., (who was later to become the U.S. Air
Force’s first Black Lt General) fought in the aerial war over North Africa, Sicily, and Europe: flying
P-40, P-39, P-47, and P-51 type aircraft. These gallant men flew 15,553 sorties and completed
1578 missions with the 12th Tactical U.S. Army Air Corps and the 15th Strategic U. S. Army Air
They were called the “Schwartze Vogelmenschen” (Black Birdmen) by the Germans who both
feared and respected them. White American bomber crews reverently referred to them as “The
Black Redtail Angels” because of the identifying red paint on their tail assemblies and because
of their reputation for not losing bombers to enemy fighters as they provided fighter escort to
bombing missions over strategic targets in Europe. The 99th Fighter Squadron, which had
already distinguished itself over North Africa, Sicily and Anzio, was joined by three more Black
squadrons – the 100th, 301st, and the 302nd – redesignated as the 332nd Fighter Group.
From Italian bases they destroyed enemy rail traffic, coastal surveillance stations and hundreds
of vehicle in air-to-ground strafing missions. Sixty-six of these pilots were killed in aerial combat
while another 32 were shot down and captured as prisoners of war.
These Black airmen came home with 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, numerous Legions of
Merit, and The Red Star of Yugoslavia. For every Black pilot there were ten other civilian or
military Black men and women on ground support duty. Many of these men and women
remained in the military service during the post-World War II era and spearheaded the
integration of the armed forces of the United States with the integration into the U.S. Air Force
in 1949. Their successes and achievements are evidenced by the elevation of three of these
pioneers to flag rank: the late General Daniel “Chappie” James, our nation’s first Black Four-
Star General; Lt. General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., USAF, retired; and Major General Lucius Theus,
USAF, retired. In addition, major achievements are attributable to many of those who returned
to civilian life and earned positions of leadership and respect as businessmen, corporate
executives, religious leaders, lawyers, doctors, bankers, educators and political leaders.