History of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.®


In 1941, a resistant military establishment agreed to launch the "Tuskegee Experiment" to test the suitability of African Americans for aircrew and ground support duties in the United States Army Air Corps. This led to the activation of the 99th pursuit squadron, which trained the first African American military pilots in the United States. These military men proved their bravery and skill by establishing the incredible record of flying over 200 bomber escort missions without the loss of a single bomber to enemy aircraft. In addition, the airmen destroyed or damaged more than 400 enemy aircraft and more than 1,000 ground and sea targets. However, these records were not gained without cost. Sixty-six airmen were killed and another 32 were shot down and became prisoners of war. Following WWII, it was ironic that the airmen returned home to be denied many of the same freedoms they had fought to defend.

Many of the Tuskegee Airmen remained in the military, while others embarked on other career paths. The bonds of friendship and camaraderie led to many well-attended reunions over the years. In 1975, Tuskegee Airmen incorporated as an educational and charitable organization. Membership remains open to anyone supporting the present day mission of inspiring young people to outstanding achievement and leadership in our democratic society through social and educational activities. To achieve this objective, the Airmen motivate, inspire and stimulate young people to study, sacrifice and attain self-sustaining status with marketable skills in the fields of aviation and aerospace. The officers, directors and board members of this federal tax-exempt organization serve without salary or fee.

Our Local Impact

In the Memphis area, the local chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.® has made significant contributions to the community. During the past year, we have offered three Memphis Chapter Educational Assistance Scholarships and Aviation Assistance Scholarships. Financial sponsorship was provided in support of the Summer ACE Camp for youth ages 13-18. In February, sponsorship was provided for the Memphis Aviation Professionals Annual Luncheon and Youth Awards. Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.® also provided sponsorship for the Red Tail Project, where a P-51 was flown into Millington. Over 900 youth came to experience the "Tuskegee Airmen Adventure." Other donations of time and money continue to be made by the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.® membership. These selfless contributions continue to promote aviation careers in the Memphis community and throughout the United States of America.