From R. Perry
The article contained some information about the Tuskegee Airman. When I was stationed at Davis Monthan in the mid 60’s I was a crew chief on an F4C fighter bomber. These aircraft were used to train and transition experienced fighter pilots into the F-4C Phantom II aircraft. One of the pilots that flew my aircraft was Col. Daniel “Chappie” James. He flew in World War II as part of the 332nd. Fighter Group (or the Tuskegee Airmen). I had never heard of the Tuskegee Airmen before, so I decided to do some research. Here is what I found:
The 332nd initially flew the P-40 War Hawk. (Over 15,000 were produced during WWII when production shut down in December of 1944.)
They flew the P-40 from 1943 when they were activated and sent to Europe until the P-40s were replaced with the P-47 Thunderbolts in June of 1944. The P-47s were replaced in short order with the P-51 Mustang. The P-51 was at that time the hotrod of our fighter aircraft flying in Europe.
While flying the P-47 Thunderbolt, 4 of the Tuskegee Airman sank and enemy destroyer by using only the machine guns (.50 caliber) of their aircraft. In addition to the destroyer, the 332nd. airmen destroyed a total of 409 enemy aircraft while flying the P-40, P-47, and the P-51. One hundred eleven of these were in air to air combat. This total included three of the German Me. 262 jet aircraft which were faster and more heavily armed (20mm. cannons vs. 50 caliber machine guns) than the P-51 propeller driven aircraft being flown by the 332nd. The most astounding fact about the 332nd was that when they flew bomber escort duty they never lost a bomber to enemy aircraft. They are the only unit of the Army Air Force in WWII that can make that claim.
Back to “Chappie” James. He went on to become the first African-American Brigadier General in the U.S. Air Force. He also served as the commanding general of NORAD (North American Air Defense Command). From there he moved on to be a member of the JOINT CHIEFS of STAFF in Washington D.C. and was made a 4 star general as Commander of the J. C. O. S. There was an incident that took place at Wheelus Air Force Base in Algeria in 1970 that involved then Colonel James and Colonel Qaddafi that is very interesting. You can find it by entering Qaddafi/Daniel “Chappie” James Jr. in your search engine.