History & Culture

Bus at Moton Field - small
Cadets arriving and departing Moton Field

Air Force Historical Research Agency

Who Were the Tuskegee Airmen?

The Tuskegee Airmen gained notice and respect as the result of a test conducted by the U.S. Army Air Corps (Army Air Forces) to determine if African Americans had the mental and physical abilities to lead, fly military aircraft, and courage to fight in war.

The Airmen were not just pilots. They were technicians, radio operators, medical personnel, quartermasters, parachute riggers, mechanics, bombardiers, navigators, meteorologists, control tower operators, dispatchers, cooks, and others. Also included were Caucasian officers, Native Americans, Caribbean islanders, Latinos, and people of mixed racial heritage.

Who were the women?
The women of the "Tuskegee Experience" worked alongside male counterparts as mechanics, gate guards, control tower operators, aircraft fuselage technicians, secretaries, and clerks. There were three permanent female parachute riggers who were responsible for training hundreds of cadets in the correct procedures for packing and maintaining parachutes. Gertrude Anderson served as assistant to G.L. Washington at Kennedy Field where Tuskegee's Civilian Pilot Training Program was based. She assumed responsibility for continued operation of the airfield when Washington was transferred to Tuskegee Army Air Field.

Women and men served proudly together and faced the same racial obstacles. One such challenge was the Freeman Field Mutiny.

Click here to learn why this "Tuskegee Experience" has significance for us today.

To learn even more about Tuskegee Airmen History and Culture visit...

Tuskegee Museum Treasures

 

Last updated: March 3, 2020

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