Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free
Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman and POW
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: Fordham University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
I first met Alexander Jefferson in 1993 when I interviewed him for a book on World War II prisoners of war.1 He was one of thirty-two Tuskegee Airmen from the 332nd Fighter Group who was shot down defending a country that still considered blacks to be second-class citizens. He, like thousands of other African...
Alexander Jefferson Timeline
Two World War II dates live in infamy for me. The first, December 7, 1941, I share with all my fellow citizens. The second is much more personal. On August 12, 1944, I was a proud member of the 332nd Fighter Group, later known as the Tuskegee Airmen. I was flying my P-51 on a strafing run over southern France. It...
1 Detroit The Formative Years
I was born in Detroit, Michigan, on November 15, 1921, the first child of Alexander Jefferson and Jane White Jefferson. My parents had only recently moved to Detroit from Atlanta, Georgia, because there were factory jobs to be had in the Motor City. They would have two more children, my sister...
2 Clark College
There was never any question about my attending college, and I had long known it would be Clark College, founded in 1869 by the Freedman’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which later became the United Methodist Church. When I started college in 1938, Clark was still known as Clark University, but after it moved in 1941 to downtown...
3 The Making of a Tuskegee Airman
It was June 1942, there was a war on, and I was back home in Detroit after my graduation from Clark. I knew I was going to be drafted, but I had high hopes I would be able to join the Army Air Corps. Actually, blacks had been fighting for the right to join the Air Corps since World War I. Finally, on April 3, 1939, Public Law 18 called for an expansion of the Air Corps, including the authorization of...
The fifteen of us who graduated in Tuskegee Class 44-A were classified as replacement pilots for the 332nd Fighter Group. On June 3, 1944, we boarded a troopship bound for North Africa. Ironically, we black pilots were the only male officers who had our cabins above deck. There were thousands of enlisted personnel...
On August 12, 1944, I was a pilot with the 301st Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, 15th Air Force. I was flying my nineteenth mission, which was to strafe and knock out radar stations at Toulon Harbor on the southern coast of France to prevent the Germans from detecting the Allied invasion ships, which three...
6 Stalag Luft III
I tried to look on my captivity as just one among many extraordinary experiences. The only time I really became frightened was during the three-day train ride from Dulag Luft to Stalag Luft III. Daniels, Macon, and I were again escorted by two German guards with rifles. When the train stopped in a small town, and...
7 Stalag VIIA and Liberation
When the Russian army started its final winter offensive through Poland and into Germany during the latter part of January 1945, temperatures were at record lows, with lots of snow on the ground. We knew from our radios and the cookhouse map that the Russians had taken Warsaw and Krakow and were advancing toward us. Then, on the evening of January 27, 1945, while we were...
After a stay of two days at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and a leave of ten days followed by processing and reassignment in Atlantic City, I was assigned on August 25, 1945, to the Tuskegee Army Air Field as an instrument instructor in advanced training. A few months later, I was given additional duties as a flying instructor...
The Tuskegee Airmen were dedicated, determined young men who volunteered to become America’s first black military airmen. As pioneers, we were determined to serve the United States of America proudly and to the best of our ability, even though many of our fellow citizens, fellow aviators, and commanding officers believed African Americans lacked intelligence, skill, courage, and...
World War II The Global, Human, and Ethical Dimension
Page Count: 160
Publication Year: 2005
OCLC Number: 811403348
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