Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword

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pp. ix-x

A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman by Charles W. Dryden, Sr., Lieutenant Colonel, USAF (Retired), is an autobiography of a prominent and very active member of the group of several hundred Black airmen who were trained to fly in the....

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Prologue

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pp. xi-xiv

Due to the rigid pattern of racial segregation that prevailed in the United States during World War II, just short of one thousand, i.e. 992, Black military aviators were trained at an isolated training...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xviii

Because this is an autobiography, I feel compelled to salute not only those persons who urged and encouraged the writing of the book but also those who nurtured and impacted the life about which it has been...

Part I: Before Desegregation

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Chapter 1. Dismissed! (July 1944)

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pp. 3-3

"The accused will rise and face the court."

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Chapter 2. Why? (July 1944)

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pp. 4-6

Dismissed from the United States Army Air Corps! Dismissed from ... Dismissed ... Dismissed ... DISMISSED!!! The words rang in my ears. Rattled around my skull. Ricocheted through my brain: from the cell that...

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Chapter 3. The Fledgling (1920-1941)

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pp. 7-20

"Air'pwane! Air'pwane!" That is how, lisping, a typical two-year-old, tearing paper into bits and throwing them into the air, tried to tell the world that: "I want to, 1 was born to, 1 MUS T fly!" That is what "Sister Vie" used to tell me about my early yearning for the sky. To me she was "Mom," the gentlest, most devout, loving mother...

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Chapter 4. Off to Tuskegee (August 1941)

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pp. 21-35

By the end of the Advanced CPT course in February 1941 I was broke. Round-trip subway fare plus Long Island Railroad fare plus bus fare almost daily for eight months had eaten up all the savings my folks had earmarked for my...

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Chapter 5. Aviation Cadets (August 1941-April 1942)

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pp. 36-67

"All right, 'Dummies,' let's get with the program! Get the lead outta your butt. Get your bags out of the bus and line up right here in front of the cadet barracks. Move it!" he barked. "He" was a bullet-headed man about...

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Chapter 6. Nest of Black Eagles (April 1942-April 1943)

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pp. 68-106

Arriving at Chehaw at about noon the day after leaving Penn Station, I was really anxious to get started with my new life. During the overnight train ride I had plenty of time to ponder a raft of questions about what the new life...

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Chapter 7. Fighting 99th: Over There! (April 1943-September 1943)

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pp. 107-147

Sleep came easily that night. We had had a full day from reveille to midnight, packing, partying, departing. Once the train moved off from TAAF we were assigned to specific coaches where we flopped down, one man to each seat, and surrendered to...

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Chapter 8. Arrivederci, Sicily! (September 1943-1944)

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pp. 148-166

The next day, September I 9, after bidding farewell to our squadron mates-pilots, crew chiefs, and all-we five FIGMOS headed west toward Palermo in a command car driven by one...

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Chapter 9. "You're Not Ready!" (1944-July 1945)

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pp. 167-193

"I am ordering you to leave this officers club at once," said Colonel William L. Boyd to three United States Army officers on New Year's Day 1944. The place was the lobby of Lufberry Hall, the plush officers club at Selfridge Field located on the outskirts of Mount Clemens, Michigan, about...

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Chapter 10. Fighting 99th: Over Here! (July 1945-February 1946)

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pp. 194-204

For Pete and me the trip from South Carolina to Kentucky was the longest motor trip we had attempted in Black Beauty. The seven-year-old sedan made the trip without a hitch as we were able to meet its needs at any service station along...

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Chapter 11. Camelot! (February 1946-June 1949)

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pp. 205-242

The five-hour trip from Godman Field to Columbus, Ohio, went without a hitch. Coming out of the mountains of Kentucky onto the broad plains of Ohio, our eight-year-old ' 38 Buick, Black Beauty, galloped along like a frisky colt...

Part II: After Desegregation

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Chapter 12. Lonely Eagles (June 1949-July 1950)

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pp. 245-259

"Go West, young man!" Horace Greeley once told a protege who asked his advice on how best to seek his fortune, quoting John Soule's article in the Terre Haute Express, 1851. Terre Haute was on my route as I drove through Indiana heading...

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Chapter 13. Over There—Again! (July 1950-February 1953)

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pp. 260-296

The shooting war in Korea was only forty-four days old, but casualties among U.S. and ROK (Republic of Korea) troops were mounting rapidly. Eighty-nine thousand Soviet-armed North Korean troops had moved swiftly...

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Chapter 14. Sayonara! (February 1952-September 1957)

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pp. 297-318

First stop on the way home: beautiful Hawaii! Some tourists plan for years to get there and spend days or weeks or maybe a lifetime in "paradise." 1 was impressed with the mild temperature...

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Chapter 15. Guten Tag, West Germany (September 1957-May 1959)

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pp. 319-347

Ramstein Air Base, the home of 12th Air Force, was across the autobahn from Landstuhl, a small country town next to which Ramstein's airfield, hangars, and runways were located, and a few miles from Kaiserslautern, a slightly larger but...

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Chapter 16. Auf Wiedersehen! (May 1959-January 1962)

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pp. 348-374

It was well after sundown before the Connie lifted off from Rhein-Main's runway, which was glistening with puddles of rain falling steadily but gently from a low overcast. A twenty-minute or so climb brought us through the tops of...

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Chapter 17. Twilight of a Lonely Eagle (January 1962-August 1962)

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pp. 375-383

In the bosom of my family during the 1961 Christmas holiday season, I was happy to be with my loved ones but had a sense of foreboding and uneasiness. Blame it on the Berlin wall that had caused my retirement from active duty...

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18. Contrails (Timeless)

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pp. 384-390

Contrails can be seen at various times of day in the skies above the earth when the conditions are right, conditions of moisture and temperature of the air through which...

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Epilogue

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pp. 391-394

Those words, written by British statesman Edmund Burke about his country two centuries ago, are just as true today about mineAmerica. America, the beautiful, about which a patriotic paean proclaims: "Thine alabaster...

Glossary

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pp. 395-408

Bibliography

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pp. 409-410

Index

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pp. 411-421