I served with some of the Tuskegee Airmen, an all black group of World War II pilots.
I was stationed at Scott Field, Ill., at the end of World War II with the 332nd Fighter Group before they were deactivated in 1946 and were placed on nonactive status, where I was training to become a radio operator on the B-17 bomber as a 16-year-old airman.
Later in my career I got to know some of their bomber pilots who desired to make the Air Force their career, and were now flying our transport planes in my squadron at Travis Air Force Base, Calif.
During the 15 years I was in charge of the printing department for the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) where we flew all over the world, I got to know many of them. A few of them are now retired and living in my area. I played senior softball with a couple of them.
These black pilots made history during World War II as fighter and bomber pilots. The 332nd Fighter Group flew P-47 fighters for more than 150,000 sorties over Europe and Africa, often escorting Allied bombers. They never lot a bomber to German fighters while escorting them.
I’m very proud to have served with these airmen.