Tuskegee Airmen Monument – Colleton County, South Carolina
South Carolina | SC Picture Project | Colleton County Photos | Tuskegee Airmen Monument
The Tuskegee Airmen Memorial, on the grounds of the Colleton County airport, commemorates the heroism of the determined young men who enlisted during WWII to become America’s first black military airmen. Before being sent into action, the now famous African-American Tuskegee Airmen received their final months of combat training here, at what was then the Walterboro Army Airfield.
The airmen trained everyday from dawn to dusk for three months before their overseas deployment. They learned to fly three types of planes: The Air Cobra, the Thunderbolt, and the Kittyhawk. The nose-heavy Thunderbolt – nicknamed “The Jug” – was the most difficult. Five men died flying it during training exercises.
During the war, 1,000 Tuskegee Airmen flew 1,578 missions which involved over 15,000 sorties. Sixty-six airmen were killed in action and 32 were captured, but they never lost an aircraft they escorted over enemy territory. Despite the racism of the time, white bomber crews made special requests for the black pilots to be their escorts.
Michael Stroud took this photo in September, 2009. SCIway thanks Michael for sharing it with us.