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The Airmen completed 15,000 sorties in approximately 1,500 missions, destroying more than 260 enemy aircraft, sinking one enemy destroyer, and demolishing numerous enemy installations. To honor their accomplishments, the Tuskegee Airmen were awarded numerous high honors, including Distinguished Flying Crosses, Legions of Merit, Silver Stars, Purple Hearts, the Croix de Guerre, and the Red Star of Yugoslavia. A Distinguished Unit Citation was awarded to the 332nd Fighter Group for “outstanding performance and extraordinary heroism” in 1945 after they flew a long escort mission to Berlin and back with no reinforcements.

The Tuskegee Airmen of the 477th Bombardment Group never saw action in WWII. However, they staged a peaceful, non-violent yet very pointed protest for equal rights at Freeman Field, Indiana, in April 1945.

Their achievements proved conclusively that the Tuskegee Airmen were highly disciplined and capable fighters. They earned the respect of their fellow pilots, bomber crews and military leaders. Tuskegee Airman Herbert Carter put it this way: ”You grow up feeling a love for your country in spite of its imperfections. You’re happy and proud to be an American who just happens to have a different pigmentation, a different skin color.” In reality the Tuskegee Airmen fought and won two battles, one against racism and one against fascism. Having fought America’s enemies abroad, the Tuskegee Airmen returned to America to join the struggle to win equality at home.

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