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Anything you don't want to do, the colored troops will do for you.

President Woodrow Wilson, a hard-core racist, ordered the segregation of American military personnel. Black soldiers were kept in all-black units commanded by white officers. The majority of them were kept out of combat, their service being the digging of latrines, bagging the dead, along with kitchen and motor pool duty. [[1]] [[2]] [[3]]

Despite the pleading of many prominent black men, some who had supported him politically, Franklin Roosevelt continued this policy. He did, in 1939, sign a bill expanding the Army Air Force and allowing black men to eventually train as pilots.

Much of the military establishment believed black men inferior, incapable of good performance in combat, not smart enough to learn to fly a plane.

General Harry "Hap" Arnold opposed the new training program for black pilots at the Tuskegee Institute. Pilots had always been given officer rank. General Arnold said, " Negro pilots cannot be used in our present air corps units since this would result in negro officers serving over white enlisted men, creating an impossible social situation."

Then, Eleanor Roosevelt visited Tuskegee March 29, 1941. Eleanor approved of the program and Eleanor was a force to be reckoned with. FDR said, more than once, the only thing he feared was her wrath.

The Tuskegee pilots fought hard for a nation that didn't treat them well. They earned their wings and their officers' bars.


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I have been speaking with an amazing gentleman in Provence, France who has spent many years honoring the Tuskegee airmen. He has hosted them in his home, raised funds for monuments for their graves and making commemorative videos. Nico told me, "I am doing all that I can for the Duty of Memory of this brave soldiers and heroes.

French don't forget them."