APL Colloquium

February 16, 2018

Colloquium Topic: The Tuskegee Airmen: The First African American Pilots in American Military Service

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American pilots in American military service.  This presentation summarizes their history topically.  The topics include the origins of the program; their primary, basic, and advanced flight training at Moton Field and Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee; their transition training at Tuskegee and at Selfridge and Oscoda Fields in Michigan; the deployment and combat operations of the 99th Fighter Squadron in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy in 1943 and early 1944; the deployment and combat operations of the 332nd Fighter Group in 1944 and 1945; the kinds of aircraft they flew in combat; their transition from ground support to bomber escort; the 477th Bombardment Group; and the Freeman Field Mutiny, a landmark event in the history of civil rights in America.

Dr. Haulman will discuss some of the most famous of the Tuskegee Airmen, including Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. the most famous commander of the groups, and eventually the first black general in the U.S. Air Force; Daniel "Chappie" James, a Tuskegee Airman who later became the first four-star black general in the U.S. Air Force; and Charles McGee, who flew fighters in three wars and accumulated a total of 409 combat missions.  He will also discuss the aircraft types the Tuskegee Airmen flew: including training aircraft (PT-13s, PT-17s, PT-19s, BT-13s, AT-6s), fighters they flew in combat (P-40s, P-39s, P-47s, and P-51s), the types of bombers they escorted (B-17s and B-24s), and the types of bombers they flew in training (B-25s). Finally, he will discuss the performance of the Tuskegee Airmen, in terms of aerial victory credits and numbers of escorted bombers lost; what happened to the Tuskegee Airmen personnel, units, and bases after the war; their victory in the conventional aircraft category at the first USAF gunnery meet in Las Vegas in 1949; and the overall historical significance of the Tuskegee Airmen.  Dr. Haulman will illustrate his presentation with slides, many of which contain photographs, and he will note his primary sources, many of which are available where he works at the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

Colloquium Speaker: Daniel Haulman

Dr. Daniel L. Haulman is head of the organizational histories branch of the Air Force Historical Research Agency, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, where he has worked since 1982. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1971, his Master’s degree from the University of New Orleans in 1975, and his Ph.D. in history from Auburn University, Alabama in 1983. His dissertation examined the first state constitutions and how they differed from the colonial frames of government. During the 1970s, he worked at Charity Hospital in New Orleans and taught high school social studies in Louisiana for five years. He has authored several books about aviation history, including Air Force Aerial Victory Credits: World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam; The United States Air Force and Humanitarian Airlift Operations, 1947-1994; One Hundred Years of Flight: USAF Chronology of Significant Air and Space Events, 1903-2002; The Tuskegee Airmen: An Illustrated History, 1939-1949 (with Joseph Caver and Jerome Ennels), Eleven Myths About the Tuskegee Airmen, and Killing Yamamoto. Dr. Haulman has also written three Air Force pamphlets, including The High Road to Tokyo Bay; Hitting Home: The Air Offensive Against Japan; and Wings of Hope: The U.S. Air Force and Humanitarian Airlift Operations. He has composed chapters in other USAF publications and compiled the list of official USAF aerial victories appearing on the Air Force Historical Research Agency’s internet web page. The author of twenty-seven published articles in various journals, Dr. Haulman has also presented twenty-nine talks at historical conferences and taught courses at Auburn University, Auburn University Montgomery, Faulkner University, and Huntingdon College.