Excerpts from Tuskegee to Ramitelli and from Foggia to Freedom
The Tuskegee Airmen were the very first African American fighter pilots and crew that were trained to fight during WWII. These men not only had to prove themselves to the people of the United States, they also had to show the world that they were equal to any and every other pilot.
The Airmen were stationed in bases in a number of locations including around Italy. Many Tuskegee Airmen remember their time stationed in Italy not being judged by their skin color. They stated, “The Italian people were some of the most genuine people that they had ever met.” Tuskegee Airman Capt. Rosco Browne stated that the Italian people that he met while stationed at Ramitelli , “did not have the racist understanding that was held in the United States”. The Italian people were warm and welcomed all the Americans they met as liberators. Many other Tuskegee Airmen also reported similar stories about their time in Italy. According to Tuskegee Airman Col. Charles McGee, “While in Italy, the people treated me as a man with not any preference on race”. This experience caused the airmen to question, if they can be treated like human beings in a foreign country, regardless of race, why can’t they be treated the same back at home in the United States.
While stationed in Italy, many bomber crews executed successful missions against German forces while being escorted by Tuskegee Airmen. Their contributions helped to defeat the Axis powers. The Tuskegee Airmen were inspired by the Italian hospitality. They experienced two races of people coexisting without racial tensions. Upon returning home, many fought against racism by becoming teachers, businessmen, bankers, politicians, activist and role models. The Airmen legacy proves with opportunity, one can learn to fly, but also to soar.
Today, Leonardo DRS is honored to keep the Airmen’s legend alive with a new generation of trainer aircraft, built on the grounds of historic Moton Field where they trained to fly. The T-100 program will provide job opportunities for hundreds around the Tuskegee area, and thousands more around the country with its team partners and suppliers.
If the U.S. Air Force chooses the Italian-designed T-100 Integrated Training System for its Advanced Jet Pilot trainer, the history and future will join together – advancing the legacy of these brave Airmen while building a strong aircraft that will train future pilots, right in Tuskegee.
Bringing history full circle with the most operationally-proven jet trainer, and built in the U.S. A.