The U.S. military was segregated by race throughout World War II, and in the early months of the war black servicemen were given limited roles. Then, in 1941, the Army began training African-Americans as combat pilots (check out the incredible documentary video above).
In all, 992 black pilots completed training and joined the "black air force." On February 19, 1942, the 100th Fighter Squadron was activated and assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group -- better known as the Tuskegee Airmen.
The 332nd spent 14 months flying combat missions in Europe, destroying more than 400 enemy aircraft while operating more different kinds of warplanes than any other unit in the Air Corps. (The Airmen received their training at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Today, the institute is Tuskegee University and the World War II training base is being developed as a national historic park.) (Hawaii News Now)

The Tuskegee Airmen continue to work hard to keep their legacy alive, striving to pass along the torch they have carried to a new generation of Black pilots. Check out what the airmen have been doing recently:

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