By Christopher Miskimon

The 332nd Fighter Group was the only segregated American fighter group to see combat service during World War II. They had to fight to get there before they could fight the Germans, overcoming the prejudices of those who thought black citizens unsuited to military service. Their training took place in Tuskegee, Alabama, forever associating them with that place. After arriving in the Mediterranean theater, these pilots proved their abilities against the Luftwaffe, escorting bomber missions and carrying out ground attack missions. Along the way they fought fierce battles against the Germans, such as the one over Anzio on January 27-28, 1944, when they opposed flights of German fighters attacking Allied shipping off the landing beaches. Later in the war, the 332nd earned a Distinguished Unit Citation for its actions during a mission to Berlin on March 24, 1945.

This new book is a fitting tribute to the 332nd, thoroughly covering its fight against both the enemy in the air and racism on the ground. The writing is well-balanced between these two stories. The author’s effort pays off in the book’s coverage of what may seem two competing narratives but are heavily intertwined. The prejudice these young men faced spurred them to prove themselves in the air, and that success flew in the face of those who sought to keep them out of combat roles.

Tuskegee Airmen: Dogfighting with the Luftwaffe and Jim Crow (Samuel de Korte, Air World Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024. 209 pp., maps, photographs, notes, bibliography, index, $34.95, HC)

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