Fighting Red Tails by Robert Taylor


"The P-38s always stayed out too far. Some Mustang groups stayed in too close, other groups we felt just wanted to go off and shoot down 109s .... but the Red Tails were always out there where we wanted them to be ... we had no idea their pilots were Black; it was the Army’s best kept secret" 

Thus recalled a grateful B-24 pilot paying tribute to the Tuskegee airmen of the 332nd Fighter Group, whose pilots were made up entirely of black Americans. Contending with prejudice from certain quarters within their own air force and much of the American press, the young black pilots of what was to become famously known as the Tuskegee Airmen, first went into action in Italy in May 1943. It was a revolution. At a time when racial prejudice was still rife the idea that black pilots could equal the endeavours of their white counterparts seemed out of the question - to some too ludicrously stupid to contemplate. How wrong were these critics to be proved. 

After cutting their teeth as the 99th Squadron, first with the 324th then the 79th Fighter Groups, flying fighter-bomber missions attacking railroads, bridges and communication centres, in July 1944 they joined the 100th, 301st and 302nd to form the 332nd Fighter Group - the USAAF's first all-black unit, its pilots all trained at Tuskegee. Equipped with P-51 Mustangs, their spinners and tails decorated in bright red paint, they became lastingly known as the "Red Tails". Their dedicated task was to protect the bomber forces, and that is precisely what they did: Flying till the end of hostilities, and at considerable sacrifice, uniquely they never lost a single bomber to enemy aircraft. 

The Red Tails recorded more than 15,000 combat sorties destroying or damaging over 250 enemy planes, covering themselves in glory - their pilots between them being awarded over 1000 medals for gallantry. When the war was over they had earned the undying respect of bomber crews, fellow fighter pilots, and a grateful group of nations. 

Robert Taylor's fine painting shows the Red Tails of the 332nd FG climbing to operational height to escort B-17 Fortresses of the 483rd Bomb Group at the start of another gruelling raid to Germany in October 1944 - the Tuskegee Airmen doing the job for which they will never be forgotten. 

Each print in Robert Taylor’s Limited Edition, Fighting Red Tails, has been signed by the following Tuskegee pilots:
Second Lieutenant Elbert Hudson
Colonel Charles McGee
First Lieutenant Arthur Sherman
Second Lieutenant Lowell Steward
Staff Sergeant Leon Walden.


Artist:

Robert Taylor


From:

Military Gallery


Edition:

800



Size:

33 x 24 inches overall including borders.



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