Many young African Americans aspired to become part of military aviation but were banned on racial grounds. The U.S. Army Air Corps finally opened a segregated training program for blacks at Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1941, and the talented Noel F. Parrish became the base commander. Throughout the war, Parrish provided inspired leadership for the training program.
Benjamin O. Davis Jr. emerged from among the cadets as the commander of the all-black 99th Fighter Squadron (originally the 99th Pursuit Squadron). Davis later went on to lead the “Tuskegee Airmen” in the European theater of combat from 1943 to 1945.
“The privileges of being an American belong to those brave enough to fight for them.”
—Benjamin O. Davis Jr.