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The Tuskegee Airmen
The U.S. Army Air Corps 99th Fighter Squadron, the first of the all-black Tuskegee Airmen to see combat, had been based in Africa for four months when they were assigned to escort 16 B-25 Mitchell bombers on a routine mission over Sicilian targets on July 2, 1943. Lieutenant Charles B. Hall of Brazil, Indiana — seen here at far right — became the first Tuskegee Airman to score a confirmed kill when he shot down a German fighter plane. Back home, the Birmingham News (Alabama) heralded the accomplishment of the 99th Fighter Squadron pilots: ‘The Tuskegee trained pilots faced their acid test and came through with flying colors to prove that they had the necessary mettle to fly successfully in combat.’

Bernard S. Proctor, U.S. Air Force Museum, via Charles and Ann Cooper