Recrafting history

Howard Sutherland writes:

More Bushite and Congressional pandering, to elderly black fighter pilots, this time.

I would not make light of what the Tuskegee Airmen achieved, but let’s keep it in perspective, as the federal government is not. Scores of USAAF fighter groups fought in World War II, in all theaters. The 332nd Fighter Group (the all-black unit based in Italy that the Tuskegee Airmen flew in) had a respectable but fairly modest record. When group aerial victory claims were evaluated after the war, the 332nd FG was credited with 109 from a combat tour that lasted from February 1944 through V-E Day. The unit had one pilot credited as an ace, with the minimum qualifying score of five. From June 1944 through the end they flew the P-51D Mustang, generally considered the best fighter to see action in World War II and probably the best piston-engined fighter ever.

As a comparison, the highest scoring group in the European theater, the 354th Fighter Group, had 701 confirmed aerial victories between December 1943 and V-E Day and 45 aces; the highest scoring was Glenn Eagleston with 20.5 kills (the .5 means one was shared with another pilot). The 354th FG flew P-51s for most of its tour, so there is no great disparity in equipment. To the extent there is, it might favor the 332nd FG: the 354th FG spent November 1944 through February 1945 in the less capable (certainly at air-to-air) P-47, flying ground-attack missions in support of General Patton’s Third Army before returning to P-51Ds to finish the war. The second highest air-to-air total was the 56th Fighter Group’s 677 from a tour lasting from December 1942 through V-E Day, with 50 aces including the highest-scoring American in the theater, Francis Gabreski with 28 kills (to which he added six more flying F-86s in Korea). The 56th FG’s air-to-air score is noteworthy: the Group never flew Mustangs in combat, keeping P-47s through V-E Day. The USAAF’s (and overall U.S.) leading ace was Richard Bong with 40 kills, all scored in P-38s against the Japanese.

I’m not holding my breath waiting for Congressional Gold Medals to be awarded to the 354th or 56th Fighter Groups! I’m sure we can expect that when (if) any of this wartime history is taught to American children, the only fighter unit ever specifically mentioned will be the Tuskegee Airmen’s 332nd Fighter Group—leading our children to believe that the only reason American victory was possible in World War II was because heroic blacks, despite being oppressed and insulted by racist white America, signed up and showed us unworthy whites how to win.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 30, 2007 10:30 AM | Send

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