Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0784
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Full Text of HR0784  97th General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, The Tuskegee Airmen is the popular name of a group
3of African-American pilots who fought in World War II under the
4332nd Fighter Group, 477th Bombardment Group of the U.S. Army
5Air Corps; the Tuskegee Airmen were dedicated, determined young
6men who enlisted to become America's first black military
7airmen; and
8    WHEREAS, The Tuskegee Airmen were the first
9African-American military aviators in the United States Armed
10Forces; during World War II, African-Americans in many U.S.
11states were still subject to racist Jim Crow laws; the American
12military was no exception, as it too was racially segregated,
13along with much of the federal government; the Tuskegee Airmen
14were subject to racial discrimination, both within and outside
15the Army; despite these adversities, they trained and flew with
16distinction; each of the men possessed a strong personal desire
17to serve the United States to the best of his ability; and
18    WHEREAS, By the spring of 1944, the all-black 332nd Fighter
19Group had been sent overseas with the 100th, 301st, and 302nd
20Fighter Squadrons; these squadrons were moved to mainland
21Italy, where the 99th Fighter Squadron, assigned to the group
22on May 1, 1944, joined them on June 6, at Rarnitelli Airfield,
23near Termoli, on the Adriatic coast; from Rarnitelli, the 332nd



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1Fighter Group escorted the Fifteenth Air Force to heavy
2strategic bombing raids into Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary,
3Poland, and Germany; flying escort for heavy bombers, the 332nd
4earned an impressive combat record; the Allies called these
5airmen "Red Tails" or "Red-Tail Angels" because of the
6distinctive crimson paint predominately applied on the tail
7section of the unit's aircraft; these assignments marked the
8first aerial combat missions ever carried out by
9African-American pilots; and
10    WHEREAS, Of the 996 total pilots trained in Tuskegee from
111941 to 1946, approximately 445 were deployed overseas and 150
12airmen lost their lives in accidents or combat; the blood cost
13included 66 pilots killed in action or accidents and 32 taken
14into captivity as prisoners of war; the Tuskegee Airmen were
15credited by higher commands with the following
17        15,533 combat sorties and 1,578 missions;
18        112 German aircraft destroyed in the air and another
19    150 on the ground;
20        950 railcars, trucks, and other motor vehicles
21    destroyed;
22        One destroyer sunk by P-47 machine gun fire;
23        A nearly perfect record of not losing U.S. bombers; and
24    WHEREAS, Awards and decorations awarded to the Tuskegee



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1Airmen for valor and performance included:
2        3 Distinguished Unit Citations (99th Pursuit Squadron:
3    May 30-June 11, 1943 for the capture of Pantelleria, Italy;
4    99th Fighter Squadron: May 12-14, 1944 for successful air
5    strikes against Monte Cassino, Italy; and 332nd Fighter
6    Group: March 24, 1945 for the longest bomber escort mission
7    of World War II);
8        At least one Silver Star;
9        An estimated 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses;
10        14 Bronze Stars;
11        744 Air Medals;
12        8 Purple Hearts; and
13    WHEREAS, After the end of World War II, black airmen
14returned to the United States and once again faced racism and
15hatred, despite their outstanding service record; and
16    WHEREAS, These brave men deserve to be recognized by the
17State of Illinois for their service to their country during
18wartime; and
19    WHEREAS, The City of Rockford will honor the
20accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen and the Montford Point
21Marines during a celebration on February 24-26, 2012; the
22celebration will include a VIP screening of the film "Red
23Tails" on February 24, a presentation about the Tuskegee Airmen



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1on February 25, and presentation about the Montford Point
2Marines on February 26; therefore, be it
5we honor the Tuskegee Airman for their bravery and patriotism
6and thank them for the services they have rendered to our
7nation; and be it further
8    RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be
9presented to the City of Rockford and the Chicago "DODO"
10Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Incorporated.