Tuskegee Airmen in Italy, 1945

Tuskegee Airmen in Italy, 1945

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This photo, taken in March 1945 in Ramitelli, Italy (near Naples), shows an escape kit containing cyanide capsules being issued to a member of the 332nd Army Air Force Fighter Group, the "Tuskegee Airmen." In the event of capture by the Nazis in Yugoslavia, the airman was expected to take his own life. You can see the man on the right is armed with an M1911A1 .45 automatic in his shoulder holster, with a two-clip pouch on the strap.

The photographer was Toni Frissell who took hundreds of photos of the Tuskegee Airmen during that period, the only known photos of the group on duty in Europe.

The Tuskegee Airmen flew more than 700 missions and never lost a bomber to enemy aircraft. They earned more than 744 Air Medals and Clusters, more than 100 Flying Crosses, 14 Bronze Stars, 8 Purple Hearts, a Silver Star, and a Legion of Merit. The group was commanded by Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr, who later became the first three-star general in the Air Corps.

Today in WW II: 5 Oct 1939 Soviet Union forces Latvia to sign a treaty permitting USSR to establish military bases on Latvian soil.  More 
5 Oct 1939 German victory parade is held in Warsaw, Poland celebrating the success of Blitzkrieg attack.
5 Oct 1939 Battle of Kock, Poland ends with the surrender of defending Polish forces, the last significant resistance to the German and Soviet invasions.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

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