In a memo of May 31, 1940, he recommended against any training of Negro pilots for combat duty, whether in integrated or segregated units within the Army Air Corps (see Document A).According to Arnold, the possibility of having Negro pilots (officers) serving over white enlisted men would create an impossible social problem, while it was not feasible to organize an all Negro Air Corps unit in time for the needed mobilization.After several months of training, which included unfair treatment at the hands of bigoted white instructors and officers, the 99th was declared ready for combat in the summer of 1942.
Pressuring the Roosevelt Administration for better treatment of minorities were such leaders as Walter White, Executive Secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N. The march itself was forestalled when FDR provided Executive Order 8802, whichthough it pertained to integration in the defense industry onlystill placated Randolph.
Like many of his military colleagues, General Henry Hap Arnold, Chief of the Air Corps, did not share his commander-in-chiefs enthusiasm for any move toward integration in military units.
Davis, Jr., and in conjunction with other AAF unitswas to provide tactical air support for Allied ground forces in driving the German Army back up the Italian peninsula.
(For these tactical missions, the 99th used the Curtis P-40 Warhawk as its aircraft until late in the war).
The notion of the 99th operating with and alongside white squadrons, though still in separate units, infuriated many AAF officials, as this concept deviated from the original plan for strictly segregated service.
A black infantry platoon, for instance, would receive its orders and fight engagements completely separate from any white ground units in the area.
Viewing the War Departments plan as an insult and a step in the wrong direction, White and Randolph continued to lobby (but in vain) for integrated training and service units.
At the same time, Air Corps officials remained reluctant to entertain the notion of a black fighter squadron, despite the conditions set forth that it train and operate separately from white units.
As the rest of this article will make clear, one could argue that this branch of the armed forces never fully approached the Tuskegee Experiment with an unbiased attitude; the Air Corps official interactions with the Tuskegee units at all administrative levels were plagued with neglect, indifference, and outright racism.
The Tuskegee experiment forged ahead, nevertheless, at a segregated Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Alabama.