60 years after whuppin' azz during World War II over the skies of Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa, the fabled Tuskegee Airmen finally got some long overdue dap from the President and Congress in the form of handshakes, Congressional Gold Medals and speechifying. Yet, as happy as ol Ty is about this honor, I can't help but wonder why it is, after 60 years, that Air Force historians chose this moment to disprove one of the Tuskegee Airmen's most enduring legends - their perfect bomber escort record...
Just like any other minority that chose to fight in the war effort, the 'Skegee Red Tails returned home to a country that, while eternally thankful to their northside counterparts, was a little less so to the southside homeys as this glossy shows.
Throughout the years, there have been several shows that have highlighted the exploits of the Airmen. I particularly liked the 1995 The Tuskegee Airmen movie starring my boy Laurence "Larry" Fishburne, Cuba Gooding Jr., New Jack City's Allen 'Gee Money' Payne and The Cosby Show's Malcom Jamal Warner. In that movie and in pretty much every article I read on the Red Tails, they made a special point to note their spotless bomber escort record. It's even a pivotal part of the movie's ending.
Suddenly, after 60 years, the Air Force decided to reexamine this contention last year and, surprise, surprise, they broke the results of their reexamination right around the time that the surviving Tuskegee Airmen get their Washington reception. Now I'm not disputing the findings, just the long wait to uncover the truth and the bogus timing of it's announcement since as Air Force Historical Research Agency historian Daniel Haulman said, "All of these records have been here all along. It was just a matter of putting them together." As in 'Hey fellas, let's see if we can get these results together in time for the big Tuskegee Airmen ceremony in Washington! Can't have those boyz gettin' too much dap now can we?'
Ah well, at least the boyz finally got their due. Can't hate on that, y'all. Can't hate on that.