Fourth Presidental History Symposium


Air Force African-American Meteorologists in WW II and Beyond

Gerald A. White Jr., Air Force Reserve Command, Warner Robins AFB, GA

Like the rest of the Army Air Forces prior to World War II, there were no African-American weather men, officer or enlisted. This changed in March 1941 when five enlisted men of the 99th Pursuit Squadron entered training as weather observers at Chanute Field, Illinois, followed in July 1941 by the first African-American meteorological aviation officer cadet who entered training in the 2d class of cadets at MIT. While never a large group, this was the start of the Tuskegee Weather Detachment, later designated the 67th Army Air Force Base Unit. Part of the larger “Tuskegee Experiment,” this unit also broke new ground in the role of African-Americans in the military, overcoming numerous obstacles including the lack of observers and forecasters with civilian experience.

After World War II, some officers trained during the war chose to remain in the service and were joined by several of the Tuskegee Airmen who had been wartime pilots or navigators and later trained as weather officers. Still a very small group, many distinguished themselves in numerous areas of endeavor.

This paper will examine the circumstances surrounding the creation and service of the 67th AAFBU and the post-war record of the Tuskegee meteorologists.

wrf recording  Recorded presentation

Session 2, Meteorology: From Ben Franklin to Climate Change: Part II
Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 2:00 PM-5:00 PM, A310

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