The "Tuskegee Airmen" are the participants in an Army Air Corps program that was administered through the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. The program trained African-Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft before and during World War II. The Tuskegee Airmen included pilots, navigators, and bombardiers. The term also refers to the maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all other personnel involved in keeping the planes and pilots in the air.
The Tuskegee Airmen became one of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II. Awards and decorations included three Distinguished Unit Citations, at least one Silver Star, 96 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 14 Bronze Stars, 744 Air Medals and eight Purple Hearts. Their achievements during the war paved the way for full integration of the U.S. military.