With George Hardy, Air Corp Pilot Despite segregation in the armed forces, the Tuskegee Airmen flew high.
Ep 4: Nov. 25 2019
Lt. Colonel George Hardy wanted to be an engineer, not a cook. But at the start of World War 2, African Americans were only given mess attendant positions in the Navy – the branch he wanted to join. And so, George joined the U.S. Army Air Corps’ prestigious Tuskegee Airmen fighter group instead. Facing segregation at home and abroad, his food stories are weighted with uncomfortable silences and tough self-love.
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Thank you to Stephen Satterfield of ! Whetsone Magazine and iHeartRadio’s Point of Origin podcast for voicing part of Corporal Trimmingham’s letter (below) for this episode. We love Point of Origin and know you will, too, so subscribe right now
Also, thank you to Joe Faust of Tuskegee Airmen Inc. for connecting us with George for this episode. We encourage you to learn more at www.TuskegeeAirmen.org, and on Facebook and Instagram. Finally, thank you to Mike at the Sarasota Hertz rental desk: he told us that when veterans come into their area, everyone in rentals comes to stand in their appreciation. These gestures of respect matter. Let’s keep doing them, and keep talking about them.
Corporal Trimmingham’s letter from the Library of Congress. Read responses to the letter and more at Story of the Week.
Advert for the Food for Victory campaign, Jackson advocate. [volume] (Jackson, Miss.) 1939-current
Watch George speak about his beginnings in the Army Air Corps and his time flying missions for the 99th Fighter Squadron for the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
Want more gripping Service stories? Watch George’s speech at MacDill Air Force Base (we’ll hear some of these stories in further Service episodes, too!)
click on images to enlarge
“The first Negro WACs to arrive [on] the continent of Europe were 800 girls of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Bn, who had also been the first to arrive in England. After the battalion had set up its facilities at Rouen, France, it held an `open house’, which was attended by hundreds of Negro soldiers. Pvt. Ruth L. James,…of the battalion area is on duty at the gate.” May 26, 1945.Pfc. Stedman. 111-SC-237072. “… WAAC cooks prepare dinner for the first time in new kitchen at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.” December 5, 1942.Oster. 111-SC-162454. The launching party for the SS Harriet Tubman. June 3, 944.Guy Nicholas. 208-NP-5E-3. “Fliers of a P-51 Mustang Group of the 15th Air Force in Italy `shoot the breeze’ in the shadow of one of the Mustangs they fly.” Left to right: Lt. Dempsey W. Morgan, Jr.; Lt. Car roll S. Woods; Lt. Robert H. Nelson, Jr.; Capt. Andrew D. Turner; and Lt. Clarence P. Lester. Ca. August 1944. 208-NP-6XXX-1. “Jackie Wilson (left) and Ray Robinson have fought two bitterly contested ring encounters. Now it’s Sgt. Wilson and Pvt. Robinson in the same Aviation Squadron at Mitchel Field, New York, and they stand shoulder to shoulder–ready for a fight to the death on the Axis.” 1943. 208-PU-214B-5. “Staff officers of an…Air Corp Squadron near Fez, French Morocco. Left to right: Lt. Col. Benjamin O. Davis, C.O.; Capt. Hayden C. Johnson, Adjutant; Capt. E. Jones, Service Det.; Lt. Wm. R. Thompson, Armaments; Lt. Hervert E. Carter, Engineers; Lt. Erwin B. Lawrence, Operations; Lt. George R. Currie, Ordnance.” May 12, 1943. 111-SC-184968. George when in the 99th fighter group Col. Benjamin O. Davis Jr., commander of the Tuskegee Airmen 332nd Fighter Group, in front of his P-47 Thunderbolt in Sicily. (Photo, WikiCommons) Class 42-I graduated from flight training on October 9, 1942 at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama Left to right: Nathaniel M. Hill, Marshall S. Cabiness, Herman A. Lawson, William T. Mattison, John A. Gibson, Elwood T Driver, Price D. Rice, Andrew D. Turner Album Mechanics of 99th FS “Tuskeegee Airmen” (332nd Fighter Group-15th USAAF) repairing P-40 engine. George Johnson and James C. Howard are two of the men pictured. 1944 George’s graduation portrait from flight school Postcard for the Ship Ahoy restaurant in Houston, where George had “a good steak” before shipping out. Billboard for the Ship Ahoy restaurant in Houston, where George had “a good steak” before shipping out.