Episode 4: Airmen Flew High

A black and white photo of retired Lt. Colonel George Hardy in his pilot's uniform from World War 2.

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.

Behind The Episode:

Read 10 Things About the Mistreatment of Black Soldiers During World War II You May Not Know at The Atlanta Black Star and learn more World War II Museum.

Read up about the Tuskegee Airmen at History.com and TuskegeeAirmen.org. Watch videos of the Airmen flying at Ramitelli Airfield here!

Learn more about George via The Charlotte Sun Newspaper, RedTail.org and WFSU.

Learn more about the Double V campaign that paved the wave for the Civil Rights Movement at PBS, the Smithsonian, and Yurasko.net.

Read the 1945 Army study, “Opinions About Negro Infantry Platoons in White Companies of 7 Divisions”, at the Library of Congress.

Check out this fascinating article about cartoons in African American newspapers during WWII at Society Pages.

Curious about Beef Kidney Stew? Try your hand George’s favorite food memory with this recipe by legendary chef Jacques Pepin in the New York Times.

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!)


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