A-train: memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman by Charles W. Dryden

By Charles W. Dryden

A-Train is the tale of 1 of the black american citizens who, in the course of international struggle II, graduated from Tuskegee (AL) Flying institution and served as a pilot within the military Air Corps’ 99th Pursuit Squadron. Charles W. Dryden offers a fast moving, balanced, and private account of what it was once wish to organize for a occupation commonly closed to African american citizens, how he coped with the frustrations and risks of wrestle, and the way he, in addition to many fellow black pilots, navigators, bombardiers, and crewmen, emerged with a powerful battle checklist. below the command of Colonel Benjamin O. Davis Jr., the Tuskegee airmen fought over North Africa, Sicily, and Europe, escorting American bomber crews who revered their "no-losses" list. a few have been shot down, lots of them have been killed or captured via the enemy, and several other gained medals of valor and honor. however the airmen nonetheless confronted nice limitations of racial prejudice within the militia and at domestic. As a member of that elite team of younger pilots who fought for his or her state in another country whereas being denied civil liberties at domestic, Dryden offers an eloquent tale that would contact each reader. 

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The saga of the Tuskegee Airmen had a cast of thousands, literally. There were heroes: the men who flew aloft and the men on the ground who kept them flying. And there were heroines: some in uniform as nurses, some in uniform as WAACS; others in muftithe mothers, wives, sweethearts, sisters, daughters who supported their heroes "over there" and back home with V-mail, "care packages," and prayers. Heroines who, like their men in uniform, encountered the mean spirit and ways of Jim Crow even as they supported the war effort on the home front.

Sure, but what of it? All I cared about was learning to fly. Besides, Roosevelt Field was where Charles "Lindy" Lindbergh took off on his historic nonstop flight to Paris in 1927. I felt it might launch my flying career also. Matthews and Rappaport (Roy and Max) were the CPTP contractors with Uncle Sam at Roosevelt Field. They operated a small fleet of about three J-3 Piper Cubs. A secretary/operations clerk, Ethel Verbeek, kept all the flight records up to date and kept the morale of us trainees upbeat by cheerful friendliness.

By whatever name it was called I knew I would be careful not to raise the nose too steeply in future stalls and risk tearing the wings off the plane. "That's what could have happened," Charlie said. By the time of the CAA flight test, some weeks later, and with forty hours of flying time in my logbook, I had learned enough to pass with flying colors. I became the proud possessor of a private pilot license. That was something. REALLY something! But it wasn't enough. It was only the beginning. I wanted to fly bigger airplanes, faster than the 65-horsepower Piper Cub.

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