Louis Anderson crew pictures

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These are my father, Louis Anderson, crew pictures. Dad graduated from Tuskegee Institute in 1940 and is 3rd from the left in the picture of the men at the table.

My father’s crew was part of the 477th Medium Bombardment Group, 617th Squadron. They were packing to go the Pacific when the A-bomb was dropped on Japan, ending the war.

The bomber crews were never sent into combat, mainly because MacArthur didn’t want Negro fliers in his command, according to my father, and for that I am always grateful. It’s probably why I’m here, and my brothers and sisters.

The white bomber crews that trained with my father’s squadron shipped out after six months training and half of them died.

When the fighter pilots of the famous 99th Pursuit Squadron finally shipped out, they had been training for 2 years. The combat depleted German pilots had very little chance against these severely selected, highly trained, and highly motivated units.

The bomber crews also had 2 years training before they would have been deployed. And in the ranks of all the units, the ground crews, the cooks, the support staff, all refused promotions and transfers so they could stay with their units. That meant that not just the aircrews, but everybody that supported them were the cream of the crop.

While I was growing up in Macon, there was always a class picture of the 617th on the wall of my father’s office, about 60 individual yearbook type oval pictures. Ten to twelve of them had “killed in training accident” written across their picture.

As pilots graduated, the majority would be assigned to one of four fighter squadrons: the 99th, 100th, 301st and 302nd. These four squadrons would become part of the 332nd Fighter Group

The 477th Medium Bombardment Group, which trained at Selfridge Field near Detroit, Michigan. The 616th, 617th, 618th and 619th Bombardment Squadrons were organized under the 477th Bombardment Group. They were slated for combat in the Pacific Theater but WWII ended before their deployment.

Click here to learn more about the Tuskegee Airmen squadrons.