Jr, Mascot of the 99th Fighter Squadron

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After receiving the news article “Sidelights of War” with the story of an 11-year-old boy being taken in by the 99th Fighter Squadron we reached out to several historians for additional information.

Here is their email correspondence, as Lawrence Lee says in summary “Even if the adoption wasn’t binding, at least they were fed and taken care of to a certain extend by our guys. I pray that those boys were able take the lessons they learn and be productive similar that boy in the Miracle at St. Anna movie (as you can I love movies that speak about the humanity of our troops towards the victims of war. “

I am fairly familiar about the little Arab boy they named Jr. they brought from North Africa to Sicily and Italy.

Aside from Adolph Caso, there were also several other boys that the Airmen adopted.

Craig Huntly, Tuskegee Airmen Subject Matter Expert

I am not aware of the story of the 99th Fighter Squadron adopting an orphan during World War II. Adolph Caso was an Italian boy who lived near Ramitelli, and who became aware of the 332d Fighter Group and its flights over his village. He later joined the U.S. Army and edited a later edition of Charles Francis’ book “THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN: THE MEN WHO CHANGED A NATION”. I met Colonel Caso at a Tuskegee Airmen national convention years ago, and spoke with him about his experiences as a boy in Italy.

Dr. Daniel Haulman, PhD, retired USAF historian

Keep in mind in these cases the word adoption does not mean or indicate legally or formally.

In the case of Jr., he was an orphan. There was also a little boy at Ramitelli named Geusppie that hung around with the Airmen from the 100th and 301st Fighter Squadrons.

The Airmen would feed and clothe them and the boys would due odd jobs for the Airmen like taking the Airmen’s laundry to be washed and cleaned, cleaning the inside of the tents. Selling eggs to the Airmen

I have a lot of photos of these boys with the airmen. Just by guessing at their ages I would say somewhere between 8 and 12.

In some of the photos, the boys are wearing miniature uniforms and even smoking cigarettes.

Craig Huntly, Tuskegee Airmen Subject Matter Expert

I’d like to think there are more examples of “mascots” who not only survived the conflict, but that somehow the promises made were fulfilled by the soldiers who they inspired.

Again, thank you all for your help. May inquiring minds continue the search for the truth. Be well.

Lawrence D. Lee

H.E.R.O.E.S. (Honoring Excellence Regardless of Ethnic Stigmas)

“The seed of heroism thrives in all those who believe that they can make a difference in someone else’s life ”

The guys you see in these photos worked at the Ramitelli airfield, someone in the kitchen other workers to keep the tents clean, they did laundry jobs bringing their mothers the clothes to wash or they did small businesses selling eggs and cheeses a little The Tuskegee Airman were very good to my villagers, and many could pull themselves out of the bad situation in which the fascist regime and the war had plunged them.

Enzo Cupaioli

Article submitted by Lawrence Lee

Historical information Dr. Daniel Haulman, PhD, retired USAF historian and Craig Huntly, Tuskegee Airmen Subject Matter Expert

Photos courtesy Craig Huntly and Enzo Cupaioli