Tuskegee Airmen – GHOST of WW2 Colorized photos

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Edward C. Gleed: Gleed served for three wars and put in thirty honorable and dedicated years to his country. In the summer of 1944, he escorted heavy bombers to Budapest, where he and other pilots of the 332nd encountered Bf-109s. However, Gleed was credited with destroying at least two of them. He also assisted with the destruction of supply dumps, bridges, oil refineries, and aircrafts. Gleed also served as a Squadron Commander of the 301st Fighter Squadron and as Operations Officer for the 332nd Fighter Group, and later for the 477th, in addition to his role in aerial combat. Here is in front of his P-51D Mustang, taken at red tails air base at Ramitelli, Italy, 1945. He is wearing Polaroid B-8 goggles with red lens on a RAF C-type of Flight helmet. Pink officer shirt, continental tie, an English RAF life preserver vest (model 1941 apparently), A-3 parachute harness, officer pink trousers’, is holding an a-14 oxygen mask and a particular thing is the type of gloves he wears: they are the “recon gloves” A-11 model, in Italy and the ETO late in WW2 were issued the new standard US Army brown leather gloves with warm OD wool inserts. They were sturdy yet flexible.

Learn more about Edward C. Gleed in TUSKEGEE AIRMEN PROFILES!

Staff Sgt. William Accoo: September 1944: Staff Sgt. William Accoo crew chief at Ramitelli Air Base, Apulia Italy, of the 15th U.S. Air Force. He washes down the P51 Mustang fighter plane of his pilot with soap and water. William Accoo fought with distinction for the 332nd Fighter Group, 99th Fighter Squadron during its World War II campaigns in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. For his service he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor in 2007 by Congressman Frank LoBiondoin Salem.
In the 1963 he was sworn in as Salem city’s first black councilman, a position he held until 1966.

Learn more about Staff Sgt. William Accoo in TUSKEGEE AIRMEN PROFILES!

P51s at Ramitelli:  Another Beautiful photo by Toni Frisell. A P-51D and in background some C versions. Italy, 1944 the unit is the 322nd Fighter group, the famous “Tuskegee” airmen unit. the plane in foreground is Creamer´s Dream, and was personal ship of 1/Lt Charles White from 301st Fighter Squadron. On April 1st 1945 he shot down two Me 109 flying this machine. The Tuskegee was based in Ramitelli, Apulia region, south Italy. From Apulia several bombers and fighters from 12th and 15th air force start their missions against center and north Italy, Rumania, South Germany and Austria. Often in Italy they often used captured old Italian air force bases, or as in this case they were adapted agricultural lands and expanded with tracks made of PSP or concrete. The taxiways and park areas were often of simple earth and when it rained it became full of mud.

Tuskegee Airmen of the 332nd Fighter Group: Contrary to negative predictions from some quarters, Tuskegee Airmen were some of the best pilots in the U.S. Army Air Forces due to a combination of pre-war experience and the personal drive of those accepted for training. Nevertheless, the Tuskegee Airmen continued to have to fight racism. Their combat record did much to quiet those directly involved with the group, but other units continued to harass these airmen.

The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of African-American military pilots (fighter and bomber) who fought in World War II. They formed the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Forces. The name also applies to the navigators, bombardiers, mechanics, instructors, crew chiefs, nurses, cooks and other support personnel. The 99th Pursuit Squadron (later, 99th Fighter Squadron) was the first black flying squadron, and the first to deploy overseas (to North Africa in April 1943, and later to Sicily and Italy). The 332nd Fighter Group, which originally included the 100th, 301st and 302nd Fighter Squadrons, was the first black flying group. It deployed to Italy in early 1944. In June 1944, the 332nd Fighter Group began flying heavy bomber escort missions and, in July 1944, with the addition of the 99th Fighter Squadron, it had four fighter squadrons. They were based in Ramitelli, in Molise region, Italy.

The 332nd Fighter Group painted the tails of their P-47s red, the nickname “Red Tails” was coined. The red markings that distinguished the Tuskegee Airmen included red bands on the noses of P-51s as well as a red rudder, with red propeller spinners, yellow wing bands and all-red tail surfaces.

In the photo Airmen of the 332nd, from left to right: Robert W. Williams, William H. Holloman, Ronald W. Reeves, Christopher W. Newman and Walter M. Downs listen to a briefing in March 1945. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the United States Armed Forces. In this photo they wear miscellaneous jacket, is visible the B-15, A-2, field jacket 41 on the right back shoulder, pink service officer trousers’. The first man wears a wonderful officer service cap also called “Crusher” and behind B-2 winter cap.


About the artist: My name is Daniele Raffanti, I’m a digital artist based in Italy. The passion for history and for the world of photo editing programs that I use in my job, have met in a casual and natural way for about two years. In 2019 I created my Facebook page where every week I always published my works, reaching a community of 14,000 followers. The name was initially “Ghost of WW2” where I used to colorize the Second World War, achieving popularity in this international field and getting in touch with colleagues from different continents. Subsequently the requests led me to want to expand my works, well beyond the military history of the period 1939/1945. Expanding to colorize the history at 360 degrees and therefore this new project called Ghost of Past was born.
Before being a colorist, I am a photographer. For 10 years I have been making digital and film photographs, often in black and white. I own several vintage cameras that I use, developing the negatives myself. This allows me to better understand vintage photographs and to have a more complete know-how about quality and tonality. Colorize photos is a passion that has taken me more and more. The success found with the Facebook page now pushes me to grow this branch of job and passion, through publishing world too. Recently I joined the Colorizer’s code of conduct, which make a special effort for respect the original photograph, ensure attribution and other important ethic attentions.

See more of GHOST of WW2 Colorized photos at https://www.facebook.com/ghostofpastcolourizations.