2d Lt Faythe Andrew McGinnis
August 30, 1917 – September 12, 1942
Graduation Date: 7/3/1942
Graduation Rank: 2d Lt
Unit: 99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group
Service # O-790462
Faythe was born in Coalgate, Coal County, Oklahoma to Gilbert McGinnis and Ella Wiley. His parents were both born in Texas. His father worked as grocer and later as a laborer. Faythe had an older brother, two older sisters, a younger brother (who served in the army during the war), and a younger sister. McGinnis grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma and by 1940 he had completed one year of college at Langton University while helping his widowed mother at home in Muskogee. He would complete two more years of college, which included playing on the football team, before he enlisted in the Army Air Forces on February 19, 1942. This was a high level of education for blacks of his generation living in the south.
On July 3, 1942, Faythe became a lieutenant in the 99th Fighter Squadron which was equipped with P-40 Warhawks. This unit was formed and trained in Tuskegee, Alabama and its men became known as the Tuskegee Airmen who went on to prove blacks were just as good as flyers as white pilots.
On September 12, 1942 he crashed his P-40E Warhawk #40-430 into Soughalachoe Creek during a routine flight out of the Tuskegee flight training base in Alabama. He was the first casualty suffered by the 99th Fighter Squadron. His mother had been visiting with him at the time, to celebrate his new commission as a pilot and lieutenant.
On September 12, 1942 at 1100, a Curtiss P-40E stalled and spun into the ground while maneuvering 10 miles northeast of Tuskegee, Alabama, killing 2nd Lt Faythe A. McGinnis, Pilot 2nd Lt. Willie Ashley, Jr. witnessed the accident and later stated to investigators, “Lt. McGinnis was leading the second element of a six ship formation which took off at about 0945. I was fourth in the formation, flying Lt. McGinnis’ wing. After taking off and gaining about 4,000 feet altitude, the formation was carried through a series of medium diving and climbing turns. The formation was loose, the airplanes about five ship lengths apart. We were about 4,500 feet altitude when the leader did a slow roll, after which he dove to pick up speed and started into a immelmann turn. As far as I could see, the leader and the second man completed the maneuver. Lt. McGinnis started into his turn and I was about to follow him, but noticing the altitude, 5,000 feet, I decided to do a chandelle instead. Lt. McGinnis’ plane stalled on it’s back after performing a half loop. The plane fell over into a normal spin, which appeared to include only one complete turn. Then it did a series of oscillations similar to that of a falling leaf. There was not enough altitude to pull out. The plane crashed and exploded. “Both Lt. McGinnis and Lt Ashley were original members of the 99th Fighter Squadron based at Tuskegee Army Air Field.
Faythe Andrew McGinnis is buried or memorialized at Booker T Washington Cemetery, Muskogee, Muskogee County, Oklahoma.