Tuskegee Airman Honored

Air Forces Central has named a combat air patrol of MQ-1 unmanned aerial vehicles operating with the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing from Joint Base Balad, Iraq, after Gen. Benjamin Davis Jr. (ret.), who led the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II and became the first black airman to reach general’s rank. Davis died in July 2002. The CAP is now designated by the call sign “Davis.” “We continue to align the naming of our Predator and [MQ-9] Reaper CAPs from our historical Air Force lineage,” said Lt. Gen. Gary North, AFCENT commander. He continued, “It is a great daily reminder, for our airmen and to the joint and combined services engaged in today’s fight, of our Air Force heritage and of our Air Force’s impact on today’s battlefields.” Davis commanded the 99th Fighter Squadron of black airmen over the skies of North Africa and Sicily, and later the 332nd Fighter Group that operated from Italy. The 332nd AEW is directly descended from the 332nd FG. Davis retired as a lieutenant general in 1970, but received a fourth star in December 1998 when then President Bill Clinton advanced him to the rank of general. (332nd AEW report) (For more on Davis, click here)