has a rich history of Afro-American Aviation.
Chanute Air Base was one of the first training centers for
the "all negro" sqadrons of World War II. In terms
of individual afro-american aviator recognition, we have 2
Illinois Military Aviation Hall of Fame Members and 3 civilians
important to Illinois aviation history.
All illustrate a passion for the skies which guided them
past the financial and racial restrictions of the times. Let
these pages inspire the pursuit of one's ambitions in any
It Started Here: The 99th Pursuit
Squadron at Chanute Field
In early 1941 the U.S. War Department authorized the formation
of several black Army Air Corps squadrons. On March 19, 1941,
the 99th Pursuit Squadron was activated at Chanute Field.
Over 250 enlisted men were trained at Chanute in aircraft
ground support trades. This small number of enlisted men was
to become the core of other black squadrons forming at Tuskegee
and Maxwell Fields in Alabama -- the famed Tuskegee Airmen.
"Formation of a negro pursuit squadron, the first such
unit in army history, was announced yesterday by Undersecretary
Robert P. Patterson of the War Department."
- AP News Report, January 17, 1941.