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Tuskegee Airman Alex Jefferson Describes WWII Experience

20th January 2010

redtail The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American pilots in the military, and were thus named for the town in Alabama where they were trained. In Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free, Alex Jefferson writes what it was like not only to be an African-American pilot flying during WWII, but also what it was like being a prisoner of war in Germany. Jefferson was shot down in 1944, right in German territory. He was immediately taken captive by German soldiers and held in a POW camp for nine months. His memoir, co-written by Lewis Carlson, spares no details of his experiences fighting for a country where he did not have equal rights.

Last week, Jefferson and fellow Tuskegee Airman Bill Holloman, shared their stories at the Cutsforth Town Hall in Oregon. The Canby Herald profiled the courageous pilots in a story on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

“Jefferson writes as a genuine American hero. He provides an unvarnished look at life behind barbed wire, not only the basic frustrations and dangers that faced all prisoners of war, but also the sometimes surprising experiences of an African-American officer in the hands of a racist enemy…This vividly detailed, deeply personal book is a rare and important gift.”