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Integration of the USAF


When the 322nd Fighter Group returned to the U.S. following the Allied victory in Europe in 1945, three of its squadrons were deactivated. The fourth, the famous 99th Fighter Squadron, was assigned to the 477th Composite Group at Godman Field, Ky. Equipped with both bombers (B-25s) and fighters (P-47s), the 477th transferred to Lockbourne Army Air Base near Columbus, Ohio, on March 13, 1946, where it was later redesignated the 332nd Fighter Wing. In April 1948, Gen. Carl Spaatz, Air Force Chief of Staff, publicly announced that the Air Force would desegregate to improve its combat effectiveness. In May 1949, the Air Force published regulations dismantling segregation, and on July 1, 1949, Lockbourne was deactivated and its personnel were transferred to previously all-white units stationed throughout the world. Men joining the Air Force from then on were assigned according to their ability and not race.

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USAF Fighter Gunnery Competition Trophy
Gen. Daniel "Chappie" James Jr.

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Find Out More
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Related Fact Sheets
North American B-25D Mitchell
Republic P-47D (Bubble Canopy Version)
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Lectures
Lt. Col. (Ret.) James Harvey III & Lt. Col. (Ret.) Harry Stewart: "Integration of the Air Force" (00:51:33)
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Other Resources
The Air Force Integrates, 1945-1964 (Provided by AFHSO)
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