Insignia, 332nd Squadron, United States Army Air Forces

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

Benjamin O. Davis led the all-black 99th and later the 332nd Fighter Group in Europe during World War II. His inspired and disciplined leadership played a major role in the Tuskegee Airmen’s success. Under Davis, the 332nd escorted American bombers in missions over the Mediterranean and central Europe.The distinctive “Spitfire” patch became the 332nd Fighter Group’s insignia.

Collection Item Long Description:

The story of the Tuskegee Airmen is linked directly to the life and career of Benjamin O. Davis Jr. The son of an Army general and a 1936 graduate of West Point, Davis was a member of the first class of five cadets to earn their wings at Tuskegee. He was selected to lead the new 99th Pursuit Squadron, the Army Air Corps’ first all-black air unit.

Davis led the 99th and later the 332nd Fighter Group in Europe during World War II. His inspired and disciplined leadership played a major role in the Tuskegee Airmen’s success. Under Davis, the 332nd escorted American bombers in missions over the Mediterranean and central Europe. The distinctive “Spitfire” patch became the 332nd Fighter Group’s insignia.

After the war, Davis continued his military career in the newly independent and integrated U.S. Air Force. He achieved the rank of lieutenant general and played a key leadership role during the Korean and Vietnam wars.