A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman

A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman

A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman

A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman

Synopsis

How does a black American prepare for a career in a profession traditionally closed to blacks? And how does he or she cope with the frustrations and dangers that subsequent experiences generate? A-Train is the story of one of the black Americans who, during World War II, graduated from Tuskegee Army Flying School and served as a pilot in the 99th Pursuit Squadron. Charles W. Dryden has prepared an honest, fast-paced, balanced, vividly written, and very personal account of what it was like to be a black soldier, and specifically a pilot, during World War II and the Korean War. Colonel Dryden's book commands our attention because it is a balanced account by an insightful man who enlisted in a segregated army and retired from an integrated air force. Dryden's account is poignant in illuminating the hurt inflicted by racism on even the most successful black people. As a member of that elite group of those young pilots who fought for their country overseas while being denied civil liberties at home, Dryden presents an eloquent memoir of the experiences he has shared and the changes he has witnessed.

Excerpt

A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman by Charles W. Dryden, Sr., Lieutenant Colonel, USAF (Retired), is an autobiography of a prominent and very active member of the group of several hundred Black airmen who were trained to fly in the skies over Alabama in the early 1940s, who fought the air war in Europe during World War II, and who simultaneously lived through the tempestuous life that the United States has imposed upon its Black citizens throughout all of our lives.

Dryden depended heavily upon frequent telephone conversations with some seventy of his wartime and postwar friends to check and cross-check most of the "recollections" he reports in his book. I can attest to this fact because I was an active participant in his process of discussion and verification of details of some of the historical material he presents. And, of course, as commanding officer of the 99th Fighter Squadron and, later, the 332nd Fighter and 477th Composite Groups, I shared many of the experiences he describes.

Chuck's book has two major logical divisions, the first prior to desegregation of the United States military, and the second after desegregation. It is an honest rendition of his life experience throughout the time period covered by his book. It could well have been titled: "The TRUTH as I Saw It." Chuck's book contains a wealth of interesting detail that should appeal to all Tuskegee Airmen. It would also be an educational read for anyone who is slightly acquainted with the existence of the Tuskegee Airmen but . . .

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