Wednesday, October 13, 2010

GI Joe Tuskegee Airmen

Through a fellow doll enthusiast, I recently discovered that the inside box flap of the 1997 Classic GI Joe Tuskegee Fighter Pilot mentions Tuskegee Airman, Charles B. Hall.  Phyllis (the doll enthusiast) informed that Charles B. Hall (who retired from the Air Force at the rank of Major) was born in Brazil, Indiana and was honored with a monument that stands in front of their town hall.  The monument dedication took place in August 2009.  Phyllis mentioned that the GI Joe Fighter Pilot represents Major Hall and told me where to look on the box to find his name.



1997 GI Joe Classic Collection Tuskegee Fighter Pilot (WWII Forces Collection GI Joe Limited Edition)

1997 GI Joe Classic Collection Tuskegee Bomber Pilot (WWII Forces Collection GI Joe Limited Edition)

This afternoon, I retrieved my two GI Joe Tuskegee Airmen (Fighter Pilot and Bomber Pilot) from their display shelf.  I read their separate histories on the inside flaps of the boxes. In short, the text describes the battles they fought at home [discrimination and resistance to their service in the Air Corps] and their achievements during World War II. 

The final paragraph of the Classic GI Joe Tuskegee Fighter Pilot's flap reads:

In July of 1943, Lt. Charles B. Hall of the 99th became the first black fighter pilot to shoot down an enemy aircraft.  The 332nd had another distinction that won the hearts of bomber crews:  they never lost a bomber to enemy fighters.  The success of the Tuskegee Experiment [Army Air Corps program that created The Tuskegee Airmen fighter squadron] was an important victory in these Americans' struggle for acceptance.  On June 1, 1949, Congress integrated U.S. armed forces throughout the world.
So while, the box does not state specifically that the Fighter Pilot represents Major Hall, I was delighted to learn that it mentions him.

This just in (3/2/14):  Phyllis Schlatter shared the following photo of the monument that was dedicated to Charles B. Hall in Brazil, Indiana.  As mentioned above, the dedication took place in August 2009.

Monument in Brazil, Indiana in honor of Tuskegee Airman, Major Charles B. Hall
The monument reads:


Major Charles B. Hall
08-25-1920 to 11-22-1971

Brazil native and World War II Hero, Mr. Hall became a member of the Tuskegee Airmen.
Mr. Hall was one of the first 43 African American pilots assigned to combat duty with the 99th Pursuit Squadron 332d Fighter Group (the Red Tails). On July 2, 1943 Lt. Hall earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for shooting down a German Focke-Wulf 190 during a mission over [Panelleria, Tunisia, North Africa].  In doing so, he became the first African-American pilot to earn official credit for destroying an enemy airplane in the Second World War.  After retiring as a Major in the Air Force, he resided in Oklahoma City until his death in 1971.

The airplane above is a replica of the P-40 flown by Major Hall in 1943.



Links of Interest:
Tuskegee Fighter Pilot
Tuskegee B-25 Bomber Pilot
Collector's version of Tuskegee Airman B25 Pilot
Biography of [Major,] Charles B. Hall
Honored, Sunday, August 23, 2009 Brazil Times (includes image of Charles B. Hall Monument)

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6 comments:

  1. I have these guys - lucked out and got them on sale at KB Toys years ago. Whew; I didn't realize my luck.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Very interesting. This reminded me that I have a duplicate Tuskegee Bomber Pilot for sale.

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  3. how much are these action figures can anyone tell me?

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    1. I believe they retailed for around $35 when they were released in the late 1990s. You may still be able to find them on the secondary market (from other sellers) and on eBay.

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  4. The doll actually is a different Charles, Charles Williams.

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    1. Thank you Ryan and Karen for sharing this information.

      It is a honor that Hasbro created these two figures to represent any of the brave men who were Tuskegee fighter pilots and Tuskegee bomber pilots during WWII.

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