Tag Archives: 332d Fighter Group

Three By Tuskegee

1LT Harry T. Stewart Jr., foreground, of Queens, New York, is pictured on April 1, 1945, when returning from an escort mission in his P-51D Mustang. Stewart is holding up three fingers to indicate that he shot down three Messerschmitt Bf 109s (an accomplishment that earned him a Distinguished Flying Cross) while escorting B-24 Liberators tasked to bomb the St. Polten marshaling yard. Pictured behind Stewart is his crew chief, Jim Shipley, of Tipton, Missouri.

Stewart’s jubilance was tempered by the reality that two of his fellow “Red Tails” pilots lost their lives during the same engagement with German fighters. The engagement, in which eight P-51s fought off a dozen Me 109s and four Focke-Wulf Fw 190s, took place near Wels, Austria just a week before the end of the war in Europe.
Born on Independence Day 1924, while still a teenager, he cycled through flight training at Tuskegee Air Field Stewart and joined the all-black 332d Fighter Group. Flying P-40s and later P-51s, he flew 43 combat missions in the ETO. He remained on active duty until 1950 and in the reserves into the 1960s, retiring as a light colonel.
An interview with Lt.Col. Stewart, below: