During the war, 355 of them were deployed overseas and 84 would die in combat. But the group, whose planes were known for their distinctive “Red Tails,” would be credited for flying more than 1,500 missions.
They were also distinguished as an escort group, assigned to protect bombers and, for more than a half century after the war, it was said that the Red Tails never lost a bomber. But recently reported military studies concluded that while they had one of the most impressive escorting records of any unit during the war, the Tuskegee Airmen did in fact lose a total of 27 bombers on seven of the 179 escort missions they participated in. By comparison, the average number of bombers lost by the other P-51 fighter groups of the Fifteenth Air Force during the same period was 46.