Memorial Day: Remembering WWII "Hell Ships" and Tuskegee Airmen

Memorial Day: Remembering WWII "Hell Ships" and Tuskegee Airmen

Before the pandemic, my town held an annual Memorial Day parade featuring veterans and other community groups. I hope the parade will return next year, but today we can still remember those who served.

When I was a kid, I participated in the parade as a scout and remember talking to one of the U.S. Army Air Force vets from World War II in the march. He told me he served on a bomber crew over Europe, and remembered missions where fighter cover was provided by the Tuskegee Airmen - the all-black squadron who escorted bombers over Nazi-held territory. 

Tuskegee AirmenTheir leader was Colonel Davis, a West Point graduate who was viewed as a strict disciplinarian. According to the National Air Force Museum, Col. Davis "urged his men to prove themselves in combat as the best reply to racism. ... On one mission, Davis led 39 aircraft against more than 100 German fighters, shooting down five for the loss of one. It earned Davis the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery and leadership."

Another story we are sharing is a video segment about the "Hell Ships" of the Pacific War. It's a rarely taught and often forgotten part of World War II: What happened to thousands of allied POWs aboard the so-called "hell ships"? CBS News broadcast this video segment about the Hell Ships over the Memorial Day weekend.

Hell Ship
Many readers had relatives who served during WWII or other conflicts, or are themselves veterans. Today we remember them.

Back to blog