Photo from the National Archives Today marks the 73rd Anniversary of the activation of the 99th Pursuit Squadron. The first fighter squadron  comprised of and led by African American pilots and maintainers, also known as the Tuskegee Airmen. The program officially began in June 1941, with 47 officers and 429 enlisted men. The Squadron first flew the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk in North Africa, and eventually flew the P-51 supporting bombing missions into Europe. The 99th would be the first of 4 Fighter Squadrons and 3 medium bomber squadrons of the Tuskegee Airmen . Pioneering Aviators of their time many went on to become future leaders in what became the U.S. Air Force.