Editor’s Note: Prepare yourself for a story of one courageous man’s experience with racism here at home and successful assaults on Nazis, as a Tuskegee fighter pilot. The world of being a fighter pilot led Harry to attempt to gain a pilot job in the private sector in the 50s. You will read about the stigma Harry faced during his time as a Tuskegee Airman and after his return home.
His heroism was not celebrated as were the exploits of any white compatriot who had the same life experiences. The book captures the experiences of one who while very successfully fighting the Germans came home to fight anti-black rhetoric. He paved the way for others to be recognized as important participators in society, both in the military and in civilian life.
His flight action descriptions will make you feel like you are in the plane with him. Harry would go on to become an honorary captain for two major airlines. You will not be disappointed as you read about the life of a Distinguished Flying Cross recipient. You also will celebrate his pluck and determination….Carol
Soaring to Glory: A Tuskegee Airman’s Firsthand Account of WWII (Regnery History; June 4, 2019; $29.99) is the notable true story of Lt. Col. Harry Stewart Jr., one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. Author Philip Handelman with Lt. Col. Harry T. Stewart, JR.
Author Philip Handleman recreates the harrowing action and heart-pounding drama of Stewart’s combat missions, including the legendary mission in which Stewart downed three enemy fighters.
In addition to thrilling dogfights and never-before-told personal stories from Stewart, Soaring to Glory reveals the cruel injustices he and his fellow Tuskegee Airmen faced during their wartime service and upon their return home.
- Despite being told as a child that he as a “colored” person could not become a pilot, Stewart joined the famed 332ndFighter Group (the Red Tails), flew 43 combat missions in Italy, took down three Nazis planes over Austria, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross
- Unlike white pilots, Stewart and other Tuskegee flyers faced the extra danger that if they were shot down over enemy territory they could not hide in plain sight with the population or expect to live. Tragically, one of Stewart’s friends was shot down, captured, and lynched by a racist mob
- Stewart and his fighter group defied racially-prejudice expectations and won the first postwar Air Force-wide gunnery competition for propeller-driven fighters
- Stewart obtained honorary captain status from American and Delta Airlines after being denied piloting jobs with those airlines’ legacy carriers (TWA and Pan Am) 50 years ago because of his ethnicity
Stewart’s heroism was not celebrated as it should have been in postwar America—but now, his boundless courage and determination will never be forgotten.
About the author: Philip Handleman is the author of 23 aviation-related books and the recipient of the 2005 Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award from the Tuskegee Airmen National Museum. the 2008 Harriet Quimby Award from the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Combs Gates Award from the National Aviation Hall of Fame. An avid flyer, he has piloted antique planes for many years at his rural airstrip.
About Lt. Col. Harry T. Stewart Jr. Harry flew 43 combat missions during WWII and has since retired from active duty in the USAF in 1950. For his flying prowess with the famed 332rd Fighter Group, popularly knows as the Red Tails, Stewart was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He also was on the all African-American team that won the first postwar Air Force-wide gunnery meet trophy for propeller-driven fighters.
Born in Virginia in 1924, he will celebrate his 95th birthday on July 4, 2019. Raised in NYC’s Harlem and Queens, Lt. Col. Stewart now resides in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.