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WWII Letter from Tuskegee Airman RED TAILS 99th Fighter Squadron


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KASTAUFFER

Many of you know I collect WWII postal history ( letters, envelopes ETC ) and I recently acquired this piece. It represents a significant part of history.

 

The pilot who wrote this letter was Lt. Quitman C. Walker. He graduated in class 43A at Tuskegee and was assigned to the 99th Fighter Squadron in Italy, part of the 332nd Fighter Group. He was later KIA on a mission over Hungary.

 

This picture was taken at Tuskegee. He is the 2nd from the left.

 

quint.jpg

 

The following is quoted from a recent article at STLTODAY.com.

 

" Lt. Quitman C. Walker's service medals, including his Purple Heart, were issued nearly 60 years after they were awarded.

 

Walker of Indianola, Miss., graduated from flight training on Jan. 14, 1943, at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama. He deployed to North Africa with the 99th Fighter Squadron in April. The squadron flew its first combat mission on June 2, then moved to Italy on July 28. Nearly a year later, the 99th Fighter Squadron joined the 332nd Fighter Group at Ramitelli Air Field, where it was stationed for the rest of the war.

 

The 332nd Fighter Group was sent on a strafing mission in Hungary and Austria on Nov. 19, 1944. Pilots from the 99th Fighter Squadron destroyed 15 horse-drawn vehicles and wagons, and damaged 100 more horse-drawn vehicles, two locomotives, 40 wagons and 10 trucks. During a pass over a river, Lt. Roger B. Gaiter's P-51 Mustang was hit by anti-aircraft fire, and was shot down. On the way back to Ramitelli, Walker's plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire near Lake Balaton, Hungary.

 

"Lt. Q.C. Walker was just behind me at approximately 6,000 feet," 1st Lt. Emile G. Clifton Jr. wrote in a military report. "We ran into concentrated flak. I looked behind me just in time to see Lt. Walker make a sharp turn to the east; that was the last I saw of him. I made two 360-degree turns and called him several times on the radio with no results."

 

Gaiter evaded Nazi soldiers for four days before he was captured; Walker was not heard from again.

 

Walker is buried at the Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium. In 1995, a hanger at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., was named The Walker Center in his honor.

 

Although Walker was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross, an Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and a Purple Heart for his military service, some of the medals were not issued after he died. In 2004, nearly 60 years after Walker was reported missing, four medals, including his Purple Heart and campaign medals, were issued to Walker's nephew, Donald Walker, by Maj. Gen. Harold A. Cross."

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RustyCanteen

I have seen similar, albeit less historically prominent than the one featured.

 

Can't believe this is not of interest to others? :huh:

 

A very sobering reminder of the cost of WWII.

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I have seen similar, albeit less historically prominent than the one featured.

 

Can't believe this is not of interest to others? :huh:

 

A very sobering reminder of the cost of WWII.

 

 

I was kind of surprised there wasnt more interest in this too.

 

Kurt

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More about Lt Walker:

 

(1919 - 1944)

 

Quitman Charles Walker was the eldest of five siblings born June 21, 1919 in Tillman, Mississippi to Mr. Arthur R. Walker and Mrs. Ida Burns Walker.

 

He attended the public schools of Indianola, Mississippi. His senior year of high school was spent at the Cohoma County Training School near Clarksdale. He graduated in 1937.

 

Quitman continued his education at Alcorn A & M College (now Alcorn State University), and in 1941 received a B. S. degree in Science. After graduation he went to Los Angeles, California seeking employment. Shortly after his arrival he enlisted in the Regular Army and was sent to Tuskegee, Alabama for flight training.

 

On January 25, 1943, Lt. Walker graduated from pilot training and was commissioned as an officer in the Army Air Corps. After additional flight training and a transfer to Selfridge Army Air Field in Michigan, Lt. Walker was posted overseas. Arriving by ship at Naples, Italy. He was assigned to the 99th. Fighter Squadron, 332nd. Fighter Group.

 

Tuskegee Airmen-Class 43A (left to right): Clinton Mills, Quitman Walker, Andrew Maples, Chas. Stanton, George McCrumby, and Armour McDaniel

 

For 22 months, Lt. Walker flew a P-51D Mustang. He named his personal aircraft, "The Coordinator". On November 19, 1944, Lt. Walker and Lt. Robert Gaither were returning from a strafing mission over Hungary. Lt. Gaither's plane was hit by enemy fire, he bailed out and was able to evade the Nazis for four days before being captured. Lt. Walker, however, was never heard from again and was reported "Missing in Action". June 29, 1949, the War Department changed the status to "Killed in Action". While in service to his country, Lt. Walker was awarded The Purple Heart, The Distinguished Flying Cross, and The Air Medal with Three Oak Leaf Clusters.

 

In February of 1995 a hangar, "The Walker Center", was named in his honor at Columbus Air Force Base (Mississippi).

 

On May 9, 2003, during a ceremony held in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Lt. Walker was awarded the university's second highest honor- posthumous induction in Alcorn University's Hall of Fame.

 

Concurrently in May 2003, the U. S. Army posthumously issued three additional awards due Lt. Walker...The European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal With 1 Bronze Service Star, The World War II Victory Medal, and The Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII. They were sent to his eldest sibling in California.

 

In November 2003, the U.S. Army authorized and issued posthumously in Lt. Quitman C. Walker's honor The American Campaign Medal, including reissuing The Purple Heart w/Bar and Ribbon.

 

--found at http://www.artsonwheels.com/quitman_c_walker.htm

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CNY Militaria

Very interesting piece of military and US History! Thanks for showing.

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  • 4 years later...
Matthew1945

Very interesting, thanks for sharing! It's nice to see something more personal every once in a while, being that, from what I could read, (haha, I wish I knew more cursive) it was more of a conversation about writing to keep it touch than of the war itself.

 

- Matt

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I think that is an awesome piece of history Kurt. I have come across VERY few original paper items from these men over the years.

 

For some reason items like this don't seem to garner much interest on this site.

 

Thanks for sharing.

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  • 4 years later...
scottiques

WOW-- great letter!

 

Paper items don't seem to attract as much attention as other artifacts. 

 

It doesn't get any more personal than these snapshots of his feelings/ thoughts/ observations-- I really like letters.

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

Scott

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