Published in Midwest Flyer – October/November 2019 issue
WASHINGTON, DC – “Colored people aren’t accepted as airline pilots.” The “negro type has not the proper reflexes to make a first-class fighter pilot.” These were the degrading sentiments that faced eighteen-year-old Lt. Col. Harry Stewart Jr. as he journeyed in a segregated rail car to Army basic training in Mississippi in 1943. But two years later, the twenty-year-old African American from New York was at the controls of a P-51, prowling for Luftwaffe aircraft at 5,000 feet over the Austrian countryside. By the end of World War II, Stewart had done something that nobody could take away from him…he had become an American hero.
“Soaring to Glory: A Tuskegee Airman’s Firsthand Account of WWII” (Regnery History; June 4, 2019; $29.99) is the remarkable true story of Lt. Col. Harry Stewart Jr., one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. In the style of Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken,” award-winning aviation writer Philip Handleman recreates the harrowing action and heart-pounding drama of Stewart’s combat missions, including the legendary mission in which he 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.