American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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The 332nd Fighter Group

Issuing Escape Kits Containing Cyanide Capsules...
Toni Frissell (1907-1988)
Issuing Escape Kits Containing
Cyanide Capsules to Members
of the 332nd Army Air Force
Fighter Group
Gelatin silver print,
March 1945
Prints & Photographs Division

Gift of the photographer, 1971 (73.3)

In March 1945, Toni Frissell took more than 280 photographs of the "Tuskegee Airmen," the elite, all-African American 332nd Fighter Group at Ramitelli, Italy. The group was commanded by Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr, who later became the first three-star general in the Air Corps. The Tuskegee Airmen flew more than 700 missions and never lost a bomber to enemy aircraft. They earned more than 744 Air Medals and Clusters, more than 100 Flying Crosses, 14 Bronze Stars, 8 Purple Hearts, a Silver Star, and a Legion of Merit. This photo records a member of the group is being given an "escape kit" containing cyanide in the event of capture in Yugoslavia.

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