About Soaring To Glory
Soaring to Glory: A Tuskegee Airman’s Firsthand Account of WWII 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 Stewart downed three enemy fighters.
“Colored people aren’t accepted as airline pilots”, and the “Negro type doesn’t have the proper reflexes to make a first-class fighter pilot.” These were some of 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 from New York was at the controls of a P-51, prowling for Luftwaffe aircraft at five thousand feet over the Austrian countryside. By the end of World War II, he had done something that nobody could take away from him: he had become an American hero.
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 as a “colored”person he could not become a pilot, Stewart:
- Joined the famed 332nd Fighter Group (the Red Tails),
- Flew 43 combat missions in Italy
- Took down three Nazis planes over Austria
- 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 recounts that his fighter group defied racially-prejudiced expectations and won the first postwar Air Force-wide gunnery competition for propeller-driven fighters.
About Lt. Colonel Harry Stewart, Jr.
Lt. Col. Harry Stewart, Jr., obtained honorary captain status from American and Delta Airlines after being denied piloting jobs with those same airlines’ legacy carriers (TWA and Pan Am) 50 years earlier 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. Get a copy of Soaring To Glory, here.