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Sesame allergy moms sound off about shortcuts on FDA guidelines: ‘Threatening the lives of our kids’

Source image: https://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/sesame-allergy-moms-sound-off-shortcuts-fda-guidelines-threatening-lives-kids

The sesame-allergic community isn’t happy that some food brands and manufacturers are creating “workarounds” when it comes to sesame as a product ingredient.

The FDA officially named sesame the ninth major food allergen in the U.S. effective Jan. 1. The industry was expected to comply with new guidelines that called for clear labeling on products.

Instead of spending the time and money to ensure that manufacturing lines were sesame-clean if sesame wasn’t a listed ingredient, some brands and food makers opted instead to add more sesame to their items.

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This not only gives those who are sesame-allergic fewer food options, say concerned parents — it poses a growing threat, as companies appear to be refusing to prioritize the customers who suffer from the potentially life-threatening allergy.

A Chicago mom of two, Beverly (who asked for her last name to be withheld), told Fox News Digital in an interview that these workarounds to the new law are more than personal.

A child enjoys a sesame-covered snack. "Allergy moms can’t get the word out fast enough that [some] companies are threatening the lives of our kids," one mom insisted.

A child enjoys a sesame-covered snack. “Allergy moms can’t get the word out fast enough that [some] companies are threatening the lives of our kids,” one mom insisted.
(iStock)

Her son struggles with a severe allergy to sesame.

“Allergy moms can’t get the word out fast enough that these companies are threatening the lives of our kids,” she said. 

‘We’re feeling frightened’

The decision these companies are making to add more sesame is “not in the spirit” of the FASTER Act, said Beverly. 

The 2021 Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research (FASTER) Act was meant to help “keep people with allergies safe,” she added. 

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“What if companies started putting poison in your food that could possibly kill your children? You would feel attacked. You would feel scared,” she said.

“And that’s how we’re feeling,” she continued. 

“We’re feeling scared. We’re feeling frightened. We’re feeling hurt that companies are doing this just to keep their costs down.”

Beverly and her three-year-old son, who suffers from a severe sesame allergy, are shown here.

Beverly and her three-year-old son, who suffers from a severe sesame allergy, are shown here. “We’re feeling hurt that companies are doing this just to keep their costs down,” she said. 
(Beverly)

Erin Malawer, executive director of AllergyStrong, an allergy advocacy group in Washington, D.C., told Fox News Digital that many families are feeling “betrayed” by brands they trusted. 

“If this were peanuts and this was happening, everyone would be outraged,” said Malawer, who is also the mother of a son with a sesame allergy.

“So now we’re finding foods that were traditionally safe for our family we can no longer have.”

“So, the fact that we’re adding sesame and quietly … [and that] no one cares is really frustrating,” she added. 

“We’d like to see the FDA do more.”

Living with a sesame allergy

Both of the women’s families stay completely away from sesame in order to ensure that their sons remain safe.

Beverly described navigating the allergy as “very tricky.” 

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She said her family has been working around the allergy ever since her son’s diagnosis at six months old.

This includes calling restaurants and food companies ahead of time, said the mom, to confirm that there are no traces of sesame in their products.

Beverly's kids enjoy ice cream at Culver's — a restaurant the Chicago family said it can no longer patronize due to the sesame content in its menu items.

Beverly’s kids enjoy ice cream at Culver’s — a restaurant the Chicago family said it can no longer patronize due to the sesame content in its menu items.
(Beverly)

And now that some menus are changing to include more sesame in food items, Beverly explained that parents must be extra careful — and start the screening process all over again.

‘Devastated’ by certain actions

“We were very excited to give [our son] new foods that before were too vague [in terms of ingredients] to give him,” said the mom. “We were excited that we would have a yes or no answer.”

She added, “You can imagine how devastated we were when the companies started working around the FASTER Act, which was meant to help families like mine … adding the allergen that is life-threatening to so many people just to bypass a health regulation.”

She also said, “So now we’re finding foods that were traditionally safe for our family we can no longer have.”

Fox News Digital reached out to the FDA for comment in light of consumer concern over adding sesame to products.

Baked goods incorporating sesame seeds are shown here. One mom said the amount of reeducation now required for sesame-allergic people to stay safe is "enormous."

Baked goods incorporating sesame seeds are shown here. One mom said the amount of reeducation now required for sesame-allergic people to stay safe is “enormous.”
(iStock)

In an earlier statement, the agency said that it “does not support” the workaround by certain brands, but that these brands are technically not disobeying the law, it told Fox News Digital. 

Malawer agreed that the amount of reeducation it will require for people to stay safe is “enormous.”

Sesame oil, paste and flour are “much more allergenic” than whole sesame seeds — and these ingredients don’t improve the quality or taste of products, she said.

“As soon as you add sesame, you’ve made the decision that it’s not safe for me anymore.”

“They’re adding a more potent version of it to their products, not just adding sesame,” she said. 

“Meaning that accidental exposure, which is likely to happen, could very realistically trigger a reaction.”

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The incorporation of sesame flour into bread and sesame oil in other recipes has “greatly limited” her family’s ability to eat out, said Beverly.

A mom named Beverly, whose son is shown on left, called shortcuts to new FDA guidelines requiring clear labeling of sesame in food products a

A mom named Beverly, whose son is shown on left, called shortcuts to new FDA guidelines requiring clear labeling of sesame in food products a “threat” to America’s children.
(Beverly)

“Our family’s almost in a lockdown mode where we’re not even trying to eat out right now until everything is kind of settled,” she said.

“The questions are just too complicated sometimes for people that are working a register,” she also said.

‘We’re stuck’

Beverly of Chicago belongs to an online sesame community. She said people are posting about “more and more” products or brands every day that were previously safe for those who are allergic — but now contain sesame.

Restaurant chains such as Domino’s, for example, now list sesame as an ingredient in all of its pizzas.

Beverly mentioned that Pirate’s Booty, once one of her son’s favorite snacks, is now labeled that it may contain sesame, too.

Fox News Digital reached out to Domino’s corporate headquarters and to the manufacturer of Pirate’s Booty, The Hershey Company, for comment.

In an email reply, Todd Scott, senior manager of communications for The Hershey Company, told Fox News Digital, “I’ve checked with our experts and confirmed that Pirate’s Booty does not contain sesame and is not labeled as ‘may contain sesame.'”

A stack of Domino's pizzas in Spring Township, Pennsylvania, are shown on July 10, 2020.

A stack of Domino’s pizzas in Spring Township, Pennsylvania, are shown on July 10, 2020.
(Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

And though there may be no change to the recipe, Beverly suggested these companies only claim their products contain sesame to “protect themselves from liability.”   

Malawer confirmed that many of her constituents nationwide have also been having issues finding “any” sliced bread or buns that are safe. 

“And that is exactly opposite of what this law was intended to do,” she said.

Malawer said it feels wrong to her for companies to make decisions for families by changing recipes and adding sesame — instead of having clear labels that indicate a food item was made on equipment that may contain traces of sesame.

AllergyStrong executive director Erin Malawer and her family. She wrote recently on LinkedIn, "A reminder that the latest trend of adding allergens to products rather than clean manufacturing lines properly isn’t new. And it isn’t illegal either. But it’s against the spirit of the law," she added, referencing the FASTER Act in regard to sesame.

AllergyStrong executive director Erin Malawer and her family. She wrote recently on LinkedIn, “A reminder that the latest trend of adding allergens to products rather than clean manufacturing lines properly isn’t new. And it isn’t illegal either. But it’s against the spirit of the law,” she added, referencing the FASTER Act in regard to sesame.
(Erin Malawer)

“As soon as you add sesame, you’ve made the decision that it’s not safe for me anymore,” she said. 

“Something doesn’t feel right about that.”

She added, “It’s not in their customers’ best interest and, these days, that just doesn’t fly anymore.”

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Malawer encouraged the FDA to clarify compliance with new guidelines since the interpretation and response have differed from brand to brand.

“When you see your child turning blue, gasping for air, you see the power of a very small amount of allergen.”

“Until the FDA comes out to clarify this, I just think that we’re stuck,” she said.

‘Very severe reaction’ to a small seed

As the mother of a 17-year-old boy who suffers from multiple food allergies, Malawer said an allergy diagnosis of any kind “upends your world.”

Even as an allergy professional, the mom said she learns something new about the condition “every day.”

“You have to keep yourself safe as much physically as you do psychologically,” she said. 

AllergyStrong executive director Erin Malawer's oldest son (far right) suffers from multiple severe allergies.

AllergyStrong executive director Erin Malawer’s oldest son (far right) suffers from multiple severe allergies.
(Erin Malawer)

“And that is also, as a parent, really, really tough because it’s a really big burden.”

Malawer described one instance when her son had an accidental exposure to sesame oil as “simply awful.”

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“When you see your child turning blue, gasping for air, you see the power of a very small amount of allergen,” she said.

“It’s often a subtle allergen that many people may not realize can be life-threatening.”

“If [my son] could trade one allergy out, he would tell you every time sesame because people don’t understand it.”

Chicago mom Beverly watches as her children make their own sourdough bread at home.

Chicago mom Beverly watches as her children make their own sourdough bread at home.
(Beverly)

Beverly’s son, who’s now three years old, had his first severe reaction after eating tahini.

The doctors told Beverly that a second exposure could be life-threatening.

“It is a very severe reaction and that’s why this is so scary,” she said.

An allergist’s advice

Allergist and immunologist Dr. Purvi Parikh of New York explained just how scary an allergic reaction to sesame can be in a phone call with Fox News Digital.

“We’ve been seeing the increase in sesame allergy over the last few years, if not decades,” Parikh said. 

“And it’s often a subtle allergen that many people may not realize can be life-threatening.”

Dr. Purvi Parikh, allergist/immunologist with Allergy and Asthma Network in New York, encouraged those who are allergic to certain foods or ingredients to "really advocate" for themselves. 

Dr. Purvi Parikh, allergist/immunologist with Allergy and Asthma Network in New York, encouraged those who are allergic to certain foods or ingredients to “really advocate” for themselves. 
(Dr. Purvi Parikh/NYU Langone)

Parikh encouraged the sesame-allergic community to “really advocate” for themselves and speak out as ingredients shift under these new parameters.

Patients should consider nailing down an emergency action plan with their doctor.

The allergist also recommended that people always carry emergency medicine, including two EpiPens or other epinephrine devices.

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“Nothing bad can happen from using an EpiPen,” she said. 

“The medicine is so short-lived, it’s out of your system within 10 minutes, 30 minutes.” 

Close-up of an EpiPen logo on an epinephrine auto-injector held in a person's hand, Feb. 17, 2021.

Close-up of an EpiPen logo on an epinephrine auto-injector held in a person’s hand, Feb. 17, 2021.
(Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

“So even if you’re in doubt, it’s actually much safer to use it than not to use it … because epinephrine is the only thing that can stop a reaction dead in its tracks.”

Patients should consider nailing down an emergency action plan with their doctor, she added, detailing what to do and how to recognize an allergic reaction.

Parikh shared that an allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis, can best be indicated with skin symptoms accompanied by another bodily reaction.

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This can include skin itching, swelling or redness in addition to trouble breathing, wheezing, stomach cramping, nausea, dizziness and other symptoms, she said.

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/sesame-allergy-moms-sound-off-shortcuts-fda-guidelines-threatening-lives-kids

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Black History Month quiz: Test your knowledge of this month of tribute

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Frozen pipes: What not to do — and how to prevent them entirely

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When the temperature drops, homeowners need to be on the lookout for something they might not be able to actually see: a frozen pipe. 

Once a frozen pipe in a home is discovered, it’s important to act fast to safely thaw the pipe. Ice expands as it is formed, so a frozen pipe could burst — and create a flood. 

These floods can be devastating to a home, and can be extremely expensive for a homeowner or renter.  

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The insurance company State Farm paid more than $181 million in 2022 for claims related to damages from frozen pipes, with the average claim costing over $20,000, the company reported in a recent news release.

Michael Davis, an Illinois-based plumbing and HVAC expert and writer at the website PlumberTip, shared some dos and don’ts with Fox News Digital when it comes to dealing with frozen pipes. 

Frost may accumulate on the frozen part of the pipe, a plumbing expert told Fox News Digital. 

Frost may accumulate on the frozen part of the pipe, a plumbing expert told Fox News Digital. 
(iStock)

Here are his tip tops.

DO try to find the trouble spot

“Locate the frozen section of the pipe,” Davis told Fox News Digital. 

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“You may be able to identify the frozen section by looking for frost on the outside of the pipe or feeling for a section that is colder than the rest of the pipe.”

DO attempt to thaw the pipe with common household items

“If the frozen section is visible, apply heat to the area using an electric heating pad, a hair dryer or a portable space heater,” said Davis. 

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This advice, however, comes with a pretty big caveat.

Using a blowtorch to thaw a frozen pipe could damage the pipe. 

Using a blowtorch to thaw a frozen pipe could damage the pipe. 
(iStock)

DON’T use a blowtorch or open flame to thaw a pipe

In addition to being dangerous, using a blowtorch to melt a frozen pipe may actually damage the pipe, Davis explained — making matters much worse. 

DON’T panic if the frozen section cannot be found or accessed 

“If the frozen section is not visible, or if you are unable to access it, turn off the water supply to the affected pipe,” said Davis. 

A plumber should be called if water still is not flowing several hours after a homeowner attempts to thaw a pipe — or if a pipe bursts. 

A plumber should be called if water still is not flowing several hours after a homeowner attempts to thaw a pipe — or if a pipe bursts. 
(iStock)

After shutting off the water supply, a person then should turn on the faucet to allow for the water to drain as the pipe eventually thaws, he said. 

DO call in a professional, if necessary

If it has been several hours since the pipe was thawed and water is still not flowing, or if the pipe bursts, Davis recommends calling in a plumber. 

DO remember to be proactive

There are many things to do ahead of a cold snap or blizzard to prevent plumbing disasters, said Davis. 

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“To prevent frozen pipes in the future, consider insulating exposed pipes and keeping the thermostat set to the same temperature both day and night,” he said. 

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And if the forecast shows temperatures falling below 32 degrees, “letting a slow trickle of water flow through the pipes” can prevent them from freezing, said Davis. 

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Meet the American who taught the Tuskegee Airmen to fly: Pioneer pilot Charles ‘Chief’ Anderson

The Tuskegee Airmen soar across American military lore nearly 80 years after victory in World War II.

The heroic U.S Army Air Corps pilots battled for equality at home before they battled Nazis in the skies over Europe. 

The unit of African American pilots in the segregated Army earned their wings under the tutelage of pioneering pilot Charles A. Anderson. 

Dubbed “Chief” by his students, he was the lead flight instructor at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

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He put the wind beneath the wings of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, only after fighting for the right to fly on his own a decade earlier.  

“His reputation was that he expected a lot out of us,” World War II veteran and retired Lt. Col. George Hardy, 97, told Fox News Digital.

Charles "Chief" Anderson put the wind beneath the wings of the Tuskegee Airmen. He taught himself to fly in the 1920s — and became chief flight instructor at the Tuskegee Institute in World War II. 

Charles “Chief” Anderson put the wind beneath the wings of the Tuskegee Airmen. He taught himself to fly in the 1920s — and became chief flight instructor at the Tuskegee Institute in World War II. 
(Air Force Historical Research Agency)

“He learned to fly through personal determination. That’s what we admired about him. He did a great job of running things.”

Hardy is one of three known surviving Tuskegee Airmen who flew fighter planes in World War II. He’s still a legend today, skydiving in his 90s and taking friends parasailing on the Gulf of Mexico near his home in Sarasota, Florida

“Anderson learned to fly through personal determination. That’s what we admired about him.” — Tuskegee Airman George Hardy

He stands among the many legendary figures to emerge from the famous unit, trained to fly and fight under a system devised and led by self-taught pilot Chief Anderson. 

Hardy flew legendary “Red Tail” P-51 Mustang fighter planes in World War II — the aircraft earning the name from the crimson rudder that denoted the 332nd Fighter Group. Americans know the 332nd and the Red Tails today as the most famous of the Tuskegee Airmen. 

Charles "Chief" Anderson was the first licensed Black commercial pilot in America in 1932. He was later hired to be the lead flight instructor at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in World War II. 

Charles “Chief” Anderson was the first licensed Black commercial pilot in America in 1932. He was later hired to be the lead flight instructor at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in World War II. 
(Air Force Historical Research Agency)

Hardy later piloted giant B-29 bombers during the Korean War and C-119 gunships in Vietnam. 

He retired in 1972 after a 30-year military career.

“I had never even driven an automobile before I got to Tuskegee,” Hardy said.

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His inexperience is a testament to the challenges faced by Anderson. He took hundreds of young men and instilled in them the spirit to fly — at a time when many people thought they couldn’t do so because of the color of their skin. 

“The airplane was invented in 1903, and the military acquired its first airplanes and pilots in 1909, but Black men were not allowed to be pilots in the American military until the 1940s,” writes historian Daniel Haulman in his new book, “Misconceptions About The Tuskegee Airmen,” slated for release on Feb. 15. 

Anderson was not a military man. The nickname “Chief” was an accolade accorded the civilian by his Army students

Some 14,000 Tuskegee Airmen served in World War II, including hundreds of its now-legendary fighter pilots.

Some 14,000 Tuskegee Airmen served in World War II, including hundreds of its now-legendary fighter pilots.
(Tuskegee University Archives)

“Chief Anderson was liked and highly respected by his men,” Tuskegee University archivist Dana Chandler told Fox News Digital. 

“He instilled in them a belief that they could succeed no matter the obstacles.”

Born to fly

Charles Alfred Anderson Sr. was born on Feb. 9, 1907 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, to Iverson and Janie Anderson. 

Like many American boys of his era, he was thrilled by the emergence of flight and by the new image of daredevil pilots spiraling through the skies across America in the first decades of the 20th century. 

Denied opportunities to take flying lessons because he was African American, he blazed his own path into the wild blue yonder. 

First lady Eleanor Roosevelt supported the Civilian Pilot Training Program and the War Training Service. She's pictured here in a Piper J-3 Cub trainer with Charles Alfred

First lady Eleanor Roosevelt supported the Civilian Pilot Training Program and the War Training Service. She’s pictured here in a Piper J-3 Cub trainer with Charles Alfred “Chief” Anderson, a pioneer Black aviator and instructor at Tuskegee Institute. 
(U.S. Air Force photo)

Anderson saved money — and borrowed more from friends and family — to buy an airplane at age 22. 

He soon traded the use of his plane for lessons from a local pilot named Russell Thaw. He found another ally in his quest to fly — an unlikely ally. 

Ernst Buehl flew airplanes for the German army in World War I before immigrating to the United States in 1920. He took Anderson under his wing, unaware the young man would soon inspire American pilots in the Second World War. 

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Anderson earned a commercial pilot license in 1932. He’s believed to be the first African American commercial pilot in the United States. 

Freed by flight, he was soon soaring across the nation. 

Along with physician and benefactor Dr. Albert Forsythe, Anderson became the first Black pilot to crisscross the United States by air in 1933.

George Hardy flew with the 99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, the Tuskegee Airmen, in 1945. He later flew bombers in Korea and fixed-wing gunships in Vietnam. Charles Anderson "did a great job of running things," Hardy, who is now 97 years old, told Fox News Digital.

George Hardy flew with the 99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, the Tuskegee Airmen, in 1945. He later flew bombers in Korea and fixed-wing gunships in Vietnam. Charles Anderson “did a great job of running things,” Hardy, who is now 97 years old, told Fox News Digital.
(Courtesy CAF Rise Above via U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, Alabama)

“The Anderson-Forsythe long-distance flights attracted worldwide attention and greatly popularized aviation in the African American community,” the African American Registry reports on its website.

“Much of their navigation on the journey was done by reading a simple roadmap. The daring pair also made a long-distance flight to Canada. They later staged an elaborate Pan American Goodwill Tour of the Caribbean in their plane, ‘The Spirit of Booker T. Washington.’”

The Tuskegee Institute hired Anderson to head its Civilian Pilot Training program in 1940.

Soon the Army was calling on Tuskegee and Anderson to head its training program for Black military pilots. 

“I had the fun of going up in one of the tiny training planes with the head instructor.” — first lady Eleanor Roosevelt

Anderson in March 1941 unexpectedly found one of the most famous people in the world as a passenger. 

“We went out to the aviation field, where a Civil Aeronautics unit for the teaching of colored pilots is in full swing,” first lady Eleanor Roosevelt wrote on April 1, 1941, in her nationally syndicated “My Day” column. 

“They have advanced training here, and some of the students went up and did acrobatic flying for us. These boys are good pilots. I had the fun of going up in one of the tiny training planes with the head instructor, and seeing this interesting countryside from the air.”

The brief encounter of flying Mrs. Roosevelt over Alabama made Anderson one of the most famous pilots in America. It also helped forge a national reputation for the Tuskegee Airmen — a reputation that would soon be steeled under fire in the skies over Europe. 

The Red Tails’ ‘box score’

Anderson’s Tuskegee Airmen arrived in Europe in the spring of 1943. The famed 332nd Fighter Group was based in Ramatelli, Italy.  

The Tuskegee Airmen quickly proved that Black pilots were more than fit for combat. 

The U.S. Army Air Corps 332nd Fighter Group, more commonly known as the Tuskegee Airmen, flew P-51 Mustang fighter planes with distinct red tails to signify their unit. 

The U.S. Army Air Corps 332nd Fighter Group, more commonly known as the Tuskegee Airmen, flew P-51 Mustang fighter planes with distinct red tails to signify their unit. 
(Tuskegee University Archives)

Their main mission was to escort Allied bombers in raids over German targets across Europe — dangerous missions flown in the face of anti-aircraft fire from the ground and attacks from enemy fighter planes in the air.

“The Tuskegee Airmen flew more than 15,000 sorties between May 1943 and June 1945,” reports the National World War II Museum.

“Bomber crews often requested to be escorted by these ‘Red Tails.'” 

“The Red Tails destroyed or damaged 409 German aircraft; 739 locomotives and train cars; 40 barges and boats; even one enemy destroyer.” — U.S. Air Force

Once-classified documents provided to Fox News Digital by the Air Force Historical Research Agency show the “box scores for the Red Tails” — a trail of destruction of Nazi forces left by the Tuskegee Airmen. 

The Red Tails destroyed or damaged 409 German aircraft in the air (136) or on the ground (273); 739 locomotives and other train cars damaged or destroyed; 40 barges and boats; even one enemy warship, a destroyer. 

Tuskegee airmen exiting the parachute room, Ramitelli, Italy, in March 1945. Left to right, Richard S. "Rip" Harder, Brooklyn, New York; unidentified airman; Thurston L. Gaines, Jr., Freeport, New York; Newman C. Golden, Cincinnati, Ohio; Wendell M. Lucas, Fairmont Heights, Maryland. Photo by Toni Frissell Collection (Library of Congress).

Tuskegee airmen exiting the parachute room, Ramitelli, Italy, in March 1945. Left to right, Richard S. “Rip” Harder, Brooklyn, New York; unidentified airman; Thurston L. Gaines, Jr., Freeport, New York; Newman C. Golden, Cincinnati, Ohio; Wendell M. Lucas, Fairmont Heights, Maryland. Photo by Toni Frissell Collection (Library of Congress).
(Tuskegee University Archives)

The Tuskegee Airmen faced perhaps their most daunting challenge on March 25, 1945, escorting American bombers all the way from Italy to Berlin. It was a dangerous mission of nearly 1,000 miles each way.

The American air armada was attacked that day by German ME-262 aircraft — the world’s first jet fighters. They were faster and more maneuverable than anything in the Army Air Corps. 

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“We couldn’t keep up with them,” Hardy, the 97-year-old Tuskegee Airman, told Fox News Digital.

Still, his unit of prop planes shot down three German jet fighters that day.

A German Messerschmitt 262A-1 jet-propelled fighter at the Rheinmain Airport, near Frankfurt, Germany, 1945. The Tuskegee Airmen shot down three ME-262s in their raid over Berlin in Mach 1945, despite its superior speed and dexterity. The first jet-propelled plane captured intact, it was flown over Allied lines and surrendered by its pilot who was supposed to be testing it at the time. 

A German Messerschmitt 262A-1 jet-propelled fighter at the Rheinmain Airport, near Frankfurt, Germany, 1945. The Tuskegee Airmen shot down three ME-262s in their raid over Berlin in Mach 1945, despite its superior speed and dexterity. The first jet-propelled plane captured intact, it was flown over Allied lines and surrendered by its pilot who was supposed to be testing it at the time. 
(PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

One of the men on the Berlin mission, Colonel Benjamin O. Davis Jr., went on to become the first brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force (formed from the Army Air Corps in 1947). 

His father, Benjamin O. Davis Sr., had already broken down barriers as the first brigadier general in the U.S. Army. 

Just 66 Tuskegee Airmen were lost in combat in World War II. 

Despite the carnage inflicted on enemy forces, just 66 Tuskegee Airmen were lost in combat in World War II. 

“They had one of the lowest loss records of any escort fighter group,” says the National World War II Museum. 

Tuskegee’s daring fighter pilots draw all the popular acclaim today, but were only one part of the story. 

A once-classified "box score" shows the deadly effect on German forces inflicted by the Tuskegee Airmen "Red Tails."

A once-classified “box score” shows the deadly effect on German forces inflicted by the Tuskegee Airmen “Red Tails.”
(Air Force Historical Research Agency)

A mere 552 Tuskegee Airmen flew fighter planes in World War II, yet 14,000 served — among them bomber crews, reconnaissance plane pilots, grounds crew and various other support staff, notes Tuskegee Airmen historian Haulman. 

“Americans should remember Chief Anderson as somebody who personally demonstrated the potential of Black pilots and who was also instrumental in training the Tuskegee Airmen to fly,” he said. 

Legacy of American unity

Charles Alfred “Chief” Anderson died on April 13, 1996, in Tuskegee. He was 89 years old. He’s buried in Greenwood Cemetery.

“Remaining in Tuskegee after the war, Anderson continued to provide flight instruction at Moton Field, which remains an active airport and is the location of the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site,” reports the Encyclopedia of Alabama. 

Tuskegee Airmen instructor Charles Alfred "Chief" Anderson was honored with a stamp by the U.S. Postal Service in 2014.

Tuskegee Airmen instructor Charles Alfred “Chief” Anderson was honored with a stamp by the U.S. Postal Service in 2014.
(United States Postal Service)

“In 1967, Anderson co-founded Negro Aviation International, an association for Black pilots.”

He joined the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame in 1991. Moton Field, where hundreds of war pilots learned to fly under his tutelage, is now Tuskegee Moton Field Municipal Airport. 

“This historical landmark is a rich backdrop to a modern, state-of-the-art facility providing top-notch training and education, while serving as an economic engine for the region,” says the City of Tuskegee online.

Tales of the Tuskegee Airmen will be told to future generations. 

Anderson lived long enough to see the story of the men he introduced to flying immortalized in the 1995 movie “The Tuskegee Airmen,” starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Lawrence Fishburne. 

The dramatic silver screen tale brought the exploits of the Red Tail warriors to a new generation of grateful Americans. They’ve since been honored in many other depictions in books and on screen

The United States Postal Service issued a stamp in Anderson’s honor at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Alabama in 2014. 

Tuskegee Airman and retired Lt. Col. George Hardy with children at Robert L. Taylor Community Complex in Sarasota, Florida, in 2013. 

Tuskegee Airman and retired Lt. Col. George Hardy with children at Robert L. Taylor Community Complex in Sarasota, Florida, in 2013. 
(Courtesy CAF Rise Above via U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, Alabama)

Tales of the Tuskegee Airmen will be told to future generations. 

Lt. Col. Hardy recently returned from Hollywood, where he was recorded in digital detail for a pending exhibit at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

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“We worked together and we depended on each other,” said Hardy. “I listened to my instructors, I learned a lot and did the best I could. I think I was successful. The group was successful.” 

“The U.S. military was fully integrated 1948, just three years after his Tuskegee Airmen flew their final combat mission.”

Anderson’s greatest contribution to the nation was helping prove old stereotypes wrong. 

The U.S. military was fully integrated 1948, just three years after his Tuskegee Airmen flew their final combat mission. 

The military today may provide the most accurate depiction of the American people — more diverse than the halls of Congress, more integrated than the ivory towers of academia. 

Minnesota, South St Paul. Fleming Field Minnesota Wing CAF Air Show, North American P-51C Tuskegee Airmen Red Tail and T-34C Turbo Mentor. 

Minnesota, South St Paul. Fleming Field Minnesota Wing CAF Air Show, North American P-51C Tuskegee Airmen Red Tail and T-34C Turbo Mentor. 
(Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

“What made the Tuskegee Airmen ultimately succeed was the ability to overcome the obstacles they faced with hard work and dedication,” LaVone Kay, spokesperson for Commemorative Air Force Rise Above, told Fox News Digital. 

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Her organization is devoted to providing American children with life lessons through the example of Anderson’s Red Tail fighters of World War II.  

“Life can be unfair,” she added. “But if children believe in themselves, stay focused and work hard, they will overcome obstacles and achieve excellence, just like the Tuskegee Airmen.”

To read more stories in this unique “Meet the American Who…” series from Fox News Digital, click here

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