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Tuskegee Fighter Pilot, the late Lt. Leon ‘Woodie” Spears was born in Colorado in 1924. He earned his wings on June 24, 1944 with the class of 44F at Tuskegee, Alabama. He was an original "Red Tail" serving with the 301st Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group.
|Ed. note:The Allies called these airmen "Red tails" or "Red tail Angels," because of the distinctive crimson paint applied on the vertical stabilizers of the unit's aircraft.|
This interview is a edited question/answer piece that was published in Air Classic magazine in 1999. No known photo existed of Mr. Spears whole aircraft called “KITTEN” until this cropped Toni Frissell photograph was discovered. The illustration is the result of a in-depth interview with “Woodie” as he had described his aircraft to me. I also interviewed Charles McGee concerning this same aircraft that he also flew. Please note that when the 302nd Fighter Squadron was disbanded, all the aircraft went to the remaining squadrons. Kitten was picked up by Mr. Spears at a sub-depot station. The aircraft squadron markings were revised and a new “buzz” number was assigned.