On July 2, 1943 Lt. Charles B. Hall and his squadron were escorting U.S bombers over Sicily, Italy when a German fighter plane was sighted. It was then that Lt. Charles B. Hall became the first African-American to take down an enemy aircraft during WW II. What was his reward for his extreme bravery you ask… Well his squadron handed him an ice cold Coca-Cola to celebrate.
It was then that Robert Woodruff promised that any uniformed soldier should be able to enjoy the taste of home with an ice-cold Coca-Cola. It did not matter what his location or cost to the company was. Mr. Woodruff wanted all of the U.S soldiers to stay connected to home.
Towards the end of WW II Lt. Hall was promoted to Major and became the first African-American to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. During his career he flew close to 200 combat missions. Close to the end of his military career Lt. Hall did a year long war bond drive, after which he moved to Oklahoma City and worked at Tinker Air Force Base. He went on to work at the Federal Aviation Administration.
Lt. Hall was one of 43 pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen. They formed the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Forces. The Pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group flew P-47’s, they painted the tails of their planes Red and were deemed the “Red Tails”. The pilots also had other red markings for their aircrafts such as red bands on the noses of the P51’s along with a red rudder. The P51B and the D Mustangs also had similar markings including red propeller spinners.
It is with great honor that Coca-Cola and MCLB of Albany, Ga celebrate Lt. Charles B. Hall and the heroic men of the Tuskegee Airman.