History of Detachment 015 - Home of the Tuskegee Airmen

Detachment 015 is comprised of the 15th Cadet Wing, Air Force active duty Cadre, and 3 cadet organizations, Detachment 015 is located at historic Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. The history of Detachment 015 can be traced all the way back to the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen as the home of the 99th Pursuit Squadron. The standards at the detachment are very high and living up to these standards makes the detachment one in which the campus and community can be proud of. Detachment 015 recruits, educates, trains, selects and commissions reserve officer-training candidates through detailed college programs. The Detachment provides academic instruction on many different aspects that comprise a future Air Force officer. Detachment 015 receives strong support from the university and the community. This is based upon Detachment 015s historic heritage.

Our history can be traced back to the famed 99th Pursuit Squadron through many of today's black military officers. Many of America's famed black officers either began their careers here or their careers allowed them to pass through the detachment. The list of alumni consists of general officers, lieutenants, teachers, businesspersons, lawyers, doctors as well as scholars. These people have represented Detachment 015 in and out of their active duty military careers.

The history of Detachment 015 begins when a junior unit, Infantry ROTC, was established at Tuskegee Institute in February 1919. Capt. Russell Smith, Infantry, was detailed to duty as Professor of Military Science and Tactics (PMS&T), with one commissioned officer and three enlisted assistants. All male students over fourteen years of age and physically fit were required to enroll in the unit. Military instruction was from 4 to 5 p.m. three days per week.

Lt. Col. B.O. Davis Sr. reported in 1920 for duty as PMS&T and relieved Capt. Smith, who became Assistant PMS&T. Because there was no available replacement for Brig. Gen. Davis Sr. upon completion of his tour of duty as PMS&T, the junior unit was discontinued in 1924. The school continued military training for qualified students under the provisions of paragraph 55-C, national Defense Act. Certain members of the Commandant's staff who had served in the Army during World War I were designated as instructors. In 1933, the junior infantry unit, ROTC, was re-established under the command of Col. B.O. Davis, Sr., former PMS&T. The War department detailed 1st Lt. B.O. Davis, Jr. to Tuskegee Institute as PMS&T during school year 1939-1940.

The Air Force ROTC program had its beginning under the command of Lt. Col. Barrow, Infantry, PMS&T, during the school year 1946-1947. Fourteen advance course students made up the first class of Air Force ROTC cadets. The first Professor of Aerospace Studies was commanded by Lt. Col. George S. Roberts. The Air Force ROTC students trained with the Army ROTC in field work and general military subjects. Those subjects of a purely Air Force nature were taught separately.