Staff Sergeant William Accoo of the 15th Air Force cleans a P-51 Mustang. Printed caption on reverse is damage: 'BIPPA, EA 35888. U.S. Mustang Flyers At Italian Base. Staff Sergeant William Accoo of Salen[sic], New Jersey, crew chief in a Negro group of the 15th U.S. Air Force, washes down the PP-51 Mustang fighter plane of his pilot with soap and water... to give it more speed. Mediterranean... Forces Photo PRO-HQ-44-2384. Serviced... London OWI (Inner... Certified... Passed by SHAEF Censor....' Printed caption also attached to reverse: '(CCU Photo). Competition is great among individual crew chiefs of the all Negro P-51 Mustang Fighter Group of the 15th Air Force in Italy, and it's never more evident than in this picture which shows S/Sgt. Wm. Accoo, 358 Keasby St., Salem, N.J., washing his plane down with soap and water. After this he will wax it.' On reverse: Mediterranean Allied Air Forces Photo and Crown Copyright [Stamps].
William Accoo fought with distinction for the 332nd Fighter Group, 99th Fighter Squadron during its World War II campaigns in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. For his service he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor in 2007 by Congressman Frank LoBiondoin Salem.
In the 1963 he was sworn in as Salem city's first black councilman, a position he held until 1966.
Units served with
The United States entered World War II with a military that was segregated by race and remained segregated until 1948. War Department planners generally placed White and African-American Army personnel in separate units during World War II.
The 99th was originally formed as the Army Air Force's first African American fighter squadron, then known the 99th Pursuit Squadron. The personnel received their initial flight training at Tuskegee, Alabama earning them the nickname Tuskegee Airmen....
||14 October 1914
||Salem, NJ, USA
||1914 – 2008
Exact dates not yet known
||27 August 2008