By Jeremy Paul Amick
James Shipley came of age in the once segregated, rural community of Tipton, Missouri. When just a young man working for a local mechanic, a chance meeting at his local post office in the early 1940s inspired his enlistment in the 301st Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group—an all-black organization that would go on to earn the famed moniker of both “Redtails” and “Tuskegee Airmen” during the Second World War. As a mechanic with the 332nd, this book highlights Shipley’s time in training in the United States, follows him through his service at airfields in Italy and his return home after the end of the war. Previous works on the Tuskegee Airmen have often focused on the experience of the pilots and officers who served in the 332nd, but rarely provides insight into the integral contributions of the enlisted mechanics such as Shipley. Together as One shares of the story of Shipley and the unspoken heroes, recording their dedication to the aviation success of the Tuskegee Airmen even when they had to live and work within a military framework that once denied them some of the very freedoms for which they fought.