“The Last Hurrah” Tuskegee Airmen the First Top Guns

by Harry T. Stewart, Jr.

The first continental United State Air Force (USAF) fighter gunnery competition began May 2, 1949, and was hosted by Las Vegas AFB (now Nellis AFB). St the time, the Air Force chief of staff planned to make the fighter gunnery meet an annual competition. As it turned out, it was to become equivalent to the United States Navy’s “Top Gun” competition.

The history of this fighter gunnery competition is told in “The Last Hurrah” by Harry T. Stewart, Jr. who was one of the pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group participating in the competition. After winning the competition the record and trophy were mysteriously lost until Mr. Stewart began to research why the Air Force Almanac list the winner of the 1949 fighter gunnery competition as unknown. The record was corrected in 1995, however the trophy remained missing until 2004, when it was discovered at the United States Air Force Museum