This week the movie "Red Tails" makes its debut at the box office. By comparison, the story of The Haitian Tuskegee Airmen is virtually unknown. Not many people know that Haitian men were recruited to be pilots and to fight in WWII. One intriguing event involving a Haitian Tuskegee pilot is the story of Alix Pasquet, who laid siege on the Casernes Dessalines in an attempt to dislodge Haitian dictator Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier.
The whole dramatic story unfolds on the Fort Dimanche website. "[A] summary was sent to Fordi 9 in remembrance of the 48th anniversary of the events that took place on that day [July 28, 1958]. Submitted by Frantz Haspil"
A group of former Haitian military officers headed by Lieutenant Alix Pasquet gathered in Miami . On or about July 25, 1957, the group set sails on board a yacht called “Molly C” heading toward Haiti. On board were former Lieutenants Alix “Sonson” Pasquet, Henri “Riquet” Perpignan and Phillipe “Fito” Dominique (the brother in law of Pasquet). Accompanying them were five American soldiers of fortune whose names were: Arthur Payne (the leader), Dany Jones, Levant Kersten, Robert F. Hickey and Joe D. Walker (the boat captain). The Haitian officers had all been assigned while in the Army to either the Casernes Dessalines, or the National Palace and thus were very familiar with those two areas.
The Casernes Dessalines is a military barracks built in 1912, located behind the National Palace, which housed the 18th Battalion of the Haitian Armed Forces. The National Palace housed its own garrison called the Presidential Guard, mainly considered a ceremonial unit.
And since these officers had left the country some months earlier, they were confident that with the help of the soldiers they once had in their command, and the help of other officers still in the military, they could seize the moment, create an uprising and overthrow the Duvalier regime.Read a full and dramatic account of the siege of Casernes Dessalines by Luitenant Alix Pasquet and the heart wrenching stories the victims of the Duvalier dictatorship at Fordi9.com.