Criticism of the 99th's overseas combat record was instantaneous and virulent. After only a few months in combat, the Commander of the 12th Air Support Command assailed the performance of the Black pilots. "Officers of all professions,” he said, felt that "the Negro type has not the proper reflexes to make a first-class fighter pilot.” Time magazine questioned the 99th's performance and asked: "Experiment Proved?" After a stateside controversy and a Senate hearing, the experiment was given additional time - but on a larger scale. The all-Black 332nd Fighter Group was sent overseas also for combat.

The pressure to succeed had become enormous and the implication was very obvious: The performance of the 99th and the 332nd in combat would determine the future role of Blacks in the military. "The Enemy Within" was still there.