They rose from adversity, through Competence, Courage, Commitment and Capacity to serve America on Silver Wings and to set a standard few will transcend.
Denice Rackley KCET.org
July 18, 2019
This above message is inscribed beneath the Tuskegee Airmen statue at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. These words speak to the dedication of all who had a hand in the hard-fought success of the Tuskegee Airmen.
The Beginning of the Tuskegee Airmen
At the height of a tumultuous time in history, men stepped forward to serve in WWII. Black men had served in the military before WWII but had not been allowed to become pilots. Desperately needing pilots, the U.S. government-sponsored the Civilian Pilot Training Program. Partnering with over a thousand colleges and flight schools, the government paid for the ground and flight school instruction while the colleges provided the instructors. The goal was to turn 20,000 college students into pilots, but black men were not considered at first.
Even though black men served as pilots for France in WWl, the pervasive thought at that time was that these men were incapable of handling bombers or fighter planes. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), churches and newspaper articles all pressured the government to accept all men into the military in whatever role they were qualified to perform. This pressure led to a separate flight school program in Tuskegee, Alabama for black men interested in becoming pilots.
Training at Tuskegee
While the government did succumb to pressure, allowing the men to go through the training, most people considered the program an "experiment" and expected the men to fail. Few considered black men intelligent or capable enough to become pilots. Unfortunately, these views were held by a majority of military leaders who cited a biased 1925 U.S. Army War College study that stated, “Blacks are mentally inferior, by nature subservient and cowards in the face of danger. They are unfit for combat.” President Roosevelt issued the Selective Training and Service Act in 1940, which included a bill that “ended discrimination” in the army, but not segregation.
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By Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris February 26, 2019
Tuskegee Airman posthum ously honored after decades MIA
SUMMIT, N.J. -- As Black History Month draws to a close, so does the mystery of U.S. Army Air Forces Capt. Lawrence E. Dickson, a Tuskegee Airman declared missing in action after his plane crashed in Europe in December 1944.
Dickson's remains were identified in November 2018 using the latest DNA tests, making him the first to be identified out of more than two-dozen Tuskegee Airmen declared MIA during World War II.
Brig. Gen. Twanda E. Young, deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army's Human Resources Command, recognized Dickson's service Feb. 24 during a ceremony at the Fountain Baptist Church here.
"I stand before you deeply honored and humbled to represent the United States Army, as well as all African-American service members across all military services and those who have long served before me, to commemorate and acknowledge the honorable service rendered by Capt. Lawrence E. Dickson in service to a grateful nation," Young said.
"Capt. Lawrence Dickson shaped my future, which affords me the distinct honor of being one of a few African-American female general officers serving in the United States Army," she added.
During the ceremony, Young presented Dickson's Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal, American Campaign Medal, Europe-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and Honorable Service Lapel Button to Marla L. Andrews, Dickson's daughter.
"I feel happy that we're able to do this this morning here with you, because the things that are most important to us are better shared," said Andrews, who as two years old when her father died.
"These medals represent a part of our history, along with the Tuskegee Airmen's perseverance and determination, coupled with the courage and legacy of Capt. Lawrence Dickson," Young said. "The country called, and Capt. Dickson answered."
In December 1944, Dickson was a pilot with the 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, in the European Theater, according to a Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency news release. On Dec.23, 1944, Dickson departed Ramitelli Air Base, Italy, on an aerial reconnaissance mission toward Praha, Czechoslovakia.
During his return, Dickson's P-51D aircraft suffered engine failure and was seen to crash along the borders of Italy and Austria. Dickson's remains were not recovered and he was subsequently declared missing in action.
Seventy-three years later, an excavation of a crash site was conducted and recovered remains were sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. To identify Dickson's remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used DNA analysis as well as anthropological analysis, and circumstantial and material evidence.
"The men and women who have given their lives in service to this nation are indisputably heroes," Young said.
Dickson is scheduled to be buried March 22, 2019 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.
7/7/2019 0 Comments
Wednesday, July 3, 2019 https://abc7ny.com
WESTWOOD, New Jersey (WABC) -- A 100-year-old New Jersey veteran was awarded the Tuskegee Airmen Bronze Medal fittingly on the eve of Independence Day.
U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer presented the medal Wednesday to Private Roscoe Draper at his home in Westwood on Wednesday.
A former Tuskegee Airman himself, Private Draper served from 1942 to 1945, where he trained pilots who served in World War II.
"Tuskegee Airmen" refers to all who were involved in the "Tuskegee Experience," the Army Air Corps program to train African-Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft at a time when the military was highly segregated. Despite virulent discrimination and segregation, the Tuskegee Airmen went on to become some of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II.
"Private Draper has lived a remarkable life and his service to our country is an example to us all," Gottheimer said. "He embodies so much that is great about our country. Despite facing intense discrimination, Private Draper stepped up and served our country during World II, protected our democracy and freedom, and we are so much better for it. I am incredibly grateful for Private Draper's service and the opportunity to afford him the recognition he so truly deserves."
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