Topics -African-American Contributions
to the Korean War

African-Americans in Service to Their Country During the Korean War


Most recent update to this page: February 25, 2022

This page of the Korean War Educator was made possible with
 a substantial contribution from Sheila Kronenberger of Illinois
and a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council.
 


Page Contents:

 


Back to Page Contents

Introduction

[KWE Note: This introduction was taken from the US Government's 50th Anniversary of the Korean War Fact Sheet.  Also note: This page is not comprehensive, in spite of the KWE's best efforts.  (The government did not differentiate race in casualty or valor records.)  The accomplishments of several African-Americans listed on this page were found on the excellent website www.blackpast.org.
To add information to this KWE page and help it grow in a meaningful and correct way, contact lynnita@thekwe.org.]

African-Americans served in all combat and combat service elements during the Korean War and were involved in all major combat operations, including the advance of United Nations Forces to the Chinese border. In June 1950, almost 100,000 African-Americans were on active duty in the U.S. armed forces, equaling about 8 percent of total manpower. By the end of the war, probably more than 600,000 African-Americans had served in the military.

Changes in the United States, the growth of black political power and the U.S. Defense Department's realization that African-Americans were being underutilized because of racial prejudice led to new opportunities for African-Americans serving in the Korean War. In October 1951, the all-black 24th Infantry Regiment, a unit established in 1869, which had served during the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II and the beginning of the Korean War, was disbanded, essentially ending segregation in the U.S. Army. In the last two years of the Korean War throughout the services, hundreds of blacks held command positions, were posted to elite units such as combat aviation and served in a variety of technical military specialties. Additionally, more blacks than may have done so in a segregated military, chose to stay in the armed forces after the war because of the improved social environment, financial benefits, educational opportunities and promotion potential.

African-American servicemen distinguished themselves in combat during the ground battles with the North Korean Army and in the air war over Korea. On July 21, 1950, a battalion combat team commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Pierce Jr., composed of three infantry companies and an engineer company, recaptured Yech'on.

The action, which received national attention in the United States, was considered the first significant successful offensive operation by the U.S. Army in the war. Captain Charles Bussey, commander of the engineer company, was awarded the Silver Star for having prevented a flanking operation by a North Korean battalion during the battle. Bussey's platoon-size unit killed more than 250 enemy soldiers. Captain Bussey's bravery inspired his regiment and exemplified the preparedness and leadership capabilities of African-American soldiers.

Heroes in the Air War

In 1950, the Air Force had 25 black pilots in integrated fighter squadrons led by Captain Daniel "Chappie" James Jr., who was assigned to the 36th Squadron, 5th Air Force. Captain James was an exceptional fighter pilot who often flew his F-86 Sabre jet on dangerous, unarmed reconnaissance missions behind enemy lines -- a task reserved for a select group of the most able and trusted flyers. James flew 101 combat missions in Korea and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross before being reassigned stateside.

Second Lieutenant Frank E. Peterson Jr., was the first black Marine Corps pilot. Peterson flew 64 combat missions before the war ended. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and six Air Medals in the final months of the Korean War.

Ensign Jesse L. Brown, the Navy's first African-American fighter pilot to die in combat, was shot down while providing close-air support for units of the 7th Marines during the Chosin Reservoir breakout in December 1950. Brown was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for performing dangerous combat actions that resulted in his fatal crash. In March 1972, Brown's widow christened a Knox-class ocean escort ship the USS Jesse Brown.

Of the more than 600,000 African-Americans who served in the armed forces during the Korean War, it is estimated that more than 5,000 died in combat. Because casualty records compiled by the services in the 1950s did not differentiate by race, the exact number of blacks killed in action in Korea cannot be determined.


Back to Page Contents

Executive Order 9981

This order, signed by President Truman, ended racial segregation in the United States armed forces.

Executive Order 9981
July 26, 1948

Establishing the President's Committee on Equity of
Treatment and Opportunity In the Armed Forces.

WHEREAS it is essential that there be maintained in the armed services of the United States the highest standards of democracy, with equality of treatment and opportunity for all those who serve in our country's defense:

NOW THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, by the Constitution and the statutes of the United States, and as Commander in Chief of the armed services, it is hereby ordered as follows:

  1. It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin. This policy shall be put into effect as rapidly as possible, having due regard to the time required to effectuate any necessary changes without impairing efficiency or morale.
     
  2. There shall be created in the National Military Establishment an advisory committee to be known as the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services, which shall be composed of seven members to be designated by the President.
     
  3. The Committee is authorized on behalf of the President to examine into the rules, procedures and practices of the Armed Services in order to determine in what respect such rules, procedures and practices may be altered or improved with a view to carrying out the policy of this order. The Committee shall confer and advise the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Air Force, and shall make such recommendations to the President and to said Secretaries as in the judgment of the Committee will effectuate the policy hereof.
     
  4. All executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Committee in its work, and to furnish the Committee such information or the services of such persons as the Committee may require in the performance of its duties.
     
  5. When requested by the Committee to do so, persons in the armed services or in any of the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall testify before the Committee and shall make available for use of the Committee such documents and other information as the Committee may require.
     
  6. The Committee shall continue to exist until such time as the President shall terminate its existence by Executive order.

Harry Truman
The White House


Back to Page Contents

African-American Firsts

Individual Korean War veterans [served in Korea and throughout the world]:

  • Biggs, Bradley - Lt. Colonel Biggs was born in Newark, New Jersey.  He enlisted in the Army after high school. He was the first African-American soldier accepted into the Army's elite paratrooper unit.  He was a member of the 555th Paratroop Division in Korea.  This unit was an all-black unit that was assigned particularly dangerous combat missions.  He authored the book, The Triple Nickles.  He was a founding Dean at Middlesex Community College.  Colonel Biggs held several positions at the college over the next decade, including Dean of Faculty and Dean of Administration. Subsequently, Colonel Biggs served as the State of Connecticut's Deputy Commissioner of Public Works; as C.E.O. of the Boston Housing Authority; and on the faculty of Florida International University in Miami.  He died November 16, 2004.
     
  • Blake, Dr. James A. Sr. - Dr. Blake was the first African-American appointed to the South Carolina State Board of Education, where he served for six years.  In 1974 he was appointed as the first African-American chairman of the board.  Born on August 2, 1930, he received a Bachelor of Science degree from Allen University in 1951 and a Master of Science degree from South Carolina State University in 1961.  He served in the Air Force from 1951 to 1955 and attained the rank of Sergeant.  He was also an Air Force instructor.
     
  • Blount, Capt. Alvin Vincent Jr. - first black physician to serve in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) unit. Blount attended medical school at Howard University during the 1940s in Washington, DC, where he studied under Charles Drew. Drew at the time was a leading medical researcher and also African-American. Drew is famous for his work in the storage and processing of blood for transfusions. He developed large-scale blood banking and managed two large blood banks during World War II. Blount deployed with the 8225th MASH from Fort Bragg in 1952. The 8225 supported the 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood, the 2nd Infantry Division, which was the most decorated division from the Korean War, the 24th Infantry Division from Fort Riley, and the 25th Infantry Division from Hawaii. Blount would earn the Korean War Service Medal for his service as a surgeon.  The 8225 set up about 10 miles from the 38th Parallel. MASH units were usually positioned as close as possible to the front to provide quick access for the wounded to surgical care but beyond the reach of enemy artillery. The 8225 had up to four surgical tables in operation simultaneously, and in a typical week might see about 90 surgical cases. Medical staff of the 8225 deserve great credit for their success rate; during one documented period of 1,936 admissions, only 11 deaths were reported, which is a survival rate of almost 99.5 percent. During Blount's tour, the chief of surgery became ill and was unable to perform his duties. The MASH commander named Blount chief of surgery during the illness.
     
  • Branch, Frederick - In 1945, Second Lieutenant Frederick Branch became the first African- American officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. Born in North Carolina, in 1922, he graduated from Temple University in 1947 with a degree in physics. Branch developed the science program for Philadelphia’s Murrell Dobbins High School and taught for 35 years, but World War II interrupted his education. Branch fought in the South Pacific in 1943, followed by officer training. He served in Korea but resigned in 1955 due to the limited opportunities for advancement. Captain Branch was recognized for his role in desegregation of the armed forces. The U.S. Senate passed a resolution honoring his landmark commission in 1995, he received an NAACP award, and a building at Quantico’s Officer Candidate School is named for him. Branch died April 10, 2005, and is buried at Quantico National Cemetery (Section 17, Grave 472). [Source: www.cem.va.gov]
     
  • Brashear, Carl Maxie -  First African-American Navy diver.  "Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate Carl Brashear grew up on a farm in Kentucky as part of a sharecropper family. After being educated in segregated schools, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1948 and underwent recruit training at Great Lakes, IL. After initial duty as a steward, he began handling aircraft for squadron VX-1 at Key West, FL, and was subsequently rated as a boatswain's mate. He served on the escort carriers Palau (CVE-122) and Tripoli (CVE-64) and began taking training in salvage diving. In 1954, Brashear completed U.S. Navy Diving & Salvage training becoming the first African-American to attend and graduate from the school and the first African-American U.S. Navy diver. Other duties were on USS Opportune (ARS-41); Naval Air Station Quonset Point, where he escorted President Dwight Eisenhower; Ship Repair Facility Guam; Deep-Sea Diving School; the submarine tender Nereus (AS-17), and Fleet Training Center Pearl Harbor. He also had temporary duty with Joint Task Force Eight for nuclear tests in the Pacific. He served on USS Coucal (ASR-8), USS Shakori (ATF-162), and USS Hoist (ARS-40). While on board the latter in 1966 for the recovery of a nuclear weapon off Spain, Brashear was badly injured in an accident. As a result, surgeons amputated his left leg below the knee. He refused to submit to the medical survey board’s attempt to retire him as unfit for duty. After demonstrating that he could still dive and perform his other duties, he was assigned to Harbor Clearance Unit 2, Naval Air Station Norfolk, Experimental Diving Unit, the submarine tender Hunley (AS-31); USS Recovery (ARS-43), Naval Safety Center; and Shore Intermediate Maintenance Activity Norfolk. In 1970, as an amputee, he qualified as the first African-American master diver in the history of the U.S. Navy." [Source: Naval History and Heritage Command]  Brashear was born January 19, 1931 and died July 25, 2006.
     
  • Brown, Jesse L. - Jesse L. Brown Jr. was a sharecropper’s son from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He entered the aviation midshipman program after graduating through an NROTC scholarship from Ohio State, and in 1948 became the first African-American naval aviator.  He was also the first black naval aviator to die in combat in the Korean War.  Information about Jesse Brown is located all over the Internet.
     
  • Buchanan, Carl - A member of Class 55-F Warrant Officer Candidate School at Camp Ruckers, he served as a helicopter pilot in Korea and Vietnam.  He was the first African-American commander to pilot a United States President in his helicopter (Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Ford).  He retired as a CW4 after 26 years of military service.  He joined Oasis Aviation, Inc. in 1978 and was promoted to president of the company in 1987.
     
  • Carruthers, Jacob H. Jr. - He was among the first six African-American attendees of the University of Texas School of Law, and one of two that served in the military during the Korean War.  He enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean War, serving stateside.  After his discharge he became a leading expert in classical African civilizations at Northeastern State College (now Northeastern Illinois University). Born in 1930, he died in 2004.
     
  • Cheatham, Eugene Calvin - Eugene Calvin Cheatham, Jr. was one of the Tuskegee Airmen and a career officer in the United States Air Force.
    Cheatham was born in Georgia on August 27, 1915. His father was an Episcopal missionary whose work took the family to Africa and Europe. While living in New York City, he became a Boy Scout and by 1930 he had completed the requirements for Eagle Scout. Unable to afford a full uniform, he never appeared before his board of review. Cheatham was a fighter pilot with the 332nd Fighter Group— better known as the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. He flew 150 missions during the Korean War. He achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel and retired in 1977. He then worked as a personnel and equal-opportunity officer for the Air Force, serving in Japan, Montana and San Bernardino, California. In 2001, Cheatham attended a Veterans Day event where he expressed his regret at not earning Eagle Scout to one of the organizers who happened to be an Eagle Scout. Executives from International Profit Associates petitioned the National Council of the BSA to award Cheatham's Eagle Scout. Unable to locate records, the Scouts tested Cheatham and performed an exhaustive board of review according to the requirements of 1930. On September 18, 2004 Cheatham was awarded his Eagle Scout in a ceremony at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. Cheatham died on May 10, 2005 from pancreatic cancer and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. [Source: Findagrave]


Fred Vann Cherry
(Click picture for a larger view)

  • Cherry, Fred Vann - founder of the Cherry Engineering Support Services.  Born on March 24, 1928 in Suffolk, Virginia, Cherry graduated from Virginia Union University, Richmond. He entered the Air Force in October of 1951. After flight training he served in Korea, conducting 52 combat missions. He was the 43rd American and first African-American captured in the Vietnam War. He endured three weeks of torture at the "Hanoi Hilton". He retired from the Air Force after 30 years service in 1981. In 1992 he founded Cherry Engineering Support Services, the company that designed and developed equipment for traffic control.
     
  • Colbert, James Clifton "Mandy" - Pfc. Colbert was 22 years old and serving in the 24th Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, when he was killed in action in Korea on April 24, 1951.  The son of Elizabeth Colbert of Annapolis, Maryland, he was born May 07, 1928.  He graduated from Bates High School in 1945,  He received an athletic scholarship to North Carolina A&T State University.  After graduation he enlisted in the Army, trained at Fort Dix, and went to Europe with occupying forces.  The 24th Regiment was a segregated army unit under white command.  He was the first casualty of the Korean War buried in Annapolis National Cemetery.
     
  • Conyers, John Jr. - A civil rights champion from Detroit, Michigan, John Conyers was the first black Democratic leader on the House Judiciary Committee.  He was a co-sponsor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Act and co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus.  He was the longest-serving African-American member of Congress.  Conyers joined the Army in August of 1950 and became a 2nd Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers.  After serving in Korea he was discharged in 1954. He was born May 16, 1929 in Detroit, Michigan, and died in 2019 at the age of 90.
     
  • Culmer, Dave - He enlisted in the Marine Corps on March 28, 1949 and trained at Montford Point.  His 20-year career in the Marine Corps ended when he retired in 1972.  In 1959 Culmer became the first black helicopter crew chief in the Corps while serving at the El Toro air station.
     
  • Davis, Benjamin Oliver Jr. - U.S. Air Force (1912-2002) — The son of Brig. Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Sr., Benjamin O. Davis Jr. was the first African American general in the U.S. Air Force. A 1936 graduate of West Point, he was among the first group of African Americans admitted to the U.S. Army Air Corps. During World War II, he commanded the 99th Pursuit Squadron — the first all-Black American air unit, which flew tactical support missions in the Mediterranean theater — and the 332nd Fighter Group, more famously known as the Tuskegee Airmen. After President Harry S. Truman desegregated the armed forces by executive order in July 1948, Davis helped draft a plan to implement the order. Davis commanded a fighter wing in the Korean War and was promoted to brigadier general in 1954. During the 1950s and 1960s, he held major Air Force command posts in Asia, Europe and the United States. Advanced to four-star rank in 1998, Gen. Davis' military decorations include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal. (Section 2, Grave E-311-RH) [Source: Arlington Cemetery website]
     
  • Dillard, Oliver Williams - Born September 28, 1926, Dillard was the first black black graduate of the National War College in 1965 and the first black general officer in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for intelligence.  He enlisted in the Army in June of 1945 and served in Germany with the 349th Field Artillery Group.  He was commissioned a second lieutenant after graduating from Officer Candidate School.  He was shipped to Gifu, Japan with the 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division and then was sent to battle in Korea.  He was a Vietnam veteran.  He served his country from 1945 to 1980, retiring with the rank of major general.  He died June 16, 2015.
     
  • Dixon, Eustace A. II - Born July 9, 1934 in Brooklyn, New York, Dixon joined the US Army after graduating from high school in 1952.  He served in the Korean War as a radio communications specialist.  After the war he received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (1956) from Brooklyn College; a Master of Arts degree (1977); a PhD (1981) and a Master of Arts degree in music in 1995.  In 1964 he became the first chemical technician for the Campbell Soup Company.  Later he was the first African-American chemist at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in Pennsylvania.  He also served in the Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station at the Navy Yard.  Furthermore, he served as an Industrial Hygienist at the Navy Yard.  He investigated workplace causes of cancer, published books on environmental health; wrote over 200 songs during his lifetime, and served as a volunteer at homeless shelters and as a volunteer carpenter at Habitat for Humanity.  He died January 13, 2000 in Palm Coast, Florida.
     
  • Drake, Solomon Louis "Solly" - major league outfielder.  Born October 23, 1930 in Little Rock, Arkansas, Solly began his baseball career in 1948 playing for the Elmwood Giants in the Mandrake League.  He signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1951, served two years in the military 1952-53, and then debuted in the major league with the Chicago Cubs in 1956.  He and his brother Sammy were the first African-American brothers to play in the majors.  He retired from baseball in 1960.
     
  • Duncan, Robert Morton - Duncan was the first African-American to serve on the Ohio State Supreme Court.  In 1971 he was appointed to the U.S. Court of Military Appeals for the armed forces, a position he held for eleven years.  He was the first African-American to hold that position.  Born August 24, 1927 in Urbana, Ohio, he received a Bachelor's degree from Ohio State University in 1948 and a law degree from Moritz College of Law in 1952.  He took time off from his legal career to join the U.S. Army from 1952-1966.  He served in Korea.  Robert Duncan died November 2, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio, at the age of 85.
     
  • Dwight, Edward Joseph (Ed) Jr. - An American sculptor, author and former test pilot, Ed Dwight has created over 129 memorial sculptures and over 18,000 gallery pieces during his art career.  Born September 9, 1933, he was the first African-American to graduate from Bishop Ward High School, a private Catholic high school in Kansas City, Kansas.  He received an Associate of Arts degree in engineering from Kansas City Jr. College in 1953 and joined the Air Force, serving from 1953 to 1966 with the rank of captain.  He was the first African-American to enter the Air Force training program from which NASA selected astronauts.  The fact that he was not selected caused controversy.   In 1957 he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree aeronautical engineering from Arizona State University.  In 1974 he was commissioned to create a statue for the Colorado Capitol Building.  His sculptured pieces involved Blacks and civil rights activists.
     
  • Eure, Dexter Dillard Sr.  - This pioneering black journalist was born in Suffolk, Virginia.  He graduated from high school in Philadelphia in 1942 and then graduated from West Virginia State College with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering.  He was drafted into the Army during the Korean War, stationed first at Fort Hood, Texas, and then in Korea.  After discharge he became a commercial artist and owned an advertising  business.  He got a job in the circulation department of the Boston Globe and held that job from 1963-68.  He became the first black columnist in the history of the Globe.  He retired in 1988.  Dexter Eure fought for civil rights, social justice, and fought against workplace inequality. He died July 2, 2015 in Brighton, Massachusetts.
     
  • Evers, James Charles - Charles Evers was the brother of Medgar Evers, who was shot and killed in the driveway of his home in Jackson, Mississippi in 1963.  Charles was a "wheeler and dealer" who became prosperous in supermarket, liquor store and real estate businesses, among other venues in Mississippi cities.  A graduate of Alcorn A&M (now Alcorn State University), he was elected mayor of Fayette, Mississippi in 1969, the first African-American in a century to hold that office.  He joined the Army in 1941 and served in the Pacific during World War II.  He served one year with his Reserve unit in the Korean War.
     
  • Gibson, Elmer P.  - Chaplain Gibson served in the Army from 1941 to 1957, during World War II and the Korean War.  In Korea he became the division chaplain for the 2nd Infantry Division in 1953.  He was the first African-American Army chaplain of a regular, non-segregated combat division in history.  After military service Dr. Gibson became the seventh president of HBCU Morristown College in Morristown, Tennessee.  He held that position from 1959 to 1969.
     
  • Gittens, Charles LeRoy - He became the Secret Service Agency's first African-American deputy assistant director for the Office of Inspection.  For further information about Gittens see the Male African-Americans of Note section.
     
  • Gourdin, Edward O. - He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College in 1921 and a Bachelor of Laws from Harvard School of Law in 1924.  He was the first man in history to long jump 25 feet and the first African-American to win a silver medal in the Olympics in the long jump.  He enlisted in the National Guard in 1925 and signed up for World War II with the 372nd Infantry Regiment, a segregated unit.  He gained the rank of Colonel and held it until he was discharged in 1957.  He rejoined the National Guard until 1959.  He retired with the rank of Brigadier General--the first African-American to earn that rank in Massachusetts.  He was the first African-American to be seated on the Massachusetts Superior Court.
     
  • Graham, Annie E. - A resident of Detroit, Annie Graham was the first African American female to join the United States Marine Corps on September 8, 1949.  She later married.  Annie Graham Gilliand died in July of 3003.
     
  • Gravely, Samuel Lee Jr. - The first African-American graduate of the US Naval Academy in 1949, Gravely was also the first African-American to command a Navy ship; the first African-American to command a fleet; and the first African-American to become an admiral.  He served in the Navy for 38 years from 1942-1980.  During the Korean War he served as a communications officer on the cruiser Toledo.  He died October 22, 2004.
     
  • Gray, George Elbert - This Tuskegee airman, World War II and Korean War veteran was the first black weather officer to be assigned to the Master Air Weather Analysis Service in the Pentagon.  He joined the Tuskegee program on September 17, 1942 and completed the course on May 28, 1943.  Born on October 5, 1920 in Hemphill, West Virginia, he was a captain on the football team of Kimball Negro District High School, Kimball, West Virginia.  George wanted to be a fighter pilot rather than a weatherman.  He received a Distinguished Flying Cross and an Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters during World War II.  While flying F-51D (tail number 44-15236), his plane crashed on its 13th combat mission five miles south of Pyongyang.  He was reported Missing in Action on April 5, 1951 and then declared killed in action.  He was survived by a grieving widow.
     
  • Greason, William Henry - Born September 3, 1924, Greason joined the Marine Corps in 1943 after graduating from high school and trained at Montford Point.  During World War II he served with the all-black 66th Supply Platoon with the 34th Marine Depot Company on Iwo Jima.  He completed his tour with American occupational forces in Japan, stationed at Sasebo and Nagasaki.  When he returned to the States he played two seasons with the semi-pro Atlanta All-Stars football team.  A gifted pitcher, he signed with the Nashville Black Vols in 1947.  In 1948 he helped the Birmingham Black Barons win the Negro American League.  After pitching for the Barons and the Jalisco Charros in the Mexican League, he volunteered to rejoin the Marine Corps during the Korean War.  He was sent to Camp Lejeune where he helped the Corps baseball team win almost every game.  In 1952 he listed his nickname as "Double Duty" because he was a ball player and Marine.  In 1952 he became the first black minor-leaguer to play in Oklahoma with the Triple-A Oklahoma City Indians.  In 1954 he became the first African-American pitcher (93 miles per hour fastball)to play for the St. Louis Cardinals.  He continued to play ball until he retired from the game in 1959 to become a Baptist preacher. 
     
  • Green, Marlon Dewitt - Continental Airlines' first black pilot.  Born June 6, 1929 in El Dorado, Arkansas, Marlon Green joined the Air Force during the Korean War and flew 3,071 hours in multi-engine aircraft.  His last posting was flying SA-16 Albatross with the 26th Air Rescue Squadron at Johnson Air Base in Tokyo.  After leaving the Air Force in 1957, he tried to become a commercial pilot.  The color of his skin was the factor in constantly being denied the job.  What followed was a six-year legal battle against discrimination.  In 1963, he won a U.S. Supreme Court case ("Colorado Anti-Discrimination Commission versus Continental Airlines") that opened opportunities for black commercial pilots.  (The first black pilot for a major US airliner was David Harris, who flew for American Airlines beginning in 1964.)  Marlon Green flew for Continental Airlines from 1965-1978.  He became a captain in 1966.  Green died July 06, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. 
     
  • Grimes, Annie Laurie - The third African-American woman to join the Marine Corps, she trained at Parris Island and then was assigned to Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C. as a supply procurement clerk and later buyer.  Her various duty stations included San Francisco, Philadelphia, Camp Pendleton, Camp Lejeune, Barstow and Hawaii.  Annie Grimes was the first black female Marine Corps officer.  She became a Warrant Officer in 1966 and then in 1969 became a Chief Warrant Officer.  She was also the first African-American female to retire after a 20-year career in the Marine Corps.
     
  • Haley, Alex - Born in Ithaca, New York, Haley authored "Roots: The Saga of an American Family."  He enlisted in the Coast Guard in the late 1940s and became the Coast Guard's first ever Petty Officer First Class with the rating of Journalist.  He held that position until he left the Coast Guard in 1959.
     
  • Hargrove, William J. - Hargrove served 30 years in the military.  He enlisted in 1951 and was a combat engineer in the Korean War (1952-53)He graduated in the 12th WOC class at Camp Ruckers in November 1955 and became an early YH-40 Huey test pilot, rotary-wing instructor, civilian college graduate, aircraft maintenance officer, Presidential support pilot, Vietnam combat aviator, and VIP pilot.  He retired in 1981.  During his service in Korea, Italy and Vietnam he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with 28 Oak Leaf Clusters.
     
  • Harrison, Charles "Chuck" - This prolific industrial designer created 750 designs of everyday objects.  Born on September 23, 1931 in Shreveport, Louisiana, he received a scholarship at the School of the Art Institute (SAIC) in Chicago.  He was drafted into the US Army in 1954 and assigned as a cartographer in West Germany.  He left the military early when he was accepted in the SAIC graduate program for industrial design.  In the late 1950s he redesigned the Model F Viewmaster--one of his most famous designs.  Among his other designs was the first plastic rubbish can and then redesigned it to rectangular form with wheels.  He was hired as Sears, Roebuck & Company as its first black executive in 1961 and retired from Sears in 1993.  He then taught industrial design at the University of Illinois and Columbia College in Chicago.  His biography, A Life's Design, was published in 2005.  He died on November 29, 2018 in Santa Clarita, California. 
     
  • Hill, Bettye - Director of the Leadership Institute at Hampton University.  Bettye Hill was born in San Antonio, Texas on February 15, 1950.  She entered the Army Nurse Corps after high school and in June of 1971 she got her first assignment as a clinical staff nurse at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.  In June of 1973 she became an instructor of practical nursing at Brooke.  In June of 1977 she became head nurse at the 121st Evacuation Hospital in Korea.  The next year she became head nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.  During her military career she met and married Charles W. Simmons, an Army Reserve Officer.  She became the first African-American nurse to hold the dual role of deputy commander of the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School which had 30,000 students on and off-site, and the 20th Chief of the Army Nurse Corps with 4,000 active personnel.  Bettye Hill-Simmons retired from active duty in 2000 and then became director of the Leadership Institute at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia.
     
  • Holloman, William Hugo "Bill" III - Born in 1924 in St. Louis, Missouri, he flew "Red Tail" P-51s with the 332nd Fighter Group in World War II as a Tuskegee airman.  He continued to fly in the Korean War and Vietnam War.  He was the first black helicopter pilot in the Air Force.  He died in 2010.
     
  • Howard, Elston Gene - During his 14-year baseball career, Howard was a catcher, left-fielder, and coach for the Negro leagues and major leagues (New York Yankees, Kansas City Monarchs and Boston Red Sox).  Born on February 23, 1929 in St. Louis, he was the first African-American player on the Yankees roster.  He was also the American League's most valuable player in 1963 and the League's first black player to win that honor.  He missed the 1951-52 seasons because he was serving in the US Army.  He died December 14, 1980.
     
  • Huff, Edgar - He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in June of 1942.  He fought in Korea and did two tours of duty in Korea.  He later became the first black sergeant major in the USMC, holding that rank for 17 years.
     
  • James, Capt. Daniel "Chappie" Jr. - In July 1951, he became the first African-American in the Air Force to command a fighter squadron.  He was also the first African-American 4-star general in the US Air Force.  He was an original Tuskegee airman.
     
  • Jarmon, Elwin Franklin Jr. - He was among the first six African-American attendees of the University of Texas School of Law, and one of two that served in the military during the Korean War.  He served as a corporal.  Corporal Jarmon was born in 1932 and died in 1997.
     
  • Jones, Clarence T. - CWO4 Jones was born January 22, 1930 and served 26 years in the military.  He was a helicopter combat pilot in Korea and served two tours of duty in Vietnam, receiving nine Bronze Stars and nine Air Medals.  He was a key person in the modification of the M4 aluminum pontoon bridge to an M4T6 float bridge.
     
  • Kelly, Mildred C. - Mildred Kelly enlisted in the Women's Army Corps in 1947.  In 1974 she became the first African-American WAC to hold the rank of command sergeant major; first African-American (and first female) command sergeant of a major Army installation; and the first African-American woman to reach the rank of Sergeant Major.  She retired from the Army in 1976 and died in 2003.
     
  • Kelly, Samuel Eugene - Born in Greenwich, Connecticut on January 26, 1926, he dropped out of high school in 1943 and joined the army in 1944.  The next year he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant after completing Officers Candidate School.  That same month World War II ended so he became part of the United States occupying forces in Japan until 1950. After the Korean War began he was assigned to South Korea in 1951, becoming one of the first African-American officers to command an integrated combat unit.  He fought in Korea for 18 months, returning to the States in 1952.  In 1954 he joined the 188th Airborne Regimental Combat Team.  He became a colonel in 1966, the year he retired from the Army.  While in the army he completed schooling at the high school level, and went on to receive Bachelor, Master, and PhDs.  He was the first African-American hired in the Washington State Community College System when he began teaching at Everett Junior College.  In 1967 he taught history at Shoreline Community College in Shoreline, Washington, where he developed one of the first Black Studies programs in the United States.  In 1970 he was hired as the first vice president for minority affairs at the University of Washington.  He stayed at that university until 1982.  In 1991 he became teacher-administrator at Portland OIC/Rosemary Anderson Middle and High Schools in Portland.  He retired as president/CEO of the Anderson School in 2004.  He died July 6, 2009 at his home in Redmond, Washington.
     
  • Leftenant-Colon, Dr. Nancy  - She graduated from New York’s Lincoln School of Nursing in 1941. She then tried to sign up for the Armed Forces but was informed that the military was not accepting Black nurses. Nancy persevered. In 1945, she became one of the first Black nurses accepted into the Army Reserve Corps. At that time, there was a shortage of white nurses and the military was “desperate.” In 1947, Nancy Leftenant-Colon put in an application to become one of the first Black nurses in Air Force. Although she became the first Black nurse in the regular army in 1948 and was transferred to the Air Force in 1949, her Flight Nurse application was not accepted until 1952. Dr. Nancy Leftenant-Colon served as a Flight Nurse in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. During these conflicts, she set up hospital wards in Japan and in active war zones. She was credited with saving many lives during those wars. In 1956, Nancy retired from Flight Nursing. Major Nancy Leftenant-Colon retired from the military in 1965. Nancy became a school nurse in New York. She is an initial member of the East Coast Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. having joined at its inception in 1973. Within the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. she served in the capacity of National Treasurer, First Vice-President and as the first female President of the Organization. She has received numerous awards including honorary degrees from the Tuskegee University and Mt. St. Vincent College in Riverdale, New York.
     
  • Lindsey, Perry Willis - Born April 29, 1922, Perry Willis Lindsey was one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. He graduated from flight training at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama on October 16, 1945, Class 45-G-TE (Twin-Engine Bomber) as a 2nd Lieutenant. He served as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II and the Korean War. He achieved the rank of 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He went on to become the first African-American principal in the Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach, California.  He died January 30, 2004 and is buried in Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, California.
     
  • McCullum, Donald Pitts - This Navy Korean War veteran was the first African-American to hold the position of city attorney of Berkeley, California.  He was deputy district attorney for Alameda County, California from 1955 to 1960; president of the Oakland Branch of the NAACP in 1961, and a member of the Alameda County Superior Court from 1977-1988.  He campaigned against segregation of African-American children in Oakland schools, was a champion of civil rights reform, and fought against poverty.  He died at the age of 60 on December 25, 1988.
     
  • McEachin, James - This actor and Korean War veteran was the first African-American to have his own television show.  "Tenafly" was a detective series on NBC.  McEachin has 150 film and television credits.  He enlisted in the US Army in August of 1947.  He served two years in Japan, then reenlisted for three more years.  He was sent to Korea, where he was wounded in 1952 in the Battle of Old Baldy.  He received the Silver Star and Purple Heart.
     
  • McElroy, George Albert - A pioneering African-American journalist, McElroy was born May 25, 1922 in Houston, Texas.  After high school he enlisted in the Navy, serving from 1940-48, mostly stationed in Asia.  From 1950-52 he was an information specialist at Ellington Air Force Base near Houston.  After receiving an honorable discharge he attended and graduated from Texas State University for Negroes (TSUN).  During his illustrious career as a journalist he interviewed Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, Fidel Castro, and six US presidents.  He was the first black to receive a masters degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.  He went on to become the first black on the University of Houston faculty, first black member of the Houston Press Club, and first black to win first place for his Houston Informer editorials from the Texas Gulf Coast Press Association.  McElroy died October 7, 2006.
     
  • Moore, Rudy Ray - Moore's comedy routines, songs, music albums, and acting career earned him the title of "world's first X-rated comedian".  His comedy material was filled with profanity and sex.  He was well-known as the character Dolemite.  Born March 18, 1927 in Fort Smith, Arkansas, he joined the Army in November of 1950 and served his country for more than 34 months.  He entertained troops at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, Korea and Berlin.  He died October 19, 2008.
     
  • Morgan, Gordon - Professor Morgan was the first African-American professor to be hired by the University of Arkansas.  In 1969 he was hired by the university as an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, which began a 40-year career at the university.  He was well-known for his research on the topics of race and education.  He was the co-author of The Edge of Campus: A Journal of the Black Experience at the University of Arkansas.  He died on December 17, 2019.
     
  • Morrison, Fred "Tiz" - Known as "Super Frog", Tiz Morrison was the first African-American member of Underwater Demolition Team 1 (UDT).  A World War II veteran, he also served in the Korean War, where he earned a Bronze Star.  The UDT was the forerunner to our nation's Navy SEALs.
     
  • Morrow, Everett Frederic - In July of 1955 he became the first African American Presidential aide in history, serving as Administrative Officer for Special projects on President Eisenhower’s staff from 1955 to 1961.  He had joined the Army in 1942, graduated from Officers Candidate School, and was discharged in 1946 as a Major of Artillery.  He then attended and graduated from Rutgers Law School with a Juris Doctor degree in 1948. After a clerkship in Englewood, New Jersey, Morrow briefly returned to active duty in the armed forces during the Korean War. In 1950 Morrow joined the Columbia Broadcasting Company (CBS) as a public-affairs writer. In 1952 General Dwight Eisenhower’s Presidential campaign hired Morrow as a personal adviser and administrative assistant. After the election he was appointed advisor on Business affairs in the department of Commerce, a post he held until 1955.
     
  • Parham, Thomas D. Jr. - He joined the US Navy in 1944 as the second black chaplain.  Twenty-two years later (1966) he became the first African-American officer to attain the rank of captain.  He died on April 16, 2007 in Norfolk, Virginia.


2LT Frank Emmanuel Petersen
(Click picture for a larger view)

  • Petersen, 2Lt. Frank Emmanuel - He was the first black Marine Corps pilot.  He flew with Attack Fighter Squadron 212 (Devil Cats). Petersen would go on to become the first African-American Marine flag officer and retired in 1988 as a lieutenant general.  "U.S. Marine Corps (1932-2015) — The son of a sugar cane plantation worker, Petersen decided to join the military after Pearl Harbor. He enlisted in the Navy in 1950 and, after completing flight training, accepted a commission as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. The first African American aviator in the Marines, Petersen flew more than 350 combat missions during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, earning a Distinguished Service Medal, a Distinguished Flying Cross, and a Legion of Merit. Later, he became the first African American Marine to command a fighter squadron, an air group and a major base. He retired from the Marine Corps in 1988 as a three-star lieutenant general — and, in yet another "first," the first African American Marine Corps general. (Section 33, Grave 4571)" [Source: Arlington National Cemetery]
     
  • Ragland, 1Lt. Dayton William - first black aviator to shoot down a North Korean fighter jet.  In November of 1951 his F-86E was shot down by Soviet Ace Col. Yevgeny Pepelyayev, pilot of an MiG-15.  Ragland survived and was taken prisoner of war to Pyok-dong prison camp.  He was returned to US custody in 1953.  He completed 97 combat missions in Vietnam before his plane was shot down just before he was due to be rotated home.  He has been missing in action since 1966.
     
  • Raney, Della H. - Born January 10, 1912, in Suffolk, Virginia, she graduated from the Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing in Durham, North Carolina.  She served in the military during World War II and through 1978.  She was the first black chief nurse who was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps.  After the war she was assigned as head of nursing staff at the Station Hospital, Camp Beals, California.  She retired as major in 1978.
     
  • Reid, William Ferguson - Born March 18, 1925 in Richmond, Virginia, Reid graduated from Armstrong High School and then received a Bachelor's degree from Virginia Union University.  He received his medical degree from Howard University.  He was a Lieutenant in the Navy during the Korean War, serving with the 1st Marine Division.  He later was a surgeon at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.  Dr. Reid was a civil rights activist and founder of the Richmond Crusade for Votes in 1956.  He was the first African-American elected to the Virginia Assembly since 1891, serving three terms 1968-1975.  He later became regional medical officer with the United States State Department.
     
  • Roberts, George Spencer "Spanky" - "Completed training with the first class of Tuskegee Airmen at the Tuskegee Institute before defending our great nation in the skies. Successfully finished the first class and was later commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1942 before becoming commander of the 99th Pursuit Squadron, making him the first African-American commander; one of three times in total he would hold this title during his career Flew approximately 100 combat missions during World War II before resuming command of the 332nd Fighter Group in 1945. In 1950, was the first African-American Commander of a racially-integrated Air Force unit and became a jet qualified pilot before assisting in the Korean War. Appointed as the Director of Materiel for the 313th Air Division in Okinawa, Japan and served as the Air Force Logistics Command in 1963. Served as Deputy Director of Logistics for fighter operations in Vietnam and space missiles and logistics in the Pacific Ocean area. Awards and accolades include the Distinguished Flying Cross, an Air Medal, seven commendation medals, and two Presidential unit citations
    Born on September 24, 1918 in London, West Virginia, George Spencer Roberts became one of the first class of cadets to complete training at the Tuskegee Institute before defending our great nation in the skies. Roberts graduated from high school at fifteen and went on to enroll in West Virginia State College (now West Virginia State University) where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Arts. He continued his education and received his teaching certificate before enrolling in the Civilian Pilot Training Program Unit III in 1939. Roberts entered preflight training with the first class of thirteen African-American trainees at the Tuskegee Institute. He was among five trainees who successfully finished the first class and was later commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1942. He became commander of the 99th Pursuit Squadron, making him the first African-American commander, one of three times in total he would hold this title during his career. His military occupation would see him engaging in dangerous missions which drew brave and heroic actions, including missions over Italy and Yugoslavia and flying reconnaissance over Austria and Germany. Roberts would fly approximately 100 combat missions during World War II before resuming command of the 332nd Fighter Group in 1945. His knowledge served others well when he became Professor of Air Science and Tactics at the Tuskegee Institute. In 1950, Roberts was the first African-American Commander of a racially integrated Air Force unit and he became a jet qualified pilot before assisting in the Korean War. His talents extended beyond flying, as evidenced by his appointment as the Director of Materiel for the 313th Air Division in Okinawa, Japan and his time serving as the Air Force Logistics Command in 1963. He worked on the F-104 Freedom Fighter project at McClellan Air Force base while later serving as the Deputy Director of Logistics for fighter operations in Vietnam and space missiles and logistics in the Pacific Ocean area. Roberts retired from the military in 1968 with the rank of Colonel. He continued to serve his community proudly by participating on various boards and committees in the Sacramento area where he lived with his wife, Edith. His awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross, an Air Medal, seven commendation medals, two Presidential unit citations. In addition, he was named honored pioneer at the “Black Wings” exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in 1982. The state of West Virginia proudly thanks him for his contributions to aviation."  [Source: West Virginia Department of Transportation]
     
  • Robinson, Hugh Cranville - first African-American military aide to a president of the USA (Lyndon Johnson.  He graduated from West Point in 1954 and was a platoon leader and company commander in Korea from April 1955 to July 1956.  During the Vietnam War he was executive officer of the 45th Engineer Group and then commander of the 39th Engineer Combat Battalion.  He was promoted to Brigadier General, being the Army Corps of Engineers first African-American general.  He retired from the Army in 1983 and that same year he joined the Southland Corporation as vice president.  He supervised the construction of Southland's corporate office complex in Dallas, Texas.  In 1989 he became chairman and chief executive officer of the Tetra Group.  In 2003 he held the same title with the Cranville Construction and Development Company.  He was then Chief Executive Officer of Global Building Systems, then chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
     
  • Robinson, Roscoe Jr. - a 1951 West Point graduate, was the first African-American in the Army to hold the rank of general. During the Korean War he served as a platoon leader and rifle company commander and was the recipient of the Bronze Star.  "Roscoe Robinson Jr., U.S. Army (1928-1993) — In 1982, Gen. Robinson became the first African American in the Army to attain four-star rank, and the second in the military (after Daniel "Chappie" James of the U.S. Air Force). In a 34-year military career that began in 1951, the West Point graduate served with the 7th Infantry Division during the Korean War and the 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam. He earned two Silver Stars, three Legions of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross and a Bronze Star. Gen. Robinson served as U.S. representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for the three years preceding his retirement in 1985. (Section 7A, Grave 18)"  [Source: Arlington Cemetery website]
     
  • Santiago, Carlos Manuel - "On a barnstorming trip to the United States, Santiago caught the eye of John Beckwith, manager of the Atlanta Black Crackers in '45. He played half the season with Atlanta before jumping to the Cubans, where he played short and second. Two years later, he became the first black Puerto Rican to play organized baseball, signing with the Stamford Bombers in the Continental League. Santiago's signing created opportunities in the United States for Minnie Minoso, Roberto Clemente and other men with dark skin and Latino blood. In 1951, Bill Veeck invited Santiago to training camp with the Indians, but he didn't go. Uncle Sam drafted him and sent him to Korea. After he returned, he continued to play in various leagues in the United States and outside. His play in his homeland, Puerto Rico, earned Santiago induction into the country's Hall of Fame in 1993."
     
  • Shaw, Charles H. II - Originally from Elgin, Texas and a high school teacher, Shaw joined the Marine Corps and trained at Montford Point in 1946.  In 1949 he became the first black drill instructor at Parris Island's new non-segregated recruiting class.  He served at Camp Pendleton and the Marine Corps Logistics Base at Barstow, California.  He retired from active duty in 1962 but remained in the Marine Corps Reserves until 1973.  While in the service he and Jim Jones opened Shaw's BBQ Pit in Santa Ana, California in 1956.
     
  • Shaw, Leander Jerry Jr. - first black chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court.  Born September 06, 1930 in Salem, Virginia, Judge Shaw received his law degree in 1957 from Howard University, Washington, D.C.  Shaw was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1960.  He was appointed in 1983 and retired January 2003.  During the Korean War he served as an artillery officer.   
     
  • Starke, George Jr. - first African-American to attended the University of Florida Law School.  He served in top roles in numerous Wall Street companies.  He was given the University of Florida's Distinguished Alumnus award in 2009.  At the end of the Korean War he served in the Air Force in Japan.
     
  • Taylor, Arie Mae Parks - See Notable Female Veterans section.
     
  • Taylor, Porcher Jr. - Born August 9, 1925 in Jacksonville, Florida, Colonel Taylor worked as typesetter and pressman for his family's business, Taylor and Son Printing Company until 1943.  He joined the Navy, serving three years in the Pacific during World War II.  In 1946 he enlisted in the Tuskegee Institute Reserve Officer Training Corps.  During the Korean War he served with the 82nd Airborne Division.  In 1971 he was the first African-American promoted to full colonel.  He served in the US Army for 25 years.
     
  • Theus, Lucius - "Theus is the first and only mission support officer of the Tuskegee Airmen to be promoted to general and the third black Air Force general after Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., and Daniel Chappie James. During World War II, he served as a member of the 332nd Fighter group. After World War II, he quickly ascended the ranks as an Air Force personnel officer. After a race riot between black and white enlisted men and noncommissioned officers at Travis Air Force Base in 1971, Theus was called in to administer programs to address equal opportunity and communication across races in the military, initiatives that had first been inspired nearly 30 years earlier through the success of the Tuskegee Airmen.  Born in 1922, he died in 2007.  [Source: History website]
     
  • Towles, Jeff Herman - Born in Huddy, Kentucky in 1929, Dr. Towles graduated from West Virginia State College and the University of Louisville Medical School.  He was a Korean War veteran.  When Vernon Jordan, then president of the Urban League, was shot by a sniper in 1980, Towles led the surgery team that operated on him and saved his life.  He was the first African-American president of the Ft. Wayne, Indiana, school board in 1987.  Dr. Towles died in 2004.
     
  • Valrey, Cleveland - This pioneering helicopter warrant officer served three years in the Army Air Corps and then joined the regular Army in 1949.  He served in Korea with the all-black 2nd Ranger Company, where he was wounded and returned to duty.  He received the Bronze Star in Korea.  After a stint in the Dominican Republic and graduation from flight school he served 32 months in Vietnam with the 228th of the 1st Cavalry, 5th Special Forces Group and the 205th Assault Support Helicopter Company.  For his service in Vietnam he received four Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Bronze Stars, 50 Air Meals, and four Army Commendation medals.  He retired with 10,500 flight hours.
     
  • Waddy, Harriet M. Hardin - On August 21, 1943, Harriet M. Waddy West (1904–1999) became the first black woman major in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), which later became the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). She was at the time chief of planning in the Bureau of Control Division at WAAC Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Waddy was born in Jefferson City, Missouri, and was a graduate of Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science. During the Great Depression, she worked as an aide to noted educator and civic leader Mary McLeod Bethune, who no doubt influenced Waddy’s decision to join the WAAC. She entered officer candidate school in 1942. During World War II, Waddy was one of the two highest-ranking black officers in the WAAC and served as its wartime advisor on racial issues. She was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1948 and served on active duty until she retired in 1952; she remained in the Reserves until 1969. During her time after retirement from active military duty, she worked for the Federal Aviation Administration and also served as a counselor for girls at a Job Corps Center in Oregon. Waddy was an active recruiter of black women for the WAAC and served for a time as an aide to its director, Oveta Culp Hobby. She also campaigned against the existing racial discrimination in the military. She moved to Las Vegas in 1998 and was in residence there at the time of her death. [Source: The Handy African-American History Answer Book] 
     
  • Walker, Clifford "Clifton" Earl Sr. - A World War II and Korean War veteran, Clifton Walker was en route home from his late work shift in Wilkinson County, Mississippi, when he was ambushed by KKK members.  The date was February 28, 1964.  He was the first African-American murdered by the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.  He was killed by a close-range shotgun blast.  Also murdered that year by this Klan where James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Micky Schwerner, all members of the Freedom Summer effort to register African-Americans to vote in Mississippi.  Walker was born in 1927 in Woodville, Mississippi.
     
  • Whitehead, John Lyman Jr. - He was the first African American to graduate from the US Air Force Test Pilot School, the first African-American to become a jet pilot instructor, and the first African-American to fly a Boeing B-47 Stratojet bomber.  [See also: Tuskegee Airmen section.]
     
  • Whitfield, Malvin Greston "Mal" - Born October 11, 1924 in Bay City, Texas, Mal joined the US Army Air Corps during World War II, became a Tuskegee airman, and flew with the 447th Bombardment Group.  He then went on to fly 27 combat missions in Korea.  Prior to joining the military he was a track and field competitor that won two gold medals and one bronze medal in the 1948 Olympic games. In 1952 he entered the Olympics in Helsinki, Finland and won a gold and silver medal.  He was the first African-American active duty serviceman to receive an Olympic gold.  He was also the first black athlete to receive the John E. Sullivan Award for being the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States.  In 1974 he was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.
     
  • Wiggins, Jefferson - As a 1st Sergeant in the 960th Quartermaster Service Company during World War II, Jefferson and the other men in his company had the job of burying over 20,000 fallen Americans in the new Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial at Margraten, Netherlands.  He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant by General Patton, becoming one of the first black officers in the U.S. Army.  During the Korean War he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant.  After the two wars he became involved in the civil rights movement in Alabama.  In the 1960s he was director of social services at a college in New Jersey. His experiences at Margraten were documented in the publication, From Alabama to Margraten by author Mieke Kirkels.
     
  • Wilder, Lawrence Douglas - A Korean War veteran and Bronze Star recipient, Wilder was born in 1931 in Church Hill, Richmond, Virginia.  He was the grandson of slaves and became the nation's first African-American governor when he took office in Virginia on January 13, 1990.
     
  • Williams, Fred - This former Tuskegee airman was Maine's first black attorney.  "Born in 1922, Williams dreamed of someday attending flight school and was the first member of his family to ever be issued a birth certificate. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps upon graduation from high school in New York City, but because of the enforced segregation in the U.S. Armed Forces at that time, Williams was assigned as a cadet in a new pilot training program for African Americans at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama."  [Source: Ed Pierce, Windham Eagle]
     
  • Williams, James Albert "Poochie" Jr. - A Master Barber in the Chicago, Illinois area, Poochie Williams was born January 14, 1933 in Waukegan, Illinois, and died November 3, 1991 in Zion, Illinois.  A Korean War veteran of the United States Air Force, Williams was a founder and the first president of the American Barber Association.
     
  • Williams, Joseph B. Sr. - Born in Annapolis, Maryland, Williams graduated from Hampton Institute in 1942.  He then joined the United States Navy and served in World War II and Korea.  He was the first African-American graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
     
  • Wilson, Clerow Jr. - Better known as Flip Wilson, this Golden Globe winning actor lied about his age and joined the Air Force at the age of 16.  His barracks mates nicknamed him "Flip" because he claimed he was always "flipped out".  After discharge from the Air Force in 1954, he began a career in comedy that caused Time magazine to put Wilson on its cover as "TV's first black superstar" in 1972.  A favorite guest on The Tonight Show, Laugh-In, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dean Martin Show and Here's Lucy.  He caused millions of laughs with his characters Geraldine Jones and Reverend Leroy, and by saying, "The devil made me do it."  He died November 26, 1998 in Malibu, California.

Units:

  • The African American 231st Transportation (Truck) Battalion was the first National Guard unit to deploy to Korea.  [See article on this page from the Pentagram.]
     
  • The 2nd Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne) was the first and only all-black Ranger unit in the history of the U.S. Army. The Soldiers were volunteers who deployed to Korea for seven months beginning in late 1950. During their time in-country, they gallantly defended a critical railroad running through Tanyang Pass during a night infiltration by communist forces. They also performed the first airborne assault in Ranger history, near Munsan-ni on March 23, 195
     
  • The last black combat unit in the United States Army, the 25th Infantry Division's 77th Engineer Combat Company was among the most decorated single American unit in the Korean War.

Back to Page Contents

Female Korean War Veterans of Note

[KWE Note:  All persons below were Korean War veterans.]

As an African-American woman there is not
a single door [in Washington D.C.] that I can walk through;
 but as a Major in the WAC there is not a door I cannot walk through.

– Lt. Col. Harriet West Waddy

Back to Page Contents

Nurses

  • Cleveland, Lt. Martha E.
  • Decker, Lt. Evelyn
  • Pease, Lt. Nancy Greene
  • Yorke, Capt. Eleanor

Back to Page Contents

Individuals of Note [served in Korea and throughout the world]:

  • Bell, Naomi Bernice - Born September 27, 1921 in Sandersville, Georgia, she graduated in October 1942 from the University of Georgia Nursing School.  On December 28, 1946 she entered the military and served as a nurse at the Tuskegee Army Air Base.  There she was known as the "Sweetheart of Tuskegee AAB".  During her military career she was a nurse at Brooks Army Air Base in San Antonio, Texas, and at Percy Jones Hospital, Battle Creek, Michigan.  She ended her military career on September 13, 1952 and died of cancer in October of 1975. 
     
  • Crain, Oleta Lawanda - Major Crain was born September 8, 1913 in Oklahoma.  She entered officer training in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps.  After discharge in 1943 she joined the United States Air Force and served her country for the next 20 years, retiring as major in 1963.  During the Korean War she served as personnel director at Elmendorf Air Field in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1951; test control officer at an American base in Ruislip, England 1952-55; and then at Lindsey Air Station in Germany.  After retiring from the Air Force she began working for the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C.  She became regional administrator of its Women's Bureau in Denver, Colorado in 1984.  She was inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame in 1988.  Oleta Crain died November 07, 2007 in Colorado.
     
  • Cunningham, Amelia - She joined the US Air Force in 1954 and served three years as a morning report clerk at Manhattan Beach Air Force Base in New York.  She participated in military shows as a dancer and traveled the world.  After discharge she went to college on the G.I. Bill, became a Fulbright Hays Scholar, and taught one year in England.  After that she became an educator for the Chicago Public School system for many years.
     
  • Ehelebe, Estella - Born Estella Mae Allen in Wichita, Texas in 1928, before marrying her husband Fred Ehelebe in 1953, Estella lived in Japan.  During the Korean War she worked as a hostess for the U.S. Army Special Services.  She wrote letters of condolence to families of soldiers who died in the war. She lived with a Japanese family, started learning Japanese and took judo classes.
     
  • Grimes, Annie Laurie - See Firsts section.
     


Sarah Louise Keys
(Click picture for a larger view)

  • Keys, Sarah Louise - on August 1, 1952, Pvt. Sarah Keys was en route from Fort Dix, New Jersey to her family's home in Washington, North Carolina, on a Carolina Coach Company Bus.  During a bus change stop, the bus driver ordered Private Keys to give up her seat to a white Marine.  Sarah refused, was put in jail for 13 hours, and forced to pay a $25 fine for disorderly conduct.  Her parents encouraged her to file a lawsuit against the bus company, which she did.  Her attorney was former WAAC and African-American lawyer Dovey Mae Johnson Roundtree (1914-2018).  Attorney Roundtree graduated from Howard University Law School in 1950.  Miss Keys won her case, resulting in an Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) ruling prohibiting segregation on interstate buses.  The ruling was made public on November 25, 1955, six days before Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of a bus.  The ICC did not enforce its own ruling until 1961.  Sarah Keys married George Evans in 1958 and became a hairdresser in Harlem.  On August 1, 2020,  a plaza with eight chronological murals and two bronze plaques was dedicated to Sarah Keys Evans in the MLK Park, Roanoke Rapids.
     
  • Lamb, Ann E. - She was the second African-American female to join the United States Marine Corps, two days after Annie Graham became the first African-American female to join.  The two women completed boot camp at Parris Island in Platoon 5A, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion.  She served at the Marine Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C.


Dr. Nancy Leftenant-Colon
(Click picture for a larger view)

  • Leftenant-Colon, Dr. Nancy  - She graduated from New York’s Lincoln School of Nursing in 1941. She then tried to sign up for the Armed Forces but was informed that the military was not accepting Black nurses. Nancy persevered. In 1945, she became one of the Black nurses accepted into the Army Reserve Corps. At that time, there was a shortage of white nurses and the military was “desperate.” In 1947, Nancy Leftenant-Colon put in an application to become one of the first Black nurses in Air Force. Although she became the first Black nurse in the regular army in 1948 and was transferred to the Air Force in 1949, her Flight Nurse application was not accepted until 1952. Dr. Nancy Leftenant-Colon served as a Flight Nurse in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. During these conflicts, she set up hospital wards in Japan and in active war zones. She was credited with saving many lives during those wars. In 1956, Nancy retired from Flight Nursing. Major Nancy Leftenant-Colon retired from the military in 1965. Nancy became a school nurse in New York. She is an initial member of the East Coast Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. having joined at its inception in 1973. Within the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. she served in the capacity of National Treasurer, First Vice-President and as the first female President of the Organization. She has received numerous awards including honorary degrees from the Tuskegee University and Mt. St. Vincent College in Riverdale, New York.
     
  • Payne, Ethel Lois - In 1948, Chicagoan Ethel Payne traveled to Japan where she worked for the Army Special Services Club.  When the Korean War broke out she kept a diary about the treatment of African-American troops in the Far East Command.  Her diary was shown to war correspondent Alex Wilson, who then encouraged her to publish her notes in the Chicago Defender, a newspaper for the African-American community.  Ethel Payne became the first African-American woman included in the White House Press Corps.  Known as the "First Lady of the Black Press", she died on May 28, 1991.
     
  • Raney, Della H. - See African-American Firsts section.
     
  • Taylor, Arie Mae Parks - At age 12, Arie's childhood was shortened when her mother died, leaving her to care for the numerous siblings in her family.  Born March 27, 1927 in Bedford, Ohio, Arie managed to study, graduate from high school, receive a scholarship to Miami University in Ohio and then attend Case Western Reserve in Cleveland.  She graduated in 1951 and then joined the Women's Air Force and became a staff administrator.  She was promoted to Staff Sergeant and became the first African-American to become a WAF officer.  She was put in charge of training new recruits.  She served four years as a WAF and was discharged in 1955.  After leaving military service with an honorable discharge, Arie became administrator for Denver General Hospital's Division of Disease.  She joined the Northeast Denver Democrats and in 1962 became Deputy Clerk for the Denver Election Commission.  She made chief clerk in 1965.  In 1968 she was chosen to represent Colorado as a delegate to the Democratic Convention.  This caused a stir in the Democratic party and drew national attention, but Arie Taylor stood her ground.  In 1972 she became Colorado's first female African-American representative in the Colorado State House.  She was named one of the Top 100 Influential Democratic Women in the United States in 1980. In 1984 she began a new job as business administrator for Coors Brewing Company in Golden, Colorado.  In 1991 she was appointed as the first female African-American clerk and recorder in Colorado, staying in that job until 1995.  Arie Parks Taylor died on September 27, 2003.
     
  • Waddy, Lt. Col. Harriet M. Hardin - Born in 1904 in Jefferson City, Missouri, graduated from Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science. During her WAC service, she graduated from The Adjutant General’s School of the Army and was placed in charge of 50 civilian typists; it was Waddy’s responsibility to see that letters were written to notify families of soldiers who were killed, wounded, or missing in action.  She was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1948, and retired from active duty in 1952. A longtime resident of Eugene, Oregon, she worked for the Federal Aviation Administration and volunteered at a Job Corps Center. The 94-year-old Waddy died at the home of friends in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1999.  [Source: Military.com]
     
  • Wall, Arline Haywood - Corporal Wall helped get supplies to soldiers while stationed at Yokohama Engineering Depot during the Korean War.

     

Back to Page Contents

Medals for Bravery

[All persons below were Korean War veterans.]

PICTURES OF ALL THREE MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS GO HERE NEXT TO THE RECIPIENT

Medal of Honor Recipients (posthumous)

  • Charlton, Sgt. Cornelius - Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Chipo-ri, Korea, 2 June 1951. Entered service at: Bronx, N.Y. Born: 24 July 1929, East Gulf, W. Va. G.O. No.: 30, 19 March 1952. Citation: Sgt. Charlton, a member of Company C, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. His platoon was attacking heavily defended hostile positions on commanding ground when the leader was wounded and evacuated. Sgt. Charlton assumed command, rallied the men, and spearheaded the assault against the hill. Personally eliminating 2 hostile positions and killing 6 of the enemy with his rifle fire and grenades, he continued up the slope until the unit suffered heavy casualties and became pinned down. Regrouping the men he led them forward only to be again hurled back by a shower of grenades. Despite a severe chest wound, Sgt. Charlton refused medical attention and led a third daring charge which carried to the crest of the ridge. Observing that the remaining emplacement which had retarded the advance was situated on the reverse slope, he charged it alone, was again hit by a grenade but raked the position with a devastating fire which eliminated it and routed the defenders. The wounds received during his daring exploits resulted in his death but his indomitable courage, superb leadership, and gallant self-sacrifice reflect the highest credit upon himself the infantry, and the military service.

  • Matthew Leonard
    (Click picture for a larger view)

    Leonard, Matthew - "Matthew Leonard was born in Alabama in 1929. He enlisted in the army in Birmingham about 1949, and served in Korea and Vietnam. He was killed in action on February 28, 1967. Sergeant Leonard organized the defense of his Machine gun division, 25th Infantry, in Korea in February 1951. (Center for Military History) PFC Johnson's (Army) platoon, protected the wounded, and charged the enemy. Although injured, he continued to fight until he died. For this he received the Medal of Honor. Initially interred in Birmingham’s Shadow Lawn Cemetery, his remains were moved to Fort Mitchell National Cemetery in 2000 (Section 14, Grave 27)." [Source:www.cem.va.gov]
  • Thompson, PFC William Henry - Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, 24th Company M, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Haman, Korea, 6 August 1950. Entered service at: Bronx, N.Y. Birth: New York, N.Y. G.O. No.: 63, 2 August 1951. Citation: Pfc. Thompson, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. While his platoon was reorganizing under cover of darkness, fanatical enemy forces in overwhelming strength launched a surprise attack on the unit. Pfc. Thompson set up his machine gun in the path of the onslaught and swept the enemy with withering fire, pinning them down momentarily thus permitting the remainder of his platoon to withdraw to a more tenable position. Although hit repeatedly by grenade fragments and small-arms fire, he resisted all efforts of his comrades to induce him to withdraw, steadfastly remained at his machine gun and continued to deliver deadly, accurate fire until mortally wounded by an enemy grenade. Pfc. Thompson's dauntless courage and gallant self-sacrifice reflect the highest credit on himself and uphold the esteemed traditions of military service.

Silver Star Recipients

  • Allen, Warren E. - 2nd Ranger Company
     
  • Becton, Julius Jr. - He rose from private to lieutenant general, fighting in three wars during his nearly 40-year Army career. Becton was awarded the Silver Star for leading his platoon in an attack on Hill 201 near the Naktong River. He joined the Army as a private in 1944, retiring as a lieutenant general in 1983.  "On the morning of September 17th, Lt. Becton was ordered to lead his platoon in an attack against enemy positions near the Naktong River on Hill 201. Under intense mortar, automatic weapons, and small arms fire, Becton led his men in a spirited charge up the hill. Despite being hit by enemy fire, Lt. Becton ignored the pain and encouraged his men onward. His platoon plowed ahead, killing and wounding many enemy troops, and forcing them to withdraw. The other platoons from Company L assigned to back up Lt. Becton's charge had been pinned down by heavy fire coming from a nearby ridge, and were unable to move forward. Despite being cut off from the remainder of his company, Becton urged his men forward, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. Upon reaching a position with favorable terrain, he stopped and skillfully deployed his troops to form a defensive perimeter. For the next ten hours, Becton and his men defended their position, repelling several enemy attempts to overrun their small force. Becton was wounded three additional times during the fight, but refused to give in and stubbornly held his ground. That night, under the cover of darkness, Becton was able to lead his men back to the main elements of his battalion. Though the U.N. forces were unable to break out from the Pusan Perimeter that day, Becton's initiative and skillful leadership prevented the North Koreans from making a counterattack, allowing the 3rd Battalion to occupy an advantageous position from which they would later drive the enemy from the entire area. Julius Becton would receive the Silver Star for his heroism on that day and after a short time in the hospital recovering from his wounds, he rejoined his regiment, becoming Executive Officer for Company I."  [Source: TogetherWeServed]
     
  • Bussey, Capt. Charles - On July 20, 1950, Army Capt. Charles Bussey, the commander of the all-black 77th Engineer Co., was awarded the Silver Star for his action at the battle of Yechon.
     
  • Clark, A.C. - Pfc. (Later Corporal) Clark was serving as an automatic rifleman in Company H, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines when he was awarded a Silvar Star for covering the evacuation of two wounded Marines in his combat patrol  He was from Louisiana.  His citation reads:

    "The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Private First Class "A" "C" Clark (MCSN: 1221465), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while serving as an Automatic Rifleman of Company H, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on 13 December 1952. When the combat patrol was subjected to intense enemy fire and two of his comrades were seriously wounded, Private First Class Clark fearlessly advanced forward of the casualties and brought devastating fire to bear upon the enemy, thereby enabling several other Marines to remove the wounded men to safety. Continuing his attack, he silenced one hostile machine gun with the fire of his automatic rifle and killed three enemy soldiers. Although twice wounded during the action, and suffering extreme pain, he refused evacuation and assisted in evacuating two other casualties to the main line of resistance. By his outstanding courage, marked fortitude and selfless devotion to duty, Private First Class Clark served to inspire all who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. Born: Minden, Louisiana. Home Town: Minden, Louisiana."
     
  • Cliette, Albert - 1st Lieutenant Cliette received his Silver Star for action while serving with the 2nd Ranger Company in Korea.  Read about Cliette in an article written by Amanda Dolasinski for the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), published February 21, 2020.
     
  • Collins, Norman - 2nd Ranger Company
     
  • Courts, Curtis - 2nd Ranger Company - for action on Hill 581
     
  • Dillard, Oliver Williams Sr. - Silver Star recipient for actions near Masan on September 14-15, 1950.  (See also Firsts section.)
     
  • Freeman, James - 2nd Ranger Company
     
  • Jones, John A. "Pop" - 2nd Ranger Company
     


    (Click picture for a larger view)

  • McEachin, James - James McEachin received his Silver Star in 2005.  "McEachin displayed extraordinary bravery after his patrol was ambushed while on a mission to rescue the body of a fallen comrade, captured and killed the night before. With fire coming from all directions, the Americans fell one by one. Shot through the thigh, McEachin returned fire while his commander, First Lt. Henry A. Schenk, a 29-year-old white officer who had emigrated from Austria at the age of 6, directed their desperate defense. Determined to assist Schenk, McEachin crawled toward the lieutenant's position before taking a second shot to the gut, as two more men were felled by enemy fire. Schenk was then hit and mortally wounded. Seconds later another blast hit McEachin, rendering him unconscious. McEachin awoke, lying face up in a nearby creek, the battlefield silent. The severity of his injuries quickly became apparent; he could barely move. Somehow he mustered strength and began crawling toward a patch of reeds. Suddenly the shadow of a man came toward him, a blond American soldier in Army fatigues who had taken refuge in the reeds during the attack. The men had never met, let alone spoken, but the soldier quickly began attending to McEachin's wounds, using his own T-shirt to craft a makeshift tourniquet. With McEachin half-conscious and unable to walk, the soldier carried him across the countryside and through streams toward safety while evading enemy troops. Reaching a forward aid station, McEachin was placed on a litter and prepped for evacuation. During their goodbyes, McEachin told the man who had saved his life: "I never got your name." The soldier replied: "I never got yours either. Let's just say we're brothers under the skin." McEachin, who never learned the man's identity, received a Silver Star and Purple Heart for his actions and later became an award-winning actor.  [All credit goes to this source: "Brothers in Arms", Arkansas Democrat Gazette, December 4, 2016, authored by Jeff Thatcher]  See also, African-American Males of Note section.
     
  • Mercer, Isaac - Mercer was drafted into the Army on January 7, 1952 and arrived at Inchon, Korea in late February 1953.  The 45th Division gave him the following citation for a Silver Star on October 21, 1953.  “Sergeant Isaac Mercer, then Corporal, Infantry, United States Army. Sergeant Mercer, a member of an infantry company, is cited for heroism in action against the enemy in the vicinity of Pau-Gol, Korea. On July 16, 1953, Sergeant Mercer’s unit was defending an outpost position during an intense enemy mortar and artillery barrage when hostile troops infiltrated into the trenches. Without hesitation, Sergeant Mercer left his position to engage in hand-to-hand fighting with the assailants. His heroic performance demonstrated determination and unwavering courage in the face of great peril and was instrumental in saving the lives of several of his comrades. Sergeant Mercer’s outstanding act of heroism and devotion to duty reflect great credit upon himself and the military service. Entered the federal service from Illinois."
     
  • Petteress, James Jr. - 2nd Ranger Company.  Silver Star and three Purple Hearts.  He was killed in action on June 11, 1951.  He was born in Ohio in 1930, a son of James Petteress Sr. and Annie Mae Johnson Petteress (1904-1982).  His brother was Eugene Petteress (1934-2020).  He is buried in Hillcrest Cemetery, Hamilton County, Ohio.
     
  • Pollock, David L. - 2nd Ranger Company
     
  • Posey, Edward L. - Posey enlisted at the age of 15 and in 1950 volunteered for the 2nd Ranger Infantry Company, an all-black unit.  The 2nd Ranger was inactivated on August 1, 1951, but not before participating in some of the bloodiest battles in the Korean War.  Posey received a Silver Star, Bronze Star, and seven Purple Hearts.  He retired from the Army in 1969 and in 2002 was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame.
     
  • Queen, James C. - 2nd Ranger Company for action on Hill 581
     
  • Rankins, George - 2nd Ranger Company for action on Hill 581.  "Long-time Oregon community leader, actor, singer and golf enthusiast, George Rankins passed away August 19, at his home in Lincoln City, Oregon, of age related causes. George was 86. Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1926, George grew up in Newark, NJ and Greensboro, NC. He enlisted in the US Army shortly before the end of World War II and served with the 555th Parachute Infantry Regiment, an all African American airborne unit. When the Korean War broke out, George volunteered for the newly formed 2nd Ranger Company, the only all African-American ranger unit ever formed. George earned a Silver Star and three Bronze Stars for valor in combat while serving with the Rangers. He went on to serve in the Army for 23 years, including stations in Germany and Corvallis, Oregon, where he taught ROTC at Oregon State University before retiring as a Master Sergeant in 1967. Upon retirement from the Army, George moved to Portland, Oregon, where he was an active member of the community. He worked first for the Concentrated Employment Programs and then as Director of Economic Development and Employment at the Urban League of Portland. He retired in 1985. He served as a commissioner on the Portland Exposition Recreation Commission, the Oregon Racing Commission, and the Center for Community Health. He was a football official for both high school and college football, including many years with the PAC-10. George moved to Lincoln City in 1985, where he enjoyed retirement with golf, music and travel. He explored the United States, along with visits to South and Central America and Europe. His favorite location was Mazatlan, Mexico where he met his wife Dianne, and where he returned annually for more than thirty years. He had a great passion for music, and he sang in many clubs in Portland, Mazatlan, and along the Oregon Coast. George was preceded in death by his son, Scott C. Rankins, and is survived by his wife Dianne of Lincoln City, OR, his daughter Joelle Rankins Goodwin, step-son Dr. Butch Brodie III, step-daughter Kristen Brodie Sparks and 5 grandchildren. A celebration of George’s life will be held September 14, 2013, at 2:00 p.m. at The Eventuary in Lincoln City. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to George’s favorite organizations: the Humane Society of Oregon, North Lincoln County Oregon Hospice or the World Wildlife Fund."  [Source: The News Guard, Lincoln City, Oregon]
     
  • Roundtree, Louis - Entered the USMC at Montford Point in 1948, beginning a 22-year military career.  "During the Battle of Incheon, Roundtree’s company single-handedly destroyed three enemy tanks and decimated a reinforced North Korean battalion. As the division moved north into the Chosin Reservoir, he and his fellow Marines found themselves surrounded by an estimated six to eight enemy divisions. With his weapon riddled with enemy bullet holes, and his hands wounded, Roundtree picked up a rifle of a wounded American Marine and charged up a hill to assault an enemy bunker.  'Upon nearing the bunker, he was literally swept from his feet by a hostile satchel charge and, although rolled back down the steep slope, bruised and bleeding, refused medical attention, rendering assistance to other casualties until the serious nature of his wounds compelled his evacuation,' his Silver Star citation reads."  [Source: Radio.com]  Sgt. Major Roundtree retired from the Marine Corps in 1970.  He received a second Silver Star for combat in Vietnam, four Bronze Stars, and three Purple Hearts.  He died on July 08, 2004.
     
  • Sutton, 1Lt. Harry E. (posthumous) - Platoon leaders, 14th Infantry, I Company.  He was a pioneering black paratrooper.  Silver Star awarded in General Orders 1, January 01, 1951.
     
  • Walls, Billy G. - 2nd Ranger Company

Distinguished Flying Cross

  • Brown, Ens. Jesse L. - He became the first African-American aviator in the history of the U.S. Navy. He was killed in action December 4, 1950, while provided close air support at Chosin Reservoir. Brown was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.  "The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) to Ensign Jesse Leroy Brown (NSN: 0-504477), United States Navy, for heroism in aerial flight as Pilot of a fighter plane in Fighter Squadron THIRTY-TWO (VF-32), attached to the U.S.S. LEYTE (CV-32), in hostile attacks on hostile North Korean forces. Participating in 20 strikes on enemy military installations, lines of communication, transportation facilities, and enemy troop concentrations in the face of grave hazard, at the Chosin Reservoir, Takshon, Manp Jin, Linchong, Sinuiju, Kasan, Wonsan, Chonjin, Kilchu, and Sinanju during the period 12 October to 4 December 1950. With courageous efficiency and utter disregard for his own personal safety, Ensign Brown, while in support of friendly troops in the Chosin Reservoir area, pressed home numerous attacks destroying an enemy troop concentration moving to attack our troops. So aggressive were these attacks, in the face of enemy anti-aircraft fire, that they finally resulted in the destruction of Ensign Brown's plane by anti-aircraft fire. His gallant devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
     
  • Harvey, Lt. Col. James H. III - He received a Distinguished Flying Cross during the Korean War for leading a group of four F-80s in close support to a bomber mission under adverse weather conditions to attack enemy troops north of Yongsan, Korea.
     
  • James, Capt. Daniel "Chappie" Jr. - He flew 101 missions in the P-51 Mustang and F-80 Shooting Star. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions in Korea. James became the first African-American to reach four-star rank in the armed services.
     
  • Petersen, Frank E. Jr. - Born in 1932 in Topeka, Kansas, Peterson graduated from Topeka, Kansas high school in 1949 and then became the fist black aviator in the Marine Corps.  He was commissioned a Marine aviation officer on October 22, 1952.  He entered the Korean War in 1953 and flew 64 combat missions in that war.  He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and six Air Medals during the Korean War.  He flew in the Vietnam War and was wounded in it.  He retired in 1988 as a three-star Lieutenant-General and died August 25, 2015.

Distinguished Service Cross

  • Benefield, 2Lt. William Maurice (posthumous) - officer in the 77th Engineer Combat Company.  "The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to William M. Benefield, Jr. (0-1685718), Second Lieutenant (Corps of Engineers), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving with the 77th Engineer Combat Company, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. Second Lieutenant Benefield distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces near Sangju, Korea, on 29 July 1950. On that date, during daylight hours, the 77th Engineer Combat Company received orders to advance against the enemy's position. Information was received on the location of an enemy minefield in the path of the company's advance. Realizing the danger to personnel of the company, Lieutenant Benefield, with complete disregard for his personal safety, went forward alone. Although the area was swept by intense small-arms fire, he advanced to within two-hundred yards of the enemy position and attempted to remove the mine field. During this action Lieutenant Benefield was killed. Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea: General Orders No. 54 (September 6, 1950). Home Town: Crawford, Kansas" [Source: Home of Heroes"
     
  • Dillard, Oliver W. - Distinguished Service Cross with one Oak Leaf cluster
     
  • Jackson, Cpl. Levi A. (posthumous) - US Army's heavyweight boxing champion and member of the 24th Infantry.  "The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Levi Jackson, Jr. (RA13267105), Corporal, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while attached to Company G, 2d Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. Corporal Jackson distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces near Haman, Korea, on 13 August 1950. On this date, Corporal Jackson was serving as medical aid man with Company G when two men were seriously wounded. Moving across the exposed terrain through the withering enemy small arms and automatic-weapons fire, he reached the men and was administering first aid when the enemy laid a devastating barrage on the area. Heedless of his personal safety, he shielded the two wounded men with his own body in an effort to protect them from further wounds. While in this exposed position he was mortally wounded. Corporal Jackson performed his duties as medical corpsman in a heroic manner. His primary concern at all times was the welfare and prompt treatment of the many wounded. On numerous occasions he evacuated men under the most adverse conditions over treacherous terrain while subjected to constant hostile fire. Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea: General Orders No. 77 (September 23, 1950) Home Town: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania" [Source: Home of Heroes]
     
  • Lenon, 2Lt. Chester J. - "The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Chester J. Lenon (0-2206421), Second Lieutenant (Corps of Engineers), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving with 77th Engineer Combat Company, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. Second Lieutenant Lenon distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces near Haman, Korea, on 6 August 1950. On that date, Lieutenant Lenon, Platoon Leader, of the 3d platoon, was covering the withdrawal of Company I, 24th Infantry Regiment, south of Haman, Korea. During this action the platoon was pimped down by intense enemy small-arms and mortar fire. Despite the intense fire, Lieutenant Lenon and six volunteers, flanked the enemy and inflicted heavy casualties which enabled the remainder of the platoon to withdraw. Although wounded, Lieutenant Lenon refused to be evacuated, but remained in an exposed position delivering effective fire on the enemy until his men had reached safety. He then withdrew and despite his wounds devoted himself to the care and treatment of his wounded men. Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea: General Orders No. 54 (September 6, 1950). Home Town: Montgomery, Kansas" [Source: Home of Heroes]
     
  • Miles, Sgt. William Thomas - "The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963)takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Sergeant William Thomas Miles, Jr. (ASN: RA-13266703), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations as a member of the 4th Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne), serving with the 8086th Army Unit Special Troops, Korean Military Assistance Group (KMAG), in action on 6 July 1951, in North Korea. On that date, Sergeant Miles participated in a classified mission, code named Spitfire, behind enemy lines in the vicinity of Karyoju-ri, North Korea, was, along with two other special operations soldiers, attempting to retrieve supply bundles dropped earlier that morning on the wrong drop zone when his group came under fire from a Chinese company advancing toward Spitfire's main base of operations. Sergeant Miles could have broken contact and evaded but elected to engage in a delaying action to give Spitfire's main body time to escape and evade despite knowing he and the other two were facing impossible odds and this decision would likely result in his own death, which it did. Surviving Spitfire members reported the ensuing firefight lasted thirty or so minutes, giving them time to clear the area and evade, eventually reaching friendly lines after a twenty-one day odyssey. Sergeant Miles' actions saved his fellow team members from death or capture and are well above and beyond the call of duty. His heroism, valor, and leadership characteristics are in the finest traditions of the United State's Army and reflect great credit upon him and the military service."
     
  • Pugh, Sgt. Curtis Dean - " 70 years ago Master Sergeant Curtis D. Pugh , Company L., 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division was presented the Distinguished Service Cross by General Douglas MacArthur at Kimpo Airfield (present day Gimpo International Airport, Seoul, South Korea). It was coincidentally his 34th birthday. The 24th Infantry was a segregated unit during the war, with black enlisted personnel and a mix of black and white officers, though nearly all senior officers were white. Pugh received the Army’s second highest honor for heroism in combat on September 15, 1950 near Battle Mountain west of Haman during the Pusan Perimeter breakout. The action took place in the early morning hours along a narrow ridge of loose shale shrouded in low clouds that reduced visibility to a few feet. Overrun by the enemy, Pugh’s company formed a circular defensive position along a sheer drop and held off multiple waves of charging North Koreans. White company commander Major Melvin Blair ordered his men to withdraw from the ridge top once they had depleted their ammunition, throwing his own spent sidearm into the face of an attacker before doing so. Pugh and several others who still had rounds to fire volunteered to cover the withdrawal of their comrades. When most of the company had sufficiently moved back, Blair shouted for the volunteers to join. Still having ammunition Pugh, continued firing at the enemy and urged his commander to keep moving back. At this point, Blair grabbed a rifle from a wounded soldier and moved back up the ridge to assist. In the process, he was tackled to the ground by charging North Koreans, who were swiftly gunned down by Pugh. When Blair regained his footing and again shouted for Pugh to fall back, he responded “Hell, we are having fun.” Pugh and his comrades did not fall back until Blair officially ordered them to do so. The group reached the bottom of the mountain four hours later. Major Blair reported, “they are great soldiers…I am recommending Pugh for the Distinguished Service Cross and the other members of the last guard for the Silver Star.” Pugh returned to the United States in May 1951 and helped teach student officers combat lessons at Fort Benning, Georgia. At the time of the Korean War, Pugh already had fifteen years of Army service and had earned a Bronze Star for WWII service at Guadalcanal and Italy. He is buried in Wood National Cemetery, Wisconsin (Section F, Site 25)." [Source: Findagrave, #NoVeteranEverDies #BlackHistoryMonth] Master Sergeant Pugh was born February 13, 1917 in Union Springs, Alabama and died December 18, 1994.  He is buried in Wood National Cemetery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
     
  • Ware, Lt. William DuBois -  "The President of the United States of America, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Second Lieutenant (Infantry) William DuBois Ware (ASN: 0-967794), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving with Company I, 3d Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. Second Lieutenant Ware distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces west of Sangju, Korea, on 26 July 1950. On that date, Lieutenant Ware, Platoon Leader, Company I, placed personnel of his platoon in a defensive position on a ridge to the Battalion's front. The position was attacked from three sides by numerically superior enemy force armed with automatic weapons and supported by mortar fire. The position soon became untenable and Lieutenant Ware, arming himself with a rifle, ordered his men to withdraw. He was last seen firing from his position on the advancing enemy until his position was overrun." [General Orders: Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea: General Orders No. 54 (September 6, 1950)]
     
  • Wynn, 1Lt. Ellison C. - Took command of the 9Inf's integrated B Company and led it heroically until he was seriously wounded during bitter fighting in late Nov 1950, astride the Chongchon River. "The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Ellison Wynn (0-1303423), First Lieutenant (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving with Company B, 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2d Infantry Division. First Lieutenant Wynn distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces near Kunu-ri, Korea, on 25 November 1950. On that date, Company B was attacking a hill consisting of three knolls occupied by the enemy. As each knoll fell under the company's relentless attack, the enemy withdrew until they were in considerable force when the attack on the last knoll was made. During the attack on this knoll the company commander was wounded and Lieutenant Wynn, assuming command, led his troops in the final assault and routed the enemy. While preparing to pursue the retreating forces, an estimated two companies of enemy counterattacked from an adjacent hill. During this fierce counterattack, the machine-gun section with Lieutenant Wynn was knocked out and the gunner and his assistant were killed. Remaining alone on the hill, Lieutenant Wynn held off the enemy by throwing grenades until his men joined him in defending the position. Although bleeding profusely from wounds he had received, he staunchly directed the defense of his position until the battalion commander ordered a withdrawal. Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea: General Orders No. 221 (April 19, 1951). Home Town: Suffolk, Massachusetts" [Source: Home of Heroes"

Bronze Star

  • Adams, Edward D. - 2nd Ranger Company
     
  • Andrade, Anthony - 2nd Ranger Company.  "Master Sgt., E-9 (retired) Anthony J. Andrade departed this world Thursday, November 27, 1986 in Birmingham Alabama Veteran Hospital, at the age of 57 after a lengthy illness. Anthony was born to Joseph and Maria (Brito) Andrade, September 8, 1929 in Long Branch, New Jersey. Sergeant Andrade also known to his friends as Tony, attended St. Peter Claver Catholic Church where he was an altar server as a young boy. He attended school in Asbury Park, New Jersey in which city the church is located, where he spent his childhood. Anthony enlisted into the United States Army in the year 1946 at the age of seventeen. During his service years he met and married the former Marva Shaw of Laurinburg, North Carolina. From this union they were blessed with one daughter, Mrs. Sherrie Moore, who resides at the family home in Huntsville, Alabama. After serving 30 years in the Armed Forces, Anthony retired as a Master Sergeant, E-9, from the 82nd Airborne Division with numerous medals and awards which included the Purple Heart and Bronze Star from the Korean & Vietnam Wars. He leaves behind to mourn, his wife, Marva, daughter, Sherrie, Son-in-law, Christopher Moore and grandson Christopher. In addition, a brother Joseph Andrade Jr., of Tinton Falls, six sisters, Mrs. Mildred Thomas, of Trenton, Mrs. Josephine Butler, of Neptune, Mrs. Rose Shannon, of Michigan, Mrs. Agnes Clay, of Red Bank, Mrs. Antoinette Walker, of Eatontown, Mrs. Joan Jenkins, of Red Bank, a host of nephews, nieces and many relatives and friends. Memorial Funeral Mass on Saturday, December 13, 1986 at 2pm at St. Peter Claver Roman Catholic Church, Asbury Park, New Jersey." [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Bussey, Charles - See Silver Star section above.
     
  • Clanton, Wilbert Whalington - 2nd Ranger Company
     
  • Clark, A.C. - Pfc. Clark received a Bronze Star for rescuing his wounded platoon leader on a combat patrol in August 1952.  See also, Silver Star section above.
     
  • Cliette, Albert - 2nd Ranger Company
     
  • Dillard, Oliver W. - Recipient of the Bronze Star with one Oak Leaf cluster.
     
  • Fields, James H. - 2nd Ranger Company for action at Tanyang
     
  • Fitzgerald, Dr. James Franklin - Dr. Fitzgerald was a surgeon in a MASH unit in Korea.  Besides his Bronze Star, the doctor was awarded three Purple Heart medals.
     
  • Gibson, Culver - 2nd Ranger Company for valor on Hill 581
     
  • Gibson, Elmer P. - Lt. Elmer Gibson received a Bronze Star for his servic as division chaplain for the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea.
     
  • Gragg, John E. - Gragg arrived in Korea in June of 1950 with the 3rd Amphibious Duck Company.  He saw action at Inchon, Pusan, Seoul, and the Han and Nak Dong Rivers.  He received a Bronze Star before leaving Korea in July 1951.  He was discharged from the military in 1973 as a Chief C. Officer.  After three years of college on the GI Bill he became the owner of his own company.
     
  • Hargrove, William - 2nd Ranger Company for action at Tanyang Pass
     
  • Higginbotham, McBert - 2nd Ranger Company for bravery in a firefight at Majori-ri Village.  Higginbotham died December 27, 1994 in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
     
  • Johnson, Leonard W. - Born: September 18, 1927, in Sherrill, Arkansas. Korean War Service: 24th Infantry Regiment and 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army, 1951-1952 =. Leonard Johnson enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1950 at the age of twenty-three. He served in the Korean War for approximately one year beginning in March 1951 as a corporal in the 24th Infantry Regiment, a segregated African American unit. Following the disbandment of the 24th Infantry in September 1951, Johnson was transferred to the 35th Infantry Regiment. He was wounded in action twice and received a Bronze Star for action near Kumhwa in October 1951. Johnson passed away August 6, 2015. [Source: The Arkansas Korean War Project]
     
  • Kirby, Charles Edward Jr. - This World War II and Korean War veteran was killed in action on November 28, 1950 in the Battle of Ch'ongch'on River.  He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for his service in World War II.  In Korea he served in I Company, 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division.  He was born December 17, 1920 at Camp Parole, Annapolis, Maryland, son of Charles E. and Sadie Kirby.  He enlisted on January 5, 1943 in Baltimore, Maryland.  He had a daughter, Latita Kirby.  He is buried at Annapolis National Cemetery.
     
  • McBride, Cleaven - 2nd Ranger Company
     
  • Mercer, Isaac - Mercer was leading a squad which engaged in hand-to-hand fighting with the enemy and captured ten prisoners.  As a result, he received the Bronze Star for this action which took place on June 18, 1953.
     
  • Morrison, Fred "Tiz" -  Known as "Super Frog", Tiz Morrison was the first African-American member of Underwater Demolition Team 1 (UDT).  A World War II veteran, he also served in the Korean War, where he earned a Bronze Star.  The UDT was the forerunner to our nation's Navy SEALs.
     
  • Posey, Edward L. - See the Silver Star section for his biography.
     
  • Rangel, Charles Bernard - The long-time U.S. Congressman from Manhattan enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1948 after dropping out of high school. During the Korean War, Rangel served with the all-black 503rd Field Artillery Battalion in the 2nd Infantry Division. During the fierce Battle of Kunu-ri in November 1950, the Chinese Army encircled Rangel and forty of his fellow soldiers. Despite sustaining shrapnel wounds, Rangel led his comrades to safety from behind enemy lines. Rangel’s actions earned him the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for Valor. After the war, he completed high school and became a lawyer and civil rights activist before winning a congressional seat in 1970.
     
  • Rankins, George - Three Bronze Stars (see also Silver Star section).
     
  • Strothers, Stewart W. - 2nd Ranger Company for actions in June 1951
     
  • Thomas, William E. - 2nd Ranger Company for bravery while serving as a medic with the company
     
  • Tyler, Elois - Born: September 12, 1930, in Sherrill, Arkansas. Korean War Service: U.S. Army, 1951-1952. Tyler enlisted in the U.S. Army in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, in 1951 at the age of nineteen. He received three bronze stars and three battle stars for his service in the Korean War. [Source: Arkansas Korean War Project]
     
  • Valrey, Cleveland - Bronze Star with V, 2nd Ranger Company, wounded May 20, 1951 in action on Hill 581
     
  • Wells, Joseph Sr.  - 2nd Ranger Company for valor near Sang-Kwiryang, Korea, on May 21, 1951.  His citation reads: "On this date, when the left flank of the 2d Ranger Company was overrun by a numerically superior enemy force, Corporal Wells, light machine gunner in the company, and his assistant were directed by the platoon leader to cover the withdrawal of the 3d Platoon to high ground within the 1st Platoon's positions.  The machine gun had been damaged in a previous firefight and was low on ammunition.  In spite of these obstacles Corporal Wells effectively covered the withdrawal of his unit.  While in his exposed position, he was subjected to fire from three enemy machine guns, but he remained in position, constantly applying immediate action to his gun to keep it in operation until all ammunition was expended.  Corporal Wells then threw hand grenades at the enemy until told to withdraw by the commanding officer.  The heroic actions displayed by Corporal Wells reflect great credit on him and the military service."
     
  • Wilder, Lawrence Douglas - Bronze Star recipient [See "Firsts" section.]

Back to Page Contents

Injustices

Where to begin?  Although the President of the United States ordered integration of black and white troops, the injustices against black veterans were extensive.  For instance...

Fifty-plus Black Soldiers

"A newspaper reporter from Baltimore's Afro-American first informed Thurgood Marshall that more than 50 black soldiers had been arrested in Korea, a number out of proportion to the average arrests of white soldiers. In 1951, the NAACP sent Marshall into the war-zone to investigate; he eventually cleared most of the soldiers' charges. Marshall: 'There were records of trials, so-called trials, in the middle of the night where the men were sentenced to life imprisonment in hearings that lasted less than ten minutes. They were the old well-known drumhead court-martials, done in the heat of passion and in the heat of war.'

There were fifty or sixty involved. One death penalty case. I remember in particular: the record showed that this man was charged with being absent in the presence of the enemy. Instead of being charged with AWOL, (Absent Without Leave) he was charged with cowardice in the presence of the enemy. And fortunately for him, he produced two witnesses: a major in the Medical Corps and a lieutenant in the Nurse Corps, both of whom testified that he was in a base hospital the very day that he was supposed to be AWOL. And despite their testimony, he was convicted and given life imprisonment." [Source: Korean War Courts Martial, American Radio Works Public Radio]

Gilbert, Leon

In 1950, Lieutenant Leon Gilbert of the still-segregated 24th Infantry Regiment was court-martialed and sentenced to death for refusing to obey the orders of a white officer while serving in the Korean War. Gilbert maintained that the orders would have meant certain death for himself and the men in his command. The case led to worldwide protests and increased attention to segregation and racism in the U.S. military. Gilbert's sentence was commuted to twenty and later seventeen years of imprisonment; he served five years and was released. [Source: Military History of African-Americans, Wikipedia]

Keys, Sarah Louise

on August 1, 1952, Pvt. Sarah Keys was en route from Fort Dix, New Jersey to her family's home in Washington, North Carolina, on a Carolina Coach Company Bus.  During a bus change stop, the bus driver ordered Private Keys to give up her seat to a white Marine.  Sarah refused, was put in jail for 13 hours, and forced to pay a $25 fine for disorderly conduct.  Her parents encouraged her to file a lawsuit against the bus company, which she did.  Her attorney was former WAAC and African-American lawyer Dovey Mae Johnson Roundtree (1914-2018).  Attorney Roundtree graduated from Howard University Law School in 1950.  Miss Keys won her case, resulting in an Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) ruling prohibiting segregation on interstate buses.  The ruling was made public on November 25, 1955, six days before Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of a bus.  The ICC did not enforce its own ruling until 1961.  Sarah Keys married George Evans in 1958 and became a hairdresser in Harlem.  On August 1, 2020,  a plaza with eight chronological murals and two bronze plaques was dedicated to Sarah Keys Evans in the MLK Park, Roanoke Rapids.

Paulfrey, Peter Joseph Jr.

T/Sgt. Peter J. Paulfrey Jr., a World War II and Korean War veteran, was sentenced to 20 years in an army prison for disobeying an order to be sent to the front.  He disobeyed because he suffered from recurring headaches and depression as the result of a motorcycle accident.  Born January 24, 1924, he died February 19, 2007.  On his tombstone in the Port Hudson National Cemetery, Zachary, Louisiana, is written: "I fought the good fight, kept the faith, and won."

Walker, Forest

Capt. Forest Walker led a successful bayonet and hand-grenade charge against well-dug-in North Koreans during the battle at Wonju in mid-January 1951.  As a result of his bravery he was awarded the Silver Star.  However, when Gen. Ned Almond heard about the award he stopped it and relieved Walker of his command.


Back to Page Contents

Male African-American Korean War Veterans 0f Note

[KWE Note: The following men served in Korea and throughout the world during the Korean War.]

  • Adams, Clarence Cecil - Adams was one of three African-American soldiers who chose not to return to the United States after the active war in Korea ended.  He returned to the States in 1966 and died in 1999.  He authored the book, An American Dream: The Life of an African-American Soldier and POW Who Spent 12 Years in Communist China.
     
  • Allen, John Edward - "Born in Florida in 1929, John Edward Allen joined the U.S. Army Air Corps after graduating from high school. Allen served from 1945-1946 and trained at Tuskegee with the 332nd Fighter Wing. Master Sergeant Allen reenlisted in 1946 and remained in the air force during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts until retiring in 1982. He received the Air Force Commendation Medal for helping de-arm two dozen 500-pound bombs dropped from the wing of a B-52 bomber being prepared for a mission. As a civilian, Allen worked until 2000 in the Weapons Services Division at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM. A recognized community leader, he helped found the General Lloyd W. “Fig” Newton Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen. Allen received the Congressional Gold Medal for service as a Tuskegee Airman. He died July 30, 2013, and is buried at Santa Fe
    National Cemetery (Section 24, Grave 560)."  [Source: www.cem.va.gov]
     
  • Andrews, Benny Born in Plainview, Georgia on November 13, 1930, Andrews was a figural painter in the expressionist style.  He attended Fort Valley College, a black state college in Georgia, to study media.  He dropped out to join the Air Force, serving from 1950 to July 1954.  He trained in Texas and served in Korea as a Staff Sergeant.  On the G.I. Bill he attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  His first solo art show was in 1960.  He received the John Hay Whitney Fellowship in 1965 and taught art in colleges and universities thereafter.  From 1982 to 1984 he was the Director of Visual Arts for the National Endowment for the Arts.  He died November 10, 2006.
     
  • Banks, Ernest "Ernie" - 1st black player (began as short stop; moved to first base in 1962) on the Chicago Cubs baseball team (September 8, 1953) .  Born January 31, 1931 in Dallas, Texas, Banks began his baseball career with the Kansas City Monarchs (Negro American League) in 1950.  He served two years in the US Army and then was traded to the Chicago Cubs.  He was a major league ball player from 1953 to 1971.  Awards include: National League "Most Valuable Player" - 1958, 1959, led National League in Home Runs - 1958, 1960, led National League in RBIs - 1958, 1959, All Star - 1955-1962, 1965, 1967, 1969, Golden Glove Award - 1960, and National Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee - 1977.
     
  • Baraka, Amiri - Born Everett LeRoi Jones, Baraka was a highly controversial and revolutionary writer of poetry, fiction, drama, essays and music critics.  His 52-year writing career was filled with one controversy after another associated with the Black Arts Movement and his beliefs about communism, Marxism, black liberation, white racism and more.  He was born in Newark, New Jersey on October 7, 1937 and died January 9, 2014.  He noted that one of his first encounters with racism occurred while he was serving in the US Air Force.  He joined as a gunner in 1954 and was stationed at the base library in Puerto Rico when he was accused of communism by a white officer and received a dishonorable discharge.
     
  • Blackwell, Lucien Edward - Blackwell was born in Whitsett, Pennsylvania on August 1, 1931.  He was a longshoreman before being drafted into the Army.  He served his country from 1953 to 1954, and was a boxing champion during his military stint.  After leaving the Army he returned to the Philadelphia waterfront and from 1973-1991 he was president of Local 1332, International Longshoreman's Association of AFL-CIO.  Not only was he a powerful union leader, he was also chairman of Philadelphia Gas Works.  From 1973 to 1975 he served in the Pennsylvania legislature.  For 16 years he was on the Philadelphia City Council.  He served in the US House of Representatives as a Democrat from 1991-1995.  He was also president of the United Negro College Fund.  Lucien Blackwell died January 24, 2003 in Philadelphia.
     
  • Bookert, Charles C. - Charles C. Bookert graduated from Meharry Medical School in 1945. He spent two years at Harlem Hospital and became a medical officer during the Korean War. He came to Pittsburgh in 1955 after leaving the military and served on the medical staff in McKeesport Hospitals Family Practice Department. Dr. Bookert was the only doctor from Pittsburgh and one of two from the state of Pennsylvania that ever attained the national office of President of the National Medical Association (NMA). He served as President of the NMA in 1977.
     
  • Bracey, George - Steward Third Class Bracey was one of only three African-Americans veterans who lost their lives on the nuclear submarine USS Thresher on April 10, 1963.  Born December 18, 1919 in Mississippi, he enlisted in the Navy in October of 1942.  He served in World War II and was also a Korean War veteran.  He was the oldest uniformed crewman aboard the Thresher when she sank during a deep-diving test some 200 miles off the coast of New England.  He was an ordained deacon of the People's Baptist Church of Portsmouth and a 32nd degree Mason of D.G. Lett Lodge.  He was survived by his wife Letha Reed Bracey (1917-2010) and his eight children: Norris, Charles, Robert, Michael, Mary Alice, Carol, Georgia and Patricia.
     
  • Brewer, Sherwood - Brewer was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, and grew up in Centralia, Illinois, raised by his uncle and aunt after his father's death. He was a veteran of the US Army and served in World War II and the Korean War. He was part of the Army that took Saipan from the Japanese in World War II, and he participated in a baseball league that began there.  Born in 1923, Brewer died in 2003.
     
  • Brooks, Robert Calvin - This legendary blues singer and recording artist is known by his stage name, Bobby "Blue" Bland.  He was born in Tennessee on January 27, 1930 and died June 23, 2013.  Bland recorded for Duke Records, Modern, Sun, ABC, MCA and Malaco record labels.  He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2012, and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.  He served in the Army in 1953-54 and during his military service he performed in a band with Eddie Fisher.
     


  • (Click picture for a larger view)

    Brown, William E. "Earl" Jr. - "Earl Brown began military flying at the dawn of the jet age. Born in the Bronx, New York, he grew up in Englewood, New Jersey. He first dreamed of being a pilot after reading about the “Tuskegee Airmen” in two major black weekly newspapers he delivered after school. His uncle arranged an airplane ride for him at a nearby airport, but Brown soon realized he couldn’t afford flying lessons and opted for pre-medical studies at Pennsylvania State University. He graduated in 1949, and after the Korean War started, Brown entered the U.S. Air Force Aviation Cadet Program in late 1950. First he learned to fly the North American T-6 Texan and then the North American F-51 Mustang. He completed pilot training at Craig AFB, Alabama, in December 1951 as a distinguished graduate and received his wings and commission. Next, Brown went to Williams AFB, Arizona, for jet transition in the Lockheed T-33 “T-Bird” and F-80 Shooting Star. During this tour, Brown met Major Woodrow ” Woody” Crockett, a Tuskegee Airman who became his role model, mentor, and lifelong friend. Brown went on to Nellis AFB, Nevada, where he learned the art of combat flying in the F-80 and the North American F-86 Sabre. With only eight weeks of training and 103 jet hours under his belt, Brown departed for Kimpo AB, Korea, in April 1952. During his one year tour in the 334th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, he was wingman for three of the Air Force’s leading aces: “Boots” Blesse, Jim Jabara, and “Pete” Fernandez. In 125 combat missions, Brown was involved in many dogfights and was credited with damaging one enemy fighter. After Korea, Brown reported to the 2nd Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at McGuire AFB, New Jersey, where he flew the Republic F-84 Thunderjet, North American F-86 Sabre, and the Convair F-102 Delta Dagger. After a tour in Spain flying F-102s with the 431st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Brown transitioned to the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II at George AFB, California. In August 1965, his squadron deployed to Ubon AB, Thailand, where Brown flew 50 combat missions over North Vietnam and Laos. He then attended Armed Forces Staff College. After graduation, he commanded the 53rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, at Bitburg AB, Germany. In 1969, he returned to Thailand and flew another 50 missions in the F-4 from Udorn AB. During his 100th and final combat mission, Brown’s luck seemed to have run out. His aircraft was hit by flak and lost an engine. He soon had to eject. Brown went on to command two flying wings, a numbered air force, and ultimately, Allied Air Forces Southern Europe. He retired from the Air Force in 1985 as a lieutenant general after 34 years of service."  [Source: Gathering of Eagles Foundation website]
     
  • Browne, Ralph Jr. - Browne was a member of the 272nd Field Artillery Battalion, Massachusetts National Guard, the last all-black military National Guard unit to be integrated.  The 272nd was sent to West Germany to train troops for the Korean War.  After discharge Browne became president of the Dorchester Allied Neighborhood Association, the Meetinghouse Hill Civic Association, and board member of the Dudley Square Main Streets.  He was the commander of the William E. Carter American Legion Post and chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee of the Boston branch of the NAACP.
     
  • Burrows, Al - Member of the New York Black Yankees, Burrows entered the Negro Leagues in 1954 as first baseman and pitcher for the New York Black Yankees. A year later, he joined the Indianapolis Clowns.  He stayed with the team for five years, until the league ended. Although he preferred first base, Burrows was much in demand as a pitcher.
     
  • Carey, Thomas Devore - African-American music legend Thomas Carey was born on December 29, 1931, in Bennettsville, South Carolina, but grew up in New York.  He studies music in the United States and in Europe, eventually performing with opera companies all over Europe.  During the Korean War he served in the U.S. military and enjoyed singing to his fellow soldiers.  From 1969 to 2002 he taught on the voice faculty of the University of Oklahoma. He was a founder of the Cimarron Opera in Oklahoma. The famous baritone died January 23, 2002.
     
  • Carson, Robert "Sonny" - This civil rights activist and Brooklyn (New York) community leader was known for his success in organizing public demonstrations protesting the unfair education system toward African-Americans.  In 1967 he was the executive director of Brooklyn's Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).  He was the father of hip-hop artist Professor X.  He served in the Army during the Korean War with the 82nd Airborne.  Born in 1936, he died in 2002.
     
  • Cartwright, Roscoe Conklin - Born on May 27, 1919 in Kansas City, Kansas, Cartwright was drafted into the Army in 1941 and attended OCS in 1942. He was promoted to captain and served in Korea in an integrated army. From 1951 to 1955 he was an instructor in the ROTC program at West Virginia State College. He was a colonel during the Vietnam War and was commander of the 108th Artillery Group. He held government positions, and was Director of the National Petroleum Council, the policy-making body of the oil industry. Roscoe died in the crash of a jet liner at Dulles on December 01, 1974.
     
  • Cheek, James Edward - Born December 4, 1932 in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina.  He became a licensed Baptist minister at age 13 and was ordained at age 17 at Providence Baptist Church.  He enlisted in the US Air Force after high school and served in Korea until he was discharged in 1951.  Among his life's accomplishments were: assistant professor of New Testament Theology at Virginia Union University (1962); president of Shaw University (1963); president of Howard University (1968-1989); member of the National Advisory Council to the Peace Corps; a member of the US President's board of advisors of Historically Black Colleges and Universities; and secretary of education in U.S. Virgin Islands.  Dr. Cheek died January 09, 2010 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
     
  • Cornelius, Donald Cortez - Born September 27, 1936 in Chicago's South Side, Don Cornelius graduated from DuSable High School in 1954 and joined the Marine Corps during the Korean War time frame.  He served 18 months on a South Korean air base.  After discharge he held various odd jobs until taking a broadcasting course and landing a job on Chicago radio station WVON as an announcer, news reporter and disc jockey.  Concerned that there were limited outlets for soul music, Cornelius produced the first episode of the African-American song and dance television series, Soul Train in 1970.  He continued with that show until 1993.  He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 2012.
     
  • Cox, Hannibal M. Jr. - This Tuskegee airman became director of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action for Eastern Airlines.  For further information about Colonel Cox, see the Tuskegee Airman section of this page.
     
  • Davis, Clarence H. - The only black soldier in his bunker in Korea, Clarence Davis was drafted in 1951 and served 15 months in Korea with the 625th Field Artillery Battalion, 40th Infantry Division.  He fought in the battles at the Punch Bowl and Heartbreak Ridge.  The father of six children, Clarence's written and oral stories of his wartime service became the subject of a 32-page illustrated comic book, Escape from Kumwha.  The book was written by his son, Gary Davis, and is a true account of Clarence's Korean War service.  After the war Davis became an industrial arts teacher in the Camden, New Jersey public school system.
     
  • Davis, Rudolph "Rudy" Sr. - Rudolph Davis died on Thursday, November 26, 2020. Rudy, as he was affectionately known, was born in Plaquemine, Louisiana. He graduated from Booker T Washington High School in New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans was more than just his home, it was where he developed his veracious love of music. Rudy, can be likened to the jazz music that shaped the many facets of his life: smooth, mellow, and thoughtful, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of everyone who is fortunate enough to have been in his presence. After graduating with a BA degree in music, from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Rudy joined the Army. During his six years of distinguished service in the Armed Forces, Rudy served in the Korean War. He served his country honorably, while continuing to add fuel to his musical flame: He was director of an Army jazz band known as the Down Beats; Band Director of the 56th and the 289th Army Bands in Korea and Japan, respectively. His bands entertained troops during the Korean War and greeted all the ships that transported troops to Korea. Many of Rudy's former band members went on to play with Count Basie and other "Big Bands" after their service tenure. Rudy, however, decided that Louisiana was where he belonged. He left the Army as a Master Sergeant to return home with the Combat Infantry Badge. Rudy continued his education, receiving his master's degree in music from the University of Southwestern Louisiana after withdrawing from LSU when he was not allowed to direct the band before a white audience because he was black. He began his "formal" teaching career at Southern University as the Assistant Band Director. He left Southern University, and from 1957 through the 60's, during Jim Crow segregation, he taught music at Central High in Natchitoches and Central High in Bogalusa. His last employer was the Lafayette Parish School System, where he taught music at Acadian, Broussard, Youngsville, and Moss Middle Schools from 1968 to 1985. After retirement, he volunteered his music teaching services at Holy Rosary Institute and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Rudy was a leader in his community and spoke truth to power. He worked tirelessly to balance the inequities that existed in a Jim Crow south that demanded submission from black people who were considered "less than." Being a nonconformist was risky, but Rudy decided submitting to the racist customs of the period was not an option. He stopped attending Catholic church when he grew tired of his family sitting in the back pews and taking communion last. He was always on a counter-racist code. As a Korean war veteran, he followed the example of the Deacons of Defense and, along with other black war veterans, protected their neighborhood by implementing organized security protocols. His youngest son was born the year Emmett Till was lynched. He promised his children this would only happen to them over his dead body. In 1971, Lafayette Parish was newly desegregated. Protest arose over the mistreatment of black students at Northside High. There were also demands to hire black teachers, administrators, and coaches. The superintendent told Rudy that he needed to put an end to his sons' participation in these demonstrations; but Rudy, told his son to continue fighting for justice. This unending support and love were again evident when his son was expelled from Port Allen High School in West Baton Rouge Parish and arrested for participating in more demonstrations. Rudy touched the lives of many of his students. He motivated them to work toward their highest degree of proficiency. His enthusiasm was palpable when former students would express how he made a difference in their lives. These moments were cherished because it served as evidence that he had accomplished what he had set out to do: to get them to reach higher and to believe. Rudy believed that everyone deserved respect and could succeed if given order and responsibility. As a result, his bands were not only exceptionally talented and skillful, but well-disciplined and organized. He would accept students in his band that were labeled as "behavior problems." He embraced them and used compassionate discipline to get them back on track. He showed them that someone cared. That was his way. He believed that every child was capable of high academic achievement, no matter their race, income, or zip code. In 1991, he and his son started a boy scout troop that served the black community of North Lafayette. Many of the scouts attended Moss Middle, the lowest performing school in the parish. He wanted to show his scouts that they could achieve the most ambitious goals. They set a goal to backpack the Grand Canyon from rim to rim. They trained for two years and in 1993, he and 17 scouts, ages 12 and 13, backpacked the Grand Canyon from the south rim to the north rim. His scouts continued in high adventure scouting to climb Mount Whitney in California and Mount Rainier in Washington. Rudy was an avid bass fisherman. His favorite fishing spot was Henderson Lake. Upon retirement, he resided in Houma, LA and quickly became a member of the community band. He and his wife Lois Walker Davis, the heart of his life, enjoyed year-round gardening and great fishing. Rudy was preceded in death by his wife, Lois Walker Davis, his parents, Edwin and Edith Taylor Davis, brothers Edwin and Harold Davis, and a sister, Mary Davis. He leaves to cherish his memory four loving children, Rudolph Davis, Jr. and Greg Davis, Sr., and stepdaughters Nell Hebert and Arris Charles, two daughters-in-law, Donna and Dorothy Davis, 10 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, two brothers, Donald Sr. and John Davis and 3 sisters-in-law, Iris, Jackie and Shams Davis, and a host of nieces, nephews and friends.
     
  • Deiz, Robert William - associated with war bond poster.  Robert Deiz was born June 17, 1919 in Portland, Oregon, son of William and Elnora Deiz.  He graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School in 1937 and then joined the Army.  He graduated from Tuskegee as a 2nd Lieutenant on September 6, 1942.  From 1943-1944 he flew 93 missions with the 99th Fighter Squadron.  He was the subject of a war bonds poster entitled, "Keep Us Flying! Buy War Bonds."  After World War II he was an instructor at Tuskegee Army Air Field, and then became a test pilot in the U.S. Air Force.  He married Ruby Butler and they had a son Robert Everett Deiz.  Robert William retired as a major in 1961.  He died of a heart attack on April 6, 1992.
     
  • Diggs, Louis S. - Born on April 13, 1932 in Baltimore, Maryland, Diggs served with the 726th Transportation Truck Company in Korea for two years.  After tours of duty in Germany and Japan, he retired from the military in 1970.  He then taught in the DC public school system until 1989, and substitute taught at Catonsville High School.  He authored ten books during his third career as a writer and historian.
     
  • Dumas, Henry Lee - Born July 20, 1934 in Sweet Home, Arkansas, Dumas joined the Air Force and served his country from 1953-1957 at Lackland Air Base and on the Arabian Peninsula.  Writing for Air Force publications, he received accolades for his writing skills.  After his military service he wrote about his childhood experiences as a black youth growing up in Southern Arkansas.  Active in the 1950s civil rights movement in Mississippi and Tennessee, he frequently wrote about the struggles facing black Americans during the 1950s/60s.  He was killed by a police officer in a case of mistaken identity on May 23, 1968 in Manhattan.
     
  • Elam, Lloyd C. - This prestigious doctor was born on October 27, 1928.  He received a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology in 1950 from Roosevelt University and then served two years in the U.S. Army.  He received his medical degree from the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle in 1957.  From 1966-68 he was interim dean of Meharry Medical School and in 1968-1981 he was president of that college.  From 1981-82 he was chancellor at Meharry.  He founded the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Meharry Medical College.
     
  • Ferrell, Howard Leroy "Toots" Jr. - Negro League Baseball Player. Delaware Hall of Fame member. Howard was a member of the Negro League teams the Newark Eagles, Baltimore Elite Giants, and the Chicago American Giants. He served in the Army during the Korean War. It was while playing in an Army League football game that Howard injured his shoulder, ending his career as a baseball player. He is a member of the Delaware Afro-American Hall of Fame and the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame. Born September 1929, he died in 2002.
     
  • Fitzgerald, Dr. James Franklin - MASH doctor [See Tribute to James Franklin Fitzgerald further down on this page.]
     
  • Forman, James - Civil rights leader and author.  "Foreman was born October 4, 1928 in Chicago, Illinois. He served in the United States Air Force in Okinawa during the Korean War and was discharged in 1952. Forman earned his undergraduate degree from Roosevelt University in 1957 and spent most of the late 1950s working as a journalist and teacher. From 1961 to 1965, he served as executive secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In 1969, his “Black Manifesto” was adopted at the Black Economic Development Conference held in Detroit, Michigan. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Forman completed graduate work at Cornell University and in 1982 received his Ph.D. from the Union of Experimental Colleges and Universities. Forman wrote several books, including Sammy Younge Jr.: The First Black College Student to Die in the Black Liberation Movement (1969), The Making of Black Revolutionaries (1972), and Self Determination: An Examination of the Question and its Application to the African American People (1984).  [Source: Today in African-American History.Com]
     
  • Gibbons, Walter Lee - Pitcher for Negro League Baseball and the minor leagues.  "Gibbons, who earned the nicknames 'Dirk' and 'Bubblegum', was raised in the Historic Ybor City District, where he started playing baseball at age eight while pitching for the Pepsi Cola Juniors team. From there, he played with the Pepsi-Cola Giants and the Tampa Rockets of the Florida State Negro League during his teenage years. Upon graduation from George S. Middleton High School in Tampa, Gibbons had the opportunity to play briefly in the Negro National League in 1941, as he compiled just one inning and lost his only decision while splitting the season between the Philadelphia Stars and the New York Black Yankees. Afterwards, Gibbons pitched for the Indianapolis Clowns from 1948 to 1949. Nevertheless, he had his greatest successes neither in Florida nor the Negro Leagues. It came when the Clowns sold him to the Brandon Greys of the Mandak League. Gibbons then went to Canada and joined the Brandon club from 1949 to 1950. In his first season, he was the most dominant hurler in a league that also boasted Leon Day and Satchel Paige, as he went 19-5 and fanned 229 in 198 innings pitched, completing 20 of his 23 starts while leading the club in wins and the league in strikeouts. In addition, 12 of his 19 wins were consecutive and he tossed back-to-back one-hitters at one point. In 1950, he had a 8-4 in a short-season effort, completing 11 of his 12 starts, while finishing second in the league both in wins and complete games.  After pitching in an exhibition game against the Jackie Robinson All-Stars late in the year, he was recruited for military service during the Korean War. Following his discharge, Gibbons returned to the Mandak League to play five more years, including a new stop in Brandon (1954) and with the Winnipeg Royals (1953) and the Minot Mallards (1955–1957). Overall, he posted a 60-50 record during his seven years in the league. After his baseball days, Gibbons went back to Florida and managed a night club for 20 years. He later worked for a long time at the training center of the University of Tampa as a supervisor for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL franchise. In his spare time, he enjoyed the Tampa Bay Rays games at Tropicana Field,  receiving a standing ovation when he threw out the first pitch in one of those home games. Among his many honors and recognitions, Gibbons gained induction into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. Thereafter, he was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays during the 2008 Special Draft of the surviving Negro League players, which was held by Major League Baseball as a tribute for the surviving Negro Leaguers who were kept out of the Big Leagues because of their race. During the ceremony, MLB clubs each selected a former NLB player. He then was honored in 2015 by the City of Tampa as part of its Annual Black History Month celebration."  [Source: Wikia.org]
     
  • Gilbert, Leon - In 1950, Lieutenant Leon Gilbert of the still-segregated 24th Infantry Regiment was court-martialed and sentenced to death for refusing to obey the orders of a white officer while serving in the Korean War. Gilbert maintained that the orders would have meant certain death for himself and the men in his command. The case led to worldwide protests and increased attention to segregation and racism in the U.S. military. Gilbert's sentence was commuted to twenty and later seventeen years of imprisonment; he served five years and was released. [Source: Military History of African-Americans, Wikipedia]
     
  • Gittens, Charles Leroy - Born August 31, 1928, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  He enlisted in the army before finishing high school.  He was promoted to lieutenant and was stationed in Japan during the Korean War.  Gittens became a US Secret Service Agency in North Carolina, New York, Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC.  In 1971 he was appointed special agent in charge of 120 agents in the Washington, D.C. field office.  After he retired in 1979 he joined the Justice Department's Nazy-hunting Office of Special Investigators.  He died July 27, 2013 in Michellville, Maryland.
     
  • Golden, Newman Camay - "Newman Camay Golden was born in Cincinnati, OH, on October 12, 1919. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, graduated from the Tuskegee pilot training program in 1944, and served with the 99th Fighter Group in Italy. On March 20, 1945, during a bomber escort mission over Austria, Golden parachuted from his damaged aircraft. He was imprisoned at Moosburg until Allied forces liberated the camp. Golden then enlisted to serve in Korea. On October 17, 1951, First Lieutenant Golden’s aircraft was hit, burst into flames and crashed. Golden was missing in action until March 31, 1954, when his status was changed to killed in action. Golden received the Purple Heart and, in July 2014, a memorial for him took place at Sacramento Valley National Cemetery (Section MW, Row A, Site 01-A).[Source: www.cem.va.gov]
     
  • Gordy, Berry Jr. - founder of Motown Records in Detroit.  In his early life he was a journeyman.  He dropped out of school to begin a career as a boxer, but was drafted into the Army and served in Korea in 1951.  He was discharged from the Army in 1953.  After that he worked on an assembly line at Ford Motor Company in Detroit.  He began writing music while there and then started his own music company.  He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.
     
  • Greason, William Henry - See African-American Firsts section.
     
  • Grier, William H. - Born in 1926 in Birmingham, Alabama, Grier was co-author with Price M. Cobbs of the landmark book, Black Rage, a study that proclaimed black anger was the result of racism and white oppression.  The book led to an ABC television special entitled To Be Black in 1969.  In 1971, the two authors published the book Jesus Bag, an examination of the relationship between African-Americans and Christianity.  Grier received his MD at the University of Michigan in 1948.  He died in Carlsbad, California, in 2015 at the age of 89.
     
  • Hawkins, Dr. Reginald Armistice - A Korean War veteran, dentist, and Presbyterian minister, Reginald Hawkins was an important civil rights leader in Charlotte, North Carolina.  His entire life was devoted to fighting against racial discrimination.  Dr. Hawkins earned the rank of Army captain in World War II and then provided dental services to soldiers at Fort Bragg during the Korean War 1951-53.  He led successful sit-ins and protests in Charlotte and fought for integration of businesses.  He escorted Dorothy Counts, the first African-American to integrate Harding High School in 1957.  White teens and adults spit on her and yelled racial slurs as they approached the school. On November 22, 1965, the homes of four Charlotte civil rights leaders were bombed, including the Hawkins' home.  Dr. Hawkins died in 2007.
     
  • Innis, Roy Emile Alfredo - Civil rights activist Roy Innis was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands on June 6, 1934.  An advocate of the Black Power movement, he enlisted in the Army and served his country during the Korean War.  In 1967 he was one of ten African-American men that formed an investment corporation known as the Harlem Commonwealth Council to help bring stability and economics to Harlem.  He was founder and co-editor of the Manhattan Tribune newspaper.  He entered politics in the 1980s as a political conservative, and was associated with several conservative organizations, including serving on the Board of Trustees of the National Rifle Association.
     
  • Isaacs, Bernard Augustus - This Annapolis graduate was killed in action in Korea on September 01, 1951 while serving with B Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division.  He was born April 5, 1929 in Parole, Maryland, a son of Stephen Gilbert Isaacs (1898-1958) and Adele Queen Isaacs (1900-1965).  He was survived by siblings Anna Katherine Isaacs Hawkins, Warren O. Isaacs, Lovey Ann Isaacs Short, Stephen G. Isaacs, Muriel Isaacs McPherson, Joan Isaacs Adams, Barbara Isaacs Hill, Golda Isaacs Banks and Doris Isaacs Smith.  He is buried in Annapolis Cemetery.
     
  • Jackson, James Lloyd - Born in Lackland, Florida on February 25, 1920, he graduated from Lakeland High School in 1938.  He joined the Army  in 1943 and in 1944 he led a unit of the 531st Combat Engineers onto Normandy Beach to prepare for the invasion to come later.  In 1945 he decided to make the Army his career and made 2nd Lieutenant while serving in the Korean War.  He attended various colleges while in the military, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in 1975 from Western Washington University.  After a 20-year military career he retired in 1963 as a major.  In civilian life he worked for the city of Seattle for more than 20 years.  He was Project Manager with the city's Urban Development Program and other projects, and an outstanding community volunteer.  He died May 6, 2008 at the age of 88.
     
  • Jarrell, Wadsworth Aikens - This painter, sculptor and printmaker of note was born November 20, 1929 in Albany, Georgia.  After graduating from high school he joined the Army and was stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana.  He also served briefly in Korea.  While at Fort Polk he became the company artist and made extra money by designing shirts and making paintings for his fellow veterans.  After discharge he moved to Chicago, attending the Art Institute of Chicago, from which he graduated in 1958.  In 1971 he and his family moved to the east coast and he began to teach at Howard University.  The family moved to Athens, Georgia, in 1977, where he became a professor at the University of Georgia and remained there until 1988.  During his illustrious art career Jarrell has created numerous sculptures and paintings, received several prestigious art awards, and participated in numerous solo and group art exhibits.
     
  • Joel, Lawrence - Joel joined the merchant marine when he was 17 and then joined the army in 1946, serving with occupying forces in France, Germany and Italy following World War II.  He was discharged in 1949, but rejoined the Army in 1953 when the Korean War broke out.  He trained as a paratrooper at Ft. Benning, and saw combat in Vietnam.  President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967 awarded Specialist Five Lawrence Joel, a Korean War veteran, the Medal of Honor for his service in Vietnam. Johnson was the first black medic and first living black American to receive the award since the Spanish-American War.  He was a member of HQ & HQ Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne;), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade when he received the Medal of Honor for acts of bravery on November 08, 1965.  His citation reads:  "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp6c. Joel demonstrated indomitable courage, determination, and professional skill when a numerically superior and well-concealed Viet Cong element launched a vicious attack which wounded or killed nearly every man in the lead squad of the company. After treating the men wounded by the initial burst of gunfire, he bravely moved forward to assist others who were wounded while proceeding to their objective. While moving from man to man, he was struck in the right leg by machinegun fire. Although painfully wounded his desire to aid his fellow soldiers transcended all personal feeling. He bandaged his own wound and self-administered morphine to deaden the pain enabling him to continue his dangerous undertaking. Through this period of time, he constantly shouted words of encouragement to all around him. Then, completely ignoring the warnings of others, and his pain, he continued his search for wounded, exposing himself to hostile fire; and, as bullets dug up the dirt around him, he held plasma bottles high while kneeling completely engrossed in his life saving mission. Then, after being struck a second time and with a bullet lodged in his thigh, he dragged himself over the battlefield and succeeded in treating 13 more men before his medical supplies ran out. Displaying resourcefulness, he saved the life of one man by placing a plastic bag over a severe chest wound to congeal the blood. As one of the platoons pursued the Viet Cong, an insurgent force in concealed positions opened fire on the platoon and wounded many more soldiers. With a new stock of medical supplies, Sp6c. Joel again shouted words of encouragement as he crawled through an intense hail of gunfire to the wounded men. After the 24-hour battle subsided and the Viet Cong dead numbered 410, snipers continued to harass the company. Throughout the long battle, Sp6c. Joel never lost sight of his mission as a medical aidman and continued to comfort and treat the wounded until his own evacuation was ordered. His meticulous attention to duty saved a large number of lives and his unselfish, daring example under most adverse conditions was an inspiration to all. Sp6c. Joel's profound concern for his fellow soldiers, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country."  Lawrence Joel was born February 22, 1928 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and died February 04, 1984 in Winston-Salem.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
     
  • Johnson, Gilbert H. "Hashmark" - This distinguished African-American was from Mount Hebron, Alabama.  In 1923 he joined the army and was discharged in 1929 as a corporal.  He then joined the Navy and served in that branch of service for nearly ten years.  He was on the USS Wyoming during the attack on Pearl Harbor, and served on Guam during World War II.  He transferred from the Navy to the Marine Corps, serving in it for 17 years as one of the first blacks to join the USMC.  In 1943 he became a drill instructor at Montford Point.  During the Korean War he served with the 1st Shore Party Battalion, then with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines.  He continued in the Korean War as an advisor at Headquarters, Korean Marines.  In 1974 Montford Point Camp was renamed Camp Johnson in honor of his distinguished career in the Marine Corps.  He died of a heart attack on August 5, 1972 in Jacksonville, North Carolina. 
     
  • Johnson, Rosamond Jr. - "Born in Florida in 1933, Rosamond Johnson, Jr., joined the army at 15. He was the first African American from Escambia County to die in Korea. Johnson served in the 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Division. Private First Class Johnson was killed in action on July 26, 1950, after carrying two wounded men to safety, for which he received the Purple Heart posthumously. The county named a blacks-only beach for him in the 1950s. Today Johnson Beach is part of Gulf Islands National Seashore, where a monument in his honor was placed in 1996. Johnson was buried at Barrancas National Cemetery on April 23, 1952 (Section 8, Grave 65)[Source: www.cem.va.gov]
     
  • Johnson, Rufus Winfield - Born May 1, 1911 in Montgomery County, Maryland, Johnson served as White House butler for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930.  He graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1934 and Howard's law school in 1939.  He passed the District of Columbia bar exam in October of 1941 and the next month he was called to active duty as a Reserve infantry officer.  He was shipped to Italy with the all-black 92nd Infantry Division in 1944.  He was discharged from the Army in February of 1946.  He opened a private law practice in D.C., but moved to California in 1949 and opened a private practice there.  In October of 1950 he was recalled to active duty and deployed to Korea in September 1951.  There he was appointed as Assistant Staff Judge Advocate at Headquarters, 2nd Logistical Command.  He also served as defense counsel at special courts-martial held in Korea.  After leaving active duty he remained in the Army Reserve.  He transferred to JAG Corps on February 20, 1959.  He continued serving in the Army Reserve, retiring in 1971 as a Lieutenant Colonel.  He closed his law practice in 1978.  He died July 1, 2007.
     
  • Jones, James Earl - actor.  Born January 17, 1931 in Arkabutla, Mississippi, at the end of the summer of 1953 he enlisted in the ROTC and then got orders to Ft. Benning, Georgia, to attend Basic Infantry Officers School.  He said he washed out of Ranger School.  His regiment was established as a cold weather training unit at Old Camp Hale near Leadville, Colorado.  He never saw live action in Korea.  He was discharged as a 1st Lieutenant.  During college he joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps and became a cadet on the Pershing Rifles Drill Team.  The recipient of Tony Awards, a Grammy Award, an Oscar and an Emmy, he was also the voice of Darth Vadar in Star Wars.
     
  • Jones, William - This successful entrepreneur in Tacoma, Washington was also the founder of the Ninth and Tenth (Horse) Cavalry Museum in Tacoma.  Born July 15, 1918 in Arkansas, he was one of the last Buffalo Soldiers.  He enlissted in the US Army on March 5, 1941 and was assigned to the 10th Cavalry.  The 9th and 10th Cavalry integrated into the Army Air Corps during World War II with the mission to build airfields for B-17 bombers in North Africa and Italy.  He also had assignments in Casablanca, Morocco, Naples, Italy, and Manila, Philippines.  In 1946 he was assigned to an all-black unit, the 503rd Field Artillery Battalion attached to the 2nd Infantry Division.  He arrived in Korea on August 3, 1950 and when his unit was overran he was taken Prisoner of War at Pyok-Dong for three years.  After 20 years of service he retired in 1961 as a Master Sergeant.  William Jones died December 3, 2009 at the age of 91.
     
  • Jordan, Eddie Jack - This acclaimed artist was born July 29, 1925, in Wichita Falls, Texas.  He received a bachelor's degree from Langston University in Oklahoma and then a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1949 from  the State University of Iowa.  He entered the military, serving from 1950-52.  He was commissioned to draw illustrations for training aids while serving, and later became art editor and chief cartoonist for the Fort Campbell, Kentucky post newspaper.  He was discharged in 1952.  He was artist and head of the Department of Fine Arts at Southern University of New Orleans from 1961 until his death in 1999.  Among his famous works are Going Home, Negro Girl Skipping Rope, and an untitled mural at Southern University that was destroyed in the Katrina flood.  Professor Jordan died on December 9, 1999.
     
  • Joshua, Ernest P. Sr. - He and his wife Thelma founded J.M. Products, Inc., the largest black-owned company in Arkansas.  Their multi-million dollar company manufactures ethnic haircare products.  He was born November 03, 1928 and enlisted in the Army in 1946.  He was discharged in 1949 and then recalled to active duty in the Army, serving from 1953-56, including time in Korea.  Mr. Joshua died September 22, 2005.
     
  • Karim, Benjamin - Born Benjamin Goodman in 1932 in Suffolk, Virginia, Karim served in the US Air Force during the Korean War.  After he left the military he worked as a recording engineer for a recording company.  In 1957, influenced by Malcolm X, he converted to Nation of Islam, called himself Benjamin 2X, and became one of the closest aides to Malcolm X.  He was an African-American historian and civil rights leader.  Karim died August 2, 2005.
     
  • Kennard, Clyde - Kennard served seven years in the US Army--first in post-war Germany and then as a paratrooper in the Korean War.  He gained notoriety in 1969 when he dared to attempt to enroll in the all-white Mississippi Southern College.  He ultimately ended up in prison, framed and found guilty of various felonies by an all-white jury. The charges against him were later debunked and he gained his freedom, but the felony conviction precluded him from ever applying for admittance into an all-white college.  Born in 1927, Kennard died in 1963 of cancer.
     
  • Knight, Etheridge - Knight was born April 19, 1931 in Corinth, Mississippi.  He tried to join the military underage, but was kicked out.  He rejoined at age 18 and served as a medical technician in Korea until he was discharged after receiving shrapnel wounds in 1951.  While in Korea he became addicted to drugs and that addiction continued after he returned to the States.  To fund his habit he turned to crime and spent eight years in Indiana State Prison in Michigan City as a result.  In 1963 he began to write poems in prison.  His first work was Poems from Prison, published in 1968.  After he became one of the most popular poets in the Black Arts Movement, he became a writer-in-residence at the University of Pittsburgh, Hartford University, and Lincoln University.  His most critically acclaimed work was Born of a Woman: New and Selected Poems.  Knight died March 10, 1991 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
     
  • Lane, Dick "Night Train" - After one season at Scottsbluff Junior College in Nebraska, Lane joined the army at age 19.  He was a lieutenant colonel in World War II and the Korean War.  After his military service he played football for the Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Cardinals, and Detroit Lions.  In his 14-year career he played in seven Pro-Bowl All-Star games.  He retired      in the 1965 season was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974.  Night Train Lane died in 2002.
     
  • Ledbetter, Charles W.  - "Charles W. Ledbetter was born in April 1922 in Tennessee and entered military service in October 1942. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps and served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Master Sergeant Ledbetter trained at Tuskegee. During the Korean conflict he was a top turret gunner. As a civilian, Ledbetter taught disabled children at Perris Union High School and became president of the Moreno Valley School Board. In that position, he advocated for minority populations in the community. Ledbetter’s advocacy also was felt in his work as a columnist for Black Voice News. Ledbetter died July 23, 2003, and is interred in Riverside National Cemetery (Section 26, Grave 1426)."  [Source: www.cem.va.gov]
     
  • Lemon, George Meadow III - Known as Meadowlark Lemon throughout his basketball career, Lemon was born April 25, 1932 in Wilmington, North Carolina.  He attended Florida A&M University, but while there he was drafted into the US Army.  He served two years overseas in Austria and West Germany.  In 1957 he joined the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team.  The "Clown Price of Basketball" played 16,000 games with the comical and theatrical Globetrotters.  Later he played with the Basketeers and the Shooting Stars, formed his own Globetrotter's-liek team Meadowlark Lemon's Harlme All Stars, and then again with the Globetrotters.  In 1986 he became an ordained minister.  Meadowlark Lemon died December 27, 2015 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
     
  • Levine, Donald - Creator of Hasbro's G.I. Joe action figure (based on a concept of "outfitted action figures" created by Stanley Weston) and the Kenya doll series.  Raised in Forest Hills, Queens, and Great Neck, Long Island, Levine attended Syracuse University where he got a degree in business administration.  He was drafted into the Army and participated in the Inchon Landing in September of 1950 with an army infantry unit.  After discharge he tried various business adventures before going to work for Hasbro in 1959.  By 1963 Levine was vice president and director of marketing and development for Hasbro Toys.  G.I. Joe was created by Levine in 1963 and released to the public in 1964.  G.I. Joe has now netted over $500 billion in worldwide sales.  In an interview with the 700 Club, Levine said, "For almost two years I served in the Korean War and the word ‘heroes’ became very important to me,” Don said. “Men I served with insured that I came home safely, and so I wanted to create a line called ‘GI Joe - A Real American Hero’ in order to recognize and appreciate my life, because of those military heroes; and incidentally are still our Heroes around the world today!”  Donald Levine left Hasbro in 1975 to form his own successful toy development company.  He developed "Kenya"--one of the best selling dolls in the world.  The doll is particularly marketed to African-American girls.  Levine and John Michlig co=authored the book, "GI Joe: The Story Behind the Legend; An illustrated history of America's greatest fighting man".
     
  • Light, Joe Louis - A follower of modern art with focus on transcendentalism, Joe Light was an American painter.  He enlisted in the Army in March of 1951 but was discharged in August of 1951.  He stated that he hurt his arm when he found out he was going to be sent to Korea.  He was imprisoned from 1954-55 for armed robbery of a grocery store and then imprisoned again 1960-1968.  After he left prison he married and raised a family of ten children near Memphis, Tennessee.
     
  • Lindsey, Perry Willis -  Perry Willis Lindsey was born in New Albany, Indiana, in 1922. He was studying at Indiana State Teachers College in November 1942 when he enlisted in the Army in nearby Louisville, Kentucky. As a warrant officer, Private Lindsey trained as a navigator, bombardier and pilot. He reenlisted in 1944. During the two-year tour he graduated from flight school at Tuskegee with the rank of second lieutenant. Lindsey fought in Korea, 1951-1953, with the U.S. Air Force. As a civilian, Lindsey earned a commercial pilot license but was unemployable due to airline-industry practices. Lindsey returned to teaching, and in 1969 became the first African-American principal and administrator in the Unified School District at Long Beach, CA. He retired in 1987 and the city’s Perry Lindsey International Studies Magnet school is named for him. First Lieutenant Perry died January 30, 2004, and is buried at Riverside National Cemetery (Sec 52B, Grace 274)" [Source: www.cem.va.gov]
     
  • McEachin, James - This decorated Korean War veteran, actor, producer, director, and author was born May 20, 1930 in Rennert, North Carolina.  He served in the US Army before and during the Korean War.  In Korea he served in King Company, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.  He received a Silver Star for actions in Korea.  (See Silver Star section of this page.)  After leaving the military McEachin was a fireman and a policeman.  He also was a record producer known as "Jimmy Mack" who worked with recording artists such as Otis Reddy.  In the 1960s he was a contract actor, making guest appearances (more than 150 film and television credits) on shows such as Rockford Files, Mannix, Dragnet, It Takes a Thief, Dirty Harry, Perry Mason, etc.  He semi-retired from acting in the 1990s and authored numerous books.  He worked tirelessly to honor veterans, including writing, producing, directing, and acting in Old Glory
     
  • Mack, Henry W. - Dr. Mack is a native of Detroit who enlisted in the Army in 1947.  He served in Korea in 1952 with Company C, 808th Engineer Aviation Battalion, SCARWAF.  He remained in the Army for more than 20 years.  Among his assigned posts were the Presidio, commanding officer of the Nike Hercules Missile Base in Carleton, Michigan, and the Pentagon.  After his retirement he was chairman and CEO of Traintex, Inc., a management consulting firm.  He was a civil rights advocate for more than 60 years, and a volunteer to schools and the community of Dade County, Florida.
     
  • Mays, Willie - Player with the New York Giants, San Francisco Giants, and New York Mets.  Drafted.  Served in the U.S. Army in the Korean War 1952-54.  He reported for duty in the Army May 29, 1952, was inducted at Camp Kilmer in New Jersey and then sent to Ft. Eustis, Virginia, where he spent most of his time in the Army playing baseball.  He missed 266 regular baseball games due to his military service.  At Ft. Eustis he was initially assigned to the Transportation Replacement Training Center for eight weeks of basic training.  He then became an instructor in physical training and a baseball instructor.  He never went overseas.  He played baseball for the Ft. Eustis Wheels ball team, lived off base and also played weekend games for the semi-pro black team, "Newport News Royals."  He filed for early discharge due to the fact that he had 12 dependents, but the Army refused to release him from duty, even when his pregnant mother died in childbirth while Mays was at Ft. Eustis.  Mays chipped a bone in his left foot while sliding into third base during a game for Ft. Eustis on July 25, 1953.  His foot was in a cast for six weeks and he was confined to the base hospital. He was released from military duty in March of 1954.
     
  • Meredith, James Howard - Born on June 25, 1933 in Kosciusko, Mississippi, Meredith served in the US Air Force for nine years after high school graduation.  Five years into his service he was posted to Japan in 1956 and received his honorable discharge in 1960.  He attended the all-black Jackson State College and then enrolled in the all-white University of Mississippi.  He was accepted, but his application was later rejected when his race was made known.  He sued the university and the case ended in the Supreme Court in his favor.  He authored Three Years in Mississippi, and became a political activist.  He ran unsuccessfully for the House of Representatives and the US Senate, but remained in politics. 
     
  • Minter, Iverson - Better known by his stage name, Louisiana Red, Minter was a blues guitarist, harmonica player and singer who recorded more than 50 albums.  His most well-known song was Sweet Blood Call.  He joined the US Army as a parachutist and trained as a parachutist with the 82nd Airborne.  When he was sent to Korea in 1951, he was assigned as a Ranger with the 3rd Infantry Division.
     
  • Montgomery, Charles Sr. - Montgomery was born in 1918 in Waco, Texas.  He joined the Air Force, serving in Italy during World War II and was later in the Korean War, attaining the rank of sergeant.  He moved to Jackson, Michigan in 1956 when he became supervisor in the psychiatric clinic at Southern Michigan Prison.  He held that job until retirement in 1984.  A community organizer, in the 1950s he led the United Civic Association of Jackson and formed the Association of Neighborhood Block Clubs in the 1960s and the Southside Self-Help Neighborhood Improvement Association in the 1980s.  According to author McKenna Ross, "Beyond neighborhood improvement, Montgomery was a union delegate for state employees and recorded the stories of African American veterans, including those who served in World War II with the Tuskegee Airmen – a group in which he also received training – to make sure they weren’t forgotten. Montgomery also was commander of the Jackson County American Legion and earned a lifetime membership title from Sauk Trail Post No. 246 in 1997."  Montgomery died in 2001.
     
  • Moore, Rudy Kay - actor, singer, comedian, producer.  Born Rudolph Frank Moore on March 17, 1927, in Fort Smith, Arkansas, Rudy was drafted into the Army in 1950 and served in an entertainment unit in Germany.  While serving in the Army for 34 months, he adopted the persona "Harlem Hillbilly".  He also performed for troops in South Korea and Japan.  Following his military service his life was devoted to acting, singing, and other forms of entertainment.  He was well-known for creating the comic character "Dolemite".  Rudy died on October 19, 2008 in Akron, Ohio.
     
  • Morris, Francis Gregory Alan - This American actor was best known for his starring role as Barney Collier on Mission Impossible.  He also appeared in The Six Million Dollar Man, Vega$, Password and more.  He was born September 27, 1933 in Cleveland.  He served in the US Army during the Korean War (1952-1955).  He died August 27, 1996.
     
  • Morrow, Everett Frederic - [See African-American Firsts on this page.]
     
  • Morton, Herwald "Hal" - His 30-year military career was mostly working in the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) as a personnel officer, management and budget officer, and executive officer.  He was born July 19, 1931 in Little Rock.  He joined the US Air Force and from 1949-1954 he served in Alaska, Germany, and France.  While with the USIA he lived in Jamaica, Bolivia, Bangkok, Thailand, and the Philippines.  He held the ranks of 1st Lieutenant and Career Minister and earned numerous accolades for his devotion to the military and his country.
     
  • Newcombe, Don "Newk" - player with the Brooklyn Dodgers 1949-51 and 1954-58.  Born July 14, 1926 in Madison, New Jersey, he was the first African-American pitcher in MLB.  "Newcombe pitched in the Negro Leagues before breaking in with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949. He led the Dodgers to the pennant with 17 victories, winning the National League Rookie of the Year award. And he kept getting better; he won 19 games in 1950 and 20 games in 1951. Then he was drafted. He missed two seasons, and when he returned, he went just 9-8 with a 4.55 ERA in 1954. A year later, he helped lead the Dodgers to their first World Series title, and he won the NL MVP and NL Cy Young awards in 1956." [Source: Bob Nightengate, USA Today, July 01, 2013]  Newcombe served in the Army Medical Corps, mostly as part of a special demonstration unit at Brooke Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.  He had tried to join the Army in 1942 but was underage.  He then joined the Navy in 1943, but was discharged after a month because he was still underage. He served in the Army during the Korean War (1952-1953), physically training
    recruit Army doctors at Camp Pickett, Texas. Newcombe was the only man in baseball history to receive all three of the sport's major awards: Rookie of the Year, Cy Young Award, and Most Valuable Player.
     
  • Noble, Gilbert Edward - black television broadcaster and journalist.  He was born February 22, 1932 in Harlem, New York, and graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1949.  He was drafted into the Army during the Korean War and served as a medic.  After his military service he became a reporter for WLIB in 1962 and WLIB in 1962.  In 1967 he joined WABC-TV.  He was the host of "Like It Is" for 43 years.  The show became the second longest-running US black public affairs program.  He was the recipient of 11 Emmy awards.  In 1984 he established the National Black Archives of Film and Broadcasting.  He died April 5, 2012.
     
  • Outterbridge, John Wilfred - This high regarded artist and community activist was born March 12, 1933 in Greenville, North Carolina.  He used discarded materials to explore issues surrounding personal identity (family, community, environment).  He attended Agricultural and Technical University at Greensboro, North Carolina, to study mechanical engineering.  He left his studies to join the U.S. military.  His tour of duty took him to Europe.  After discharge in 1956 he attended Chicago Academy of Art and later the American Academy of Art.  He was director of the Watts Towers Arts Center, participated in group and solo exhibitions, received the California African-American Museum lifetime achievement award, and was awarded fellowships.  He died November 12, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
     
  • Peete, Charles "Charlie" Jr. - professional baseball player for St. Louis Cardinals, 1956.  He was drafted into the Army in 1951.  According to the Society for American Baseball Research, "While his military service cut into his professional career, he nonetheless spent most of his two-year hitch playing baseball. Initially, it was for his post team at Camp Pickett in Virginia. There, according to the Norfolk Journal and Guide, the African-American newspaper for his hometown, he batted clean-up and hit .382. When the Army sent him to Asia for fifteen months, until his discharge in 1953, he was a member of the Special Services division, playing baseball as well as football to entertain American troops in Japan and Korea."  He was honorably discharged in 1953.  Born February 22, 1929, in Franklin, Virginia, he played in the Negro League before moving into the major league.  He was only in pro ball one year (1956).  En route to play winter ball, he was killed in a plane crash at age 27 along with his wife, Nettie, and their three small children, Ken, Karen and Deborah. There is a little league baseball field named in his honor in Portsmouth, Virginia, the city where he grew up.
     
  • Pennington, Roscoe Cleveland - This World War II and Korean War veteran was one of three African-Americans who lost their lives when the submarine USS Thresher (SSN 593) was lost as sea on April 10, 1963Born on October 3, 1924 in Texas, he grew up in Fort Worth.  He enlisted in the Navy in January 1943 and served as an electrician's mate during World War II.  He took part in six war patrols aboard submarines USS Sea Dragon SS194 and USS Spikefish SS404.  He served in the Pacific during the Korean War.  His final assignment was on the Thresher as part of the commissioning crew. The Thresher was the first submarine in a new class of nuclear fast-attack subs.  Pennington's job on the Thresher was lead chief reactor technician.  The submarine's nuclear reactor shut down while undergoing deep-diving tests and she sank under the sea's water pressure.  Roscoe Pennington was one of the 129 Navy sailors and civilians who died in this tragedy.  Pennington was survived by a six-year-old son, Gregory.
     
  • Pierce, Harold E. - This renowned dermatologist was born April 4, 1922 in Philadelphia.  He received a Bachelor's degree from Lincoln University in 1942 and then received a Medical Degree in 1946 from Howard University's College of Medicine.  During the Korean War he was assigned chief of dermatology at the 1600 US Air Force Hospital at Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts.  In 1954 he became general medical officer with the 111th Fighter Bomber unit.  He resigned from the Air Force National Guard in 1976 and was promoted in 1987 to brigadier general while on the retirement list.  Active in civil rights and a friend of Martin Luther King, he authored Cosmetic Plastic Surgery on Non-White Patients in 1982.  For several years he was assistant professor of dermatology at Howard University.  He died October 25, 2006 at the age of 84.
     
  • Redman, Walter Dewey - A saxophonist and jazz musician of note, Redman was born May 17, 1931 and died September 2, 2006.  Just after the active war in Korea ended, he was drafted into the U.S. Army.  He was stationed in El Paso, Texas, where he played in clubs at night.  During his jazz career he played with Keith Jarrett's American Quartet, Charlie Haden, Pat Metheny and Ornette Coleman.  He died on September 02, 2006.
     
  • Rhodes, Harry (Hari) - Born April 10, 1932 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Rhodes lied about his age to enlist in the Marine Corps at age 15.  During the Korean War he gained the rank of Sergeant and led a reconnaissance platoon behind enemy lines.  He was wounded at the Chosin Reservoir.  After his military service he became an actor and writer.  He appeared in 66 films or television programs during his career, including Conquest of the Plant of the Apes.  He authored the book Chosin Few which featured information about black Marines in combat.  Rhodes died January 15, 1992 in Canoga Park, Los Angeles, California.
     
  • Robinson, Jim - "Robinson was a New York City native who played for the Philadelphia Stars, Indianapolis Clowns, and Kansas City Monarchs between 1952-1958, earning multiple selections to the famed East-West All-Star Game as an infielder. A Korean War veteran who once played in the Negro League, Robinson worked as the head baseball coach at South Carolina State University before returning to New York where he worked for the NYC Housing Authority for 28 years." [Source: Forbes Magazine]
     
  • Shambrey, Joseph Jr. - Born December 12, 1923 in Los Angeles, California, Shambrey enlisted in the Army Air Corps on October 27, 1942.  He served with the Tuskegee airmen in Italy with the 100th Fighter Squadron of the Air Corps' 332nd Fighter Group.  H was a mechanic during World War II and then a National Guard combat engineer during the Korean War.  Joseph Shambrey died January 05, 2015 in Los Angeles.
     
  • Shivers, Clarence Laudric - Clarence Laudric Shivers was born on October 14, 1923 in St. Louis, Missouri, and departed this life February 17, 2007. His parents, Clarence and Flossie Shivers, and his two older sisters, Alice and Claryce preceded him in death. Clarence volunteered into the military during World War II. The high score he received on the entrance exam qualified him to be accepted into the elite Tuskegee Program, where the first black military pilots were being trained. He loved flying and always said he felt "at home" the first time he sat in a cockpit. After the war ended, Clarence concentrated on completing his education. He is a graduate of Summer High School in St. Louis and an honors graduate of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, where he received a BFA Degree. His senior project, a huge mural at the Carver Community Center in Peoria, is still in existence today. After college, Clarence taught art at Jackson State University until recalled to military service during the Korean War, when pilots were much needed. He remained in the Air Force until his retirement in 1969 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Upon retirement, he and his wife Peggy relocated to Madrid, Spain where they remained for ten years. Though a career military man, Clarence always maintained an active art studio. In Spain he was able to paint full time for the first time. He became well known throughout Europe for his paintings of Spanish Guardias and colorful abstracts. One of his paintings from this time was featured prominently in the film "A Piece of the Action", directed by Sydney Poitier. The Shivers returned to live in the United States in 1979, settling in Colorado Springs where Clarence established a studio and continued to pursue his artistic endeavors. He was commissioned by Miller Brewing Company to create their 1983 and 1986 historic calendars entitled "Civil Rights Leaders" and "Black Political Firsts" respectively. In 1985, Clarence was commissioned by the Hooks Jones Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen to sculpt a life-sized statue as a memorial to the Tuskegee Airmen. It was unveiled May of 1988 and stands proudly on the grounds of the USAFA. In 1993, Clarence and his wife established the African American Historical and Cultural Collection at Pikes Peak Library District. They also established the Shivers Fund at the Library, which supports a concert series and encourages young people in the arts by awarding grants and providing educational opportunities. Clarence is survived by his wife, Peggy; two daughters, Saundra Jenkins (St. Louis, Missouri) and Karen Shivers (Seattle, Washington); and two sons, Carver Shivers (Houston, Texas) and Hugh Flake (Ft. Worth, Texas); two nephews, six grand children, two great grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren as well as a host of cousins and dear friends. He will be greatly missed by all. A memorial celebration of his life will be held at 11:00 a.m. Sat, March 3 at Sunrise United Methodist Church located on Briargate Blvd. near Union. Inurnment will take place at the United States Air Force Academy immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Shivers Fund at Pikes Peak Library District, Peoples United Methodist Church, or Pikes Peak Hospice. [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Simpson, Merton Daniel - An abstract expressionist and painter, as well as collector and dealer of African and tribal art.  He was the first African-American to receive a prestigious five-year fellowship from the Charleston Scientific and Cultural Education Fund.  He left South Carolina in 1949 and attended New York University and then Cooper Union.  He enlisted in the Air Force in 1951 and had basic training at Griffiss Air Force Base near Utica, New York.  He was assigned to Special Services and also played in the Air Force band, but he was an official Air Force artist, painting portraits of a number of commanders, including Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Some of his paintings are still on display in the Pentagon.  Simpson was a member of the Spiral Group, formed so African-American artists could discuss political and social issues of the times.  He died March 9, 2013 in Manhattan, New York.
     
  • Small, Wheeler - This New Yorker was an African-American smokejumper during World War II (the Triple Nickles) and then went on to serve as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne in Korea.  He received two Purple Hearts.  He and other black Rangers were among the first black paratroopers in combat in Korea.
     
  • Smith, Clarence Edward - Also known as Clarence 13X and Allah the Father, Smith served in the Army during the Korean War.  After returning he joined the Nation, but later broke off and established the "Five Percent Nation" in Harlem, encouraging African-Americans to fight for racial equality and self-determination.  Smith was assassinated in Harlem on June 13, 1969, and his assassin was never determined.
     
  • Sowell, Thomas - The author of more than 30 books that he wrote from a libertarian conservative perspective, Sowell is an American economist, social theorist, and senior fellow at the Hoover Institute.  He served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. Sowell was born June 30, 1930.
     
  • Stewart, Ernest "Pete" - Born on May 9, 1929 in Newport News, Virginia, Ernest Stewart played quarterback at Virginia State College.  He served two years in the army during the Korean War, serving in a segregated African-American unit based in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.  After training in artillery he was deployed to Korea and served in combat.  After military service he attended Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry.  In 1955 he was a lab assistant for both Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin during the search for a cure for polio. He moved to Akron, Ohio in 1961, and opened the first black-owned business on Copley Road in Akron.  This busy dentist took time from his regular schedule to take care of the dental needs of children at the Akron Children's Home and inmates at Summit County jail.  He was a fierce advocate for civil rights.  He died April 22, 2020 of Covid.
     
  • Sullivan, Larance - Sullivan was one of three African-American soldiers who chose not to return to the United States after the active war in Korea ended.  He returned to the USA in 1958 and died November 2014.
     
  • Sutton, Percy - civil rights activist and lawyer who represented controversial figures such as Malcolm X in 1965.  Sutton became the highest-ranking African-American elected official in New York City in 1966.  He was the elected president of Manhattan borough, serving until 1977.  He was influential as leader of the Harlem Clubhouse.  Percy Sutton was born November 24, 1920 in San Antonio, Texas.  He enlisted in the army in World War II, and served as an intelligence officer with the Tuskegee Airmen.  He was discharged as captain.  He then enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean War and worked as an Air Force Intelligence Officer.  He returned to civilian life in 1953.  Sutton died December 26, 2009 at the age of 89.
     
  • Tate, Charles William - "Life-long Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, resident Charles William Tate was born in 1922, and he left Oliver High School in December 1942 to join the U.S. Army Air Corps. He attended the pilot-training program at Tuskegee and graduated in 1943. Second Lieutenant Tate served overseas during World War II, 1944-1945. He achieved the rank of first lieutenant in the Air Corps, and reenlisted during the Korean conflict. Tate returned to Pittsburgh and civilian service as a postmaster and manager. Captain Tate received the Distinguished Flying Cross, among other honors, and was recognized posthumously with the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the Tuskegee Airmen in 2006. Tate died November 18, 2005, and is buried at National Cemetery of the Alleghenies (Section 1, Grave 1118)."  [Source:  www.cem.va.gov]
     
  • Thomas, Earnest "Chilly Willy" - Born on November 20, 1935 in Jonesboro, Louisiana, Thomas was a co-founder and leading force in the Deacons for Defense and Justice, an armed black self-defense militia that helped protect civil rights workers from the Ku Klux Klan.  Earnest Thomas was a Korean War veteran (US Air Force) and the vice president of the first chapter of the Deacons in Jonesboro.  He died on February 21, 2006 in California.  The father of five children, he is buried in Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier, California.
     
  • Townsend, Edward Benjamin - "Edward Benjamin Townsend was born in 1929 and as a child sang in his father’s African Methodist Episcopal church. He graduated from Arkansas State College before enlisting in the Marines in 1951. Corporal Townsend served for two years in Korea, where he was discovered by bandleader Horace Heidt. With Heidt, Townsend toured Asia before he settled in Los Angeles, where he would write more than 200 songs – most notably, “Let’s Get It On” with Marvin Gaye. Townsend died August 13, 2003, and is buried at Riverside National Cemetery (Section BA, Grave C-213)." [Source:www.cem.va.gov]
     
  • Tunstall, Edward H. - Edward was born in 1923 and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He graduated in 1941 from Northwestern High School. He joined the Army Air Corp, but WW II ended before he got a chance to fly the famous red-tailed P-51 Mustangs of the Tuskegee Airmen in combat. He was among the last of the groundbreaking Tuskegee Airmen trained in 1945 to fly the Army Air Corps’ high-performance fighters. They were the unit had been the first African-Americans trained as Air Corps pilots, and many of them served with distinction in the skies over Europe. The war ended before his class could be shipped overseas. He returned to college in Detroit after leaving the military. He earned a degree in accounting in 1950 from Detroit Institute of Technology and joined the Internal Revenue Service in 1951. He worked for 27 years as a revenue officer and in the criminal investigations division. After a brief retirement, he was talked into a second career as an investigator for the Federal Defender’s Office. He retired again in 1997. He served 14 years as treasurer of the Detroit Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen. He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and a life member of the NAACP. He was an avid golfer, too, often using the sport to raise money for charity. He and his golf partners, former Tuskegee Airmen Richard Macon, Lou Johnson and Richard Jennings, raised thousands of dollars for charity every year playing in various tournaments. They last played together in May at the annual Multiple Sclerosis Longest Day tournament. He died from liver cancer in Sinai Grace Hospital, only three weeks after being diagnosed with the disease. Survivors include his wife of 41 years, Marlena; two daughters, Michele Tunstall and Nichol Smiley; three grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and a sister.  He died November 11, 2005. [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Walden, Capt. Roger Stanley - Commanding Officer, 24th Infantry.  He was the second longest-serving rifle company commander in frontline action in Korea.  "Pioneering paratrooper Roger Stanley Walden was born on May 21, 1922 in Des Moines, Iowa. Attending St. Anselm’s School in Chicago and Barber Intermediate School, Munger School, and Chadsey Schools in Detroit, Walden graduated from Eastern High School in 1941. A tool apprentice at Ford at the onset of World War II, Walden enlisted on December 7, 1942. Assigned to the 365th Infantry Regiment, Walden volunteered for the first black test platoon of 20 paratroopers. At Parachute School in Fort Benning, Georgia, Walden and fifteen others earned their parachute wings as the Sweet Sixteen in February of 1944, becoming the first African American paratroopers in United States military history. Promoted to sergeant in the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, Walden and his group were transferred to Camp Mackall, North Carolina. Walden received his commission as a second lieutenant of infantry in March of 1945 when he finished Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning. After receiving special training to combat Japanese balloon bombs at Camp Pendleton, Oregon, the 555th was soon deployed as Army fire jumpers. Shipped to Gifu, Honshu, Japan in 1949, Walden served as commander of Company A of the 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division of the Far East Command. In 1950, Walden as a captain commanded Company F in Pusan, Korea and he was made a Battalion S4 before being rotated back to the United States. Promoted to Major, Walden served in Europe from 1957 to 1960 with the 3rd Armored Rifle Battalion, 51st Infantry, 4th Armored Group. Earning his B.A. degree in social studies from San Francisco State University under the Army’s Bootstrap Program, Walden was promoted to lieutenant colonel. He taught military science at Central State University until his retirement in 1966. Walden worked as manager of the City of Detroit’s Vacant Housing Rehabilitation Program until 1984. Walden passed away on September 17, 2013."  [Source: "Pioneer African-American Smokejumper Laid to Rest at Arlington National Cemetery., U.S. Department of Agriculture, February 21, 2017]
     
  • Waller, Calvin Agustine Hoffman - environmental leader.  Born December 17, 1937 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he entered the Army in August of 1959.  In December 1963 he was made chief of the Chemical, Biological, and Radiological Center in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, 7th Logisti Command, 8th US Army in Korea.  He retired from the Army on November 30, 1991 as one of the highest ranking African-Americans in the armed forces.  In July 1995 he joined the environmental contractor Kaiser-Hill as Senior Vice President for Department of Energy programs.  Between 1995 and 2005, Haiser-Hill managed a cleanup of radioactive hazardous materiaqls from Rocky Flats, a former nuclear weapons plant outside of Denver.  Waller died of a heart attack on May 9, 1996 while visiting Washington, D.C.
     
  • Washington, Johnny - Born April 20, 1930, Johnny Washington played for the Chicago American Giants and the Houston Eagles in baseball's Negro League. Washington was born in Chicago and attended that city's Morgan Park High School, graduating in 1949. In 1951 Washington joined the U.S. Marine Corps, serving in Korea. He played on the Marine's national championship baseball team in 1952. Washington received two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star. Doctors advised him to abandon baseball because of injuries he received during military service. He continued to play in minor leagues until 1959 and in the Chicago and Midwest League until 1963.
     
  • Washington, Sherman Jr. - Leader of the Zion Harmonizers and the godfather of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival's Gospel Tent.  The Harmonizers was the longest-running gospel vocal group in New Orleans.  Washington was an Army truck driver during the Korean War, spending 17 1/2 months in Korea.
     
  • Webb, Mayfield Kelvin - Lawyer, civil rights leader and social activist, Mayfield Webb was born November 10, 1927 in Baltimore, Maryland.  After serving in the Army during the Korean War he attended Morgan State University in Maryland and Howard University in Washington, D.C.  He received a law degree from Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College.  In 1963-64 he was president of the Portland Chapter of the NAACP, leading efforts to desegregate Portland's schools.  From 1965 to 1968 he was director for the Metropolitan Steering Committee.  In 1968 he became executive director of the Albina (industrial) Corporation.  In that capacity he worked to enhance blighted neighborhoods in North Portland.  He also served on the board of directors of Goodwill Industries in Portland.  He died October 31, 1996 in Portland.
     
  • Wenn, Charles - This Annapolis graduate was a member of K Company, 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division when he was wounded twice in Korea.  He suffered one severe wound on September 17, 1950, but returned to duty on December 9, 1950.  He was killed in action at Hoengsong, Korea, on February 12, 1951.  He is buried in Brewer Hill Cemetery, Annapolis, Maryland.
     
  • West, James Edward - "James Edward West (February 10, 1931–) was born on February 10, 1931 in Prince Edward County, Virginia. After graduating from high school he attended Hampton University before being drafted to serve in the Korean War, where he earned a Purple Heart. After his return to the U.S. after the war, he transferred to Temple University, where he studied physics. While in school, West worked during the summers as an intern for the Acoustics Research Department at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey. Upon graduation he was hired by Bell Labs to work full-time as an acoustical scientist specializing in electroacoustics, physical and architectural acoustics. In 1960, West teamed with Gerhard M. Sessler, a German-born physicist, to develop an inexpensive, highly sensitive and compact microphone. At the time, condenser microphones were used in most telephones, but were expensive to manufacture and necessitated a large battery source. Microphones convert sound waves into electrical voltages, thus allowing the sound to be transmitted through a cord to a receiver. Their electric microphone solved every problem they were seeking to address. By 1968, the microphone was in wide scale production and was quickly adopted as the industry standard. Approximately 90% of microphones in use today are based on this invention and almost all telephones utilize it, as well as tape recorders, camcorders, baby monitors and hearing aids."   [Source: American Institute of Physics]
     
  • White, William Charles - White was one of three African-American soldiers who chose not to return to the United States after the active war in Korea ended.  He returned to the States in 1965.
     
  • Williams, Archie - Olympic gold medalist.  He set a world record at the NCAA championships with a 46.1 second run and then became a gold medalist at the Berlin Olympics.  After earning a pilot's license, he became one of just 14 African-Americans to be commissioned during World War II in the aviation meteorological cadet program. He went on to serve as a flight instructor and meteorology teacher at Tuskegee.  He retired from the Air Force in 1964 as a Lieutenant Colonel. 
     
  • Williams, Maj. Richard W. - S-2, 24th Infantry Regiment, Korea.  During World War II he was a pioneering officer of the black 555th Parachute infantry Battalion.
     
  • Woodruff, John Youie "Long John" - John was born July 05, 1915 in Connellsville, Pennsylvania.  A middle-distance runner and winner of the 800m event at the 1936 Summer Olympics, he graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1939 and entered the military in 1941 as a second lieutenant.  He was a Tuskegee Airman who was discharged from the service as a captain in 1945.  He re-entered the military during the Korean War and retired in 1957 as a lieutenant colonel  He was battalion commander of the 369th Artillery, later the 569 Transportation Battalion, New York Army National Guard.
     
  • Woodson, Waverly Bernard "Woody" - A decorated World War II veteran, Woodson enlisted in the Army on December 15, 1942.  He became a medic in the racially-segregated 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, receiving a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his acts of bravery on D-Day and beyond.  He received a medical technology degree from Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.  He returned to active duty during the Korean War.  After 1952 he began a long career at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, where he was director of the morgue and taught anatomy classes.  He retired in 1990 as supervisor in the Clinical Pathology Department at the National Institute of Health.  He died on August 12, 2005.

Back to Page Contents

Tuskegee Airmen in the Korean War

In March of 1941 the first African-Americans were accepted into the Air Corps for flight training.  Each of these heroic men experienced prejudice and racism.  Tuskegee Army Air Field was established in July of 1941 and training began on November 1, 1941 with six men (one officer and five flying cadets) in the first class.  The officer was Benjamin O. Davis Jr., a West Point graduate in the Class of 1936 who was also an African-American that had personally experienced racial prejudice.  During the years encompassing World War II, 932 African-Americans became pilots at Tuskegee. Following are just some of them who also served in the Korean War.

  • Abercrombie, George Dewitt - "George Dewitt Abercrombie, 87, departed this life on Friday, December 4, 2009. George was the first of eight children born to George and Vivian Celeste Abercrombie on November 9, 1922 in Plantersville, Alabama. He was raised in the church and confessed Christ at an early age. His family relocated to Birmingham, Alabama when George was young. While attending Ullman High School, he was drafted into the Armed Forces of which he later made a career. During his military career he met and fell in love with his partner for life. While stationed in Germany in 1954, George married Edele Mellein in Heidelberg. George served in the U.S. Army and fought in World War II. He was transferred to the Tuskegee Army Air Field in 1943 and became a member of the pioneering group of African-American pilots, officers and support staff now known as the "Tuskegee Airmen". He was in charge of maintenance of flying records, logging of air time and development of charts for flying acrobatics, cross-country, instrument flying, and flying in formation. During his military service, George taught electronics and communications in the Army's signal school. He matriculated at Howard University; graduated with a certificate from RCA Institute of Technology in 1950 and trained primarily at the Pentagon. During WWII, he participated in radio broadcast and leaflet drops – psychological warfare. He retired from the military in May 1968 as a Chief Warrant Officer after serving 23 years. He graduated from Empire State College in 1974 with a degree in business management and economics. He had also worked toward an M.B.A. at St. John's University. George later took a second career as an engineer at IBM in 1969 and retired as an engineering manager. After retiring from IBM in 1992 he and Edele relocated to Odessa, Florida. In March 2007, George, along with approximately 300 surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen, received Congress's highest honor: The Congressional Gold Medal. He was featured in the State University of New York, Empire State College Alumni and Student News Magazine Fall 2007 article "Flying High: A Tuskegee Airman Gets His Due". George enjoyed music, especially jazz, and dancing including ballroom dancing. He also enjoyed tennis. He was preceded in death by his parents and his siblings, Fred Abercrombie, Bernice A. Harris, Vera A. Mumphrey and Roosevelt Abercrombie. He leaves to cherish his memory: a loving and devoted wife, Edele Abercrombie; one daughter, Gabriele Haffner and her husband, Heinz Haffner; Vista, California, one son, Jules Abercrombie, formerly of Guttenberg, New Jersey; one granddaughter, Nicole Haffner, Vista, California; one brother and his wife, Jesse (Violet) Abercrombie, Parkchester, New York; sisters, Ruby A. Patton, Birmingham, Alabama, Juanita (Jabie) Abercrombie, Las Vegas, Nevada; a sister-in-law, Virginia Patton Abercrombie, Trenton, New Jersey; a special friend, Julia Saunders, New Rochelle, New York; and a host of nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends. [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Adams, Paul - 'Paul Adams, a member of the 332nd Fighter Group, also known as "The Red Tails," died on July 8, 2013 at the age of 92.  He was born August 10, 1920 in Greenville, South Carolina.  Mr. Adams was trained with other black pilots at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Mr. Adams, who would retire from the military as a Lieutenant Colonel, joined the training program upon his graduation from South Carolina State University. The Tuskegee Airmen, called "guardian angels" by the bomber crews they escorted during World War II, would fly over 1500 missions in the European theater. Mr. Adams remained in the Army until 1962 when he retired. Having been transferred to Lincoln, Nebraska, Mr. Adams was hired as a high school history teacher in the city's public school system - one of the first African Americans to teach in Lincoln. (He would also teach the school system's first Black history class.) A former leader of the Lincoln NAACP Mr. Adams retired from teaching in 1982. In 2008 the city of Lincoln honored his contributions by naming a newly built elementary school for him. (The Adams Elementary School's mascot is the "Aviators," of course.) In 2007, Mr. Adams was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal along with all other Tuskegee Airmen for their service during World War II." [Sources: Findagrave, Lincoln Journal-Star, Omaha.com, and Wikipedia.]
     
  • Albert, Judge - Albert was drafted into the Army Air Corps in 1945 and was assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group under Benjamin O. Davis in 1946.  He had maintenance and supply roles with the group.  Later he was with a military police unit in Japan and served in Vietnam.  He retired as a Master Sergeant after 30 years of service.
     
  • Albright, Clay Dan "Buck" - Albright, Colonel Clay Dan Jr. USAF (Ret.), 90, of Richmond, Virginia, formerly of Crescent City, California, died Sunday, November 30, 2008. He is survived by his daughter, Patricia A. Shaw of Kernersville, North Carolina; two sons, Theodore W. Albright of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and Jon M. Albright of Richmond; his brother, George H. Albright of Tuskegee, Alabama; one granddaughter, five grandsons, and three great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a son, Clay D. Albright III. Born December 30, 1917 in New Mexico, Colonel Albright served during three wars: World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. In January of 1942, he was transferred to Tuskegee Army Air Field, Alabama, and trained many of the all-black "Tuskegee Airmen" to become pilots. Some of his original students became noted black airmen including General Benjamin O. Davis (Lt. Gen.) and the first Four Star black General in the Air Force, General Chappie James. Colonel Albright was the recipient of three Bronze Stars and the Air Force Commendation Medal. Interment will be in El Reno Cemetery, El Reno, OK, on Saturday, December 6. The family requests that memorial donations be made to their favorite charity.  [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Anders, Emet R. - Born December 15, 1923, he graduated from Attucks High School in Carbondale, Illinois and then was assigned to Aviation Cadet training at Keesler Field, Biloxi, Mississippi.  He then became a Tuskegee airman who served in World War II and the Korean War.  He died November 18, 1979 at the age of 55 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
     
  • Archer, Chalmers Hammond Jr. - "A combat medical technician, author and educator, administrator, Chalmers Archer, Jr. was born on April 21, 1928, in Holmes County, Tchula, Mississippi, to Chalmers Archer, Sr. and Eva Rutherford Archer. His mother was a teacher/librarian and his father a World War I veteran and longtime farmer. While yet a child, his father and uncles rented a hilltop of more than four hundred acres known as the "Place," where they farmed, cultivated orchards, raised livestock and built smokehouses. The land was sold when Archer Dr. Archer was twelve years old and his family moved to Lexington, Mississippi. After graduating from Ambrose Vocational High School, he attended Tuskegee University for one year before volunteering for the United States Army Air Corps. Dr. Archer was in the United States Army Air Corps for one year and then transferred to the Army. he served on a medical crew as a Master Sergeant Technician during the Korean War, where his unit's job was to retrieve wounded soldiers. In 1952, Archer began training at Fort Bragg's Psychological Warfare Center as part of the newly formed United States Army's Special Forces. His unit was one of the first to enter Vietnam, where he training original Special forces teams of the South Vietnamese Army. On October 21, 1957, Dr. Archer's unit was ambushed and he witnessed the first American combat deaths in Vietnam, as well as saving the lives of American and Vietnamese soldiers. He did not see action in Vietnam again, however, he did see action in Cambodia and Laos. Archer went on to serve in the Philippines, Hawaii, Korea, Taiwan and Panama, as well as in Southeast Asia. He ended his army service in 1967 and went back to school, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree from the Tuskegee Institute in 1972. Dr. Archer earned his Masters of Arts in Education in 1974, and his Doctorate of Philosophy in Counseling and Psychology from Auburn University in 1979. he then completed a twelve-month post-graduate study at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. In 1983, he became a professor of counseling and psychology at Northern Virginia Community College. He later served as assistant to the president at Saint Junior College in Lexington, Mississippi, and assistant to the Vice President at the Tuskegee Institute. Dr. Archer wrote two memoirs, "Growing Up Black in Rural Mississippi," published in 1991 and "Green Berets in the Vanguard," published in 2001. He received the Afro-Achievement Award in 1994 for distinguished lifetime achievement in education from the Dale City Afro-Achievement Committee. Dr. Archer also served as president of the Jennie Dean Project. His remaining siblings are Francis (Louise) Archer, Sr., Washington, DC and Vernon (Madeline) Archer, Sr., Ph.D., Jackson, Mississippi, beloved nieces, nephews, cousins and other relatives. [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Archer, Lee Andrew "Buddy" Jr. - Born September 6, 1919 in Yonkers, New York, he was a Tuskegee airman and ace pilot credited with shooting down four-five enemy planes.  He retired from the military in 1970 and then joined General Foods Corporation, where he became one of the first black corporate vice presidents in the USA.  He retired from General Foods in 1987 and then founded the venture capital firm Archer Asset Management.  He died January 27, 2010 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
     
  • Archer, Rudolph Valentine "Val" - Born April 13, 1929 in Chicago, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group (Tuskegee Airman).  Archer served as an airplane mechanic and aircraft instrument specialist from January 1946 until September 1949. His whole military career with the Army and U.S. Air Force spanned throughout World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War.  After serving in those wars he became an instructor for TITAN 1 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Squadrons. He died October 3, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.
    |
  • Ashby, Robert - "Lt. Col. (Retired) Robert Ashby, USAF, and Captain (Retired) Frontier Airlines, passed away Friday, March 5, 2021 at his home in Sun City, Arizona. He was 95 years old. This Tuskegee Airman was the first African American hired by Frontier Airlines. He was born in Yemassee, South Carolina on July 17, 1926. After his father died, his mother Lillian, brother James, sister Elizabeth, and Bob moved to Jersey City, New Jersey. While in high school, Bob investigated pilot training after hearing of the experiences of black pilots in the 99th Pursuit Squadron of the U.S. Army Air Corps at Tuskegee, Alabama. At seventeen, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet program and was called to active duty in August 1944 after graduating from Ferris High School in Jersey City, New Jersey. Bob was assigned to Keesler Field, MS for basic training and in December 1944 he was sent to Tuskegee, AL to begin aviation training. As a cadet he flew the Stearman PT-17, AT-6, and the B-25. Ashby graduated and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant with the Tuskegee Class of 45-H on November 20, 1945. Second Lieutenant Ashby was assigned to Japan as a part of the U.S. occupying force. Upon his arrival, he was rejected by two white flying units because of his color as the Army was still segregated. Ashby was removed from pilot status and assigned to a black company in the Quartermaster Department in Tokyo, Japan. In May 1949, Ashby was reassigned to the black unit at Lockbourne Airfield, Ohio, and was reinstated to flying status. In August 1949, Ashby was assigned to Wright Patterson AFB for a short tour, then to Cleveland Municipal Airport to a Reserve Troop Carrier Wing. Here he trained Reserve weekend warriors in the T-6 and C-46 aircraft. In 1952, Ashby flew combat in B-26s for a year while stationed in Korea. In 1956, he was assigned to England and flew the T-33, B-45, and B-66 aircraft. Later Ashby trained in the B-47 bomber and later served as a B-47 instructor. In July 1965, Robert Ashby retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after twenty-one years of honorable service in U.S. Air Force. During his career, Bob attended the University of Maryland and U.C.L.A. college programs. Ashby started his commercial aviation career in 1965 with United Airlines as one of their flight operations instructors. He taught in the classroom, on the airplane simulator, and in the 727 aircraft. In 1968, he helped write the training program for the 747 aircraft, including the curriculum, the objectives for the 747, and the instructions for the aircrews. He also served as a classroom and simulator instructor. In 1973, Ashby was employed by Frontier Airlines as a second officer pilot, first officer, and then as captain. He flew the Twin Otter, Convair 580, Boeing 737, and MD-80. He had an outstanding record of precision, quality, courtesy, and safety with Frontier Airlines and over 20,000 flying hours. In addition, he was the first African American pilot to reach mandatory retirement age (60 years) with a major airline. Bob Ashby retired on July 17, 1986. Bob Ashby is survived by his wife, Dorina and three sons. Funeral services will be private due the continued pandemic. For additional information, please contact Joseph Olano, Public Information Officer, Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter, Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. Phone: 951-660-9463."  [Source: American Legion Department of Arizona]
     
  • Bass, Ezekiel Pernie Jr. - Ezekiel P. Bass Jr., 87, of 106 Sylvan Place, died Thursday, Augugst 25, 2005, at Magnolia Manor Nursing Center. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, August 29, 2005, at Andersonville National Historic Site, with the Rev. Jim McIlrath officiating. Grandsons will serve as pallbearers. Asked to serve as honorary pallbearers are members of the American Legion Post #2 of Americus. A native of Dougherty County, Mr. Bass was born August 21, 1918, a son of the late Ezekiel Pernie Bass Sr. and Amelia Power Bass. He served in the Navy, the Army Air Corps, and retired from the United States Air Force as a Major. He served during WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. While in the Air Corps, he served in France, flying 22 aerial missions over Normandy and Germany with 107 combat hours in a C-47. He later served as a guest pilot with the Flying Tigers, while stationed in Okinawa. He was a C-47 pilot and Tropical Meteorologist, having served in Europe and Asia. He was a registered Medical Technologist, President of the Auburn University Independent Semi-Fraternity, Who's Who among Students in American Universities and Colleges, a member of Aeronautical Sciences and the American Meteorological Society. He taught meteorology to the flight students at Tuskegee Institute, and was an Alumnus of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute which is now known as Auburn University. He is mentioned in Tom Brokaw's book. Mr. Bass was a former Commander of the American Legion Post #2 for five years. He was of the Presbyterian faith. A visitation will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., today, at Greg Hancock Funeral Chapel. At other times, friends may call at the residence of Deborah and Gene Allen, 390 Lakewood Ave. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Legion Post #2., P.O. Box 6803, Americus, Georgia 31709.  [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Baugh, Howard Lee - Born January 20, 1920 in Petersburg City, Virginia, Lt. Colonel (Ret.) Howard Lee Baugh, died at the Johnston-Willis Medical Center, Richmond, Virginia, on August 23, 2008. He was a member of the famous Tuskegee Airman. He was born in Petersburg, and attended public schools in Petersburg and Brooklyn, New York. After graduating from Virginia State College (University) in Petersburg in 1941, he decided he wanted to get involved in the war effort. He didn't want to be in the infantry, so he signed up for the Army Air Corps, the precursor to the modern U.S. Air Force and entered the Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet in March 1942. He completed pilot training in November 1942 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. He was one of 994 black pilots to graduate from Tuskegee Army Air Field, Tuskegee, Alabama between 1940 and 1946. In July 1943, Howard Baugh was assigned to the 99th Fighter Squadron in Sicily, Italy. He flew 135 combat missions in P-40s and P-51s. In January 1944, he and his wingman were credited with shooting down on German FW-190 fighter bomber over the Anzio beachhead. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award and the usual theater and campaign medals. In June 2004, the French Government presented Baugh with its highest and most prestigious military award, the French Legion of Honor. During 25 years of active duty he amassed almost 6000 pilot hours, including 250 combat hours. He flew over 15 different types of planes to include 1100 hours in 4 types of jet aircraft. After retirement from the Air Force in 1967 he was employed by Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York. In 1984, he retired from Eastman Kodak and moved back to Virginia. Interment was in Arlington National Cemetery on October 30, 2008. [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Becton, Dennis "Dennie" Jr. - Born July 29, 1926 in Atlanta, Georgia, this Tuskegee airman served in World War II and the Korean War.  After his military service he worked for the San Diego Gas & Electric Company as a communications technician.  He also built model warplanes in his home workshop.  He died November 21, 2005 in San Diego, California, and is buried in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego.
     
  • Biffle, Richard Lee Jr. - Born October 11, 1920, in Pueblo, Colorado, Lt. Colonel Biffle served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.  He died December 7, 2000 and is buried in Fort Logan National Cemetery, Denver, Colorado.


George Washington Biggs
(Click picture for a larger view)

  • Biggs, George Washington - He trained to be a Tuskegee airman in 1943 and was a gunner and navigator-bomber in B-25 Mitchell bombers during World War II.  In the Korean War he flew bomber missions in B-29 and B-26 Marauders.  In Vietnam he flew B-52s.  He died September 19, 2020.
     
  • Bolling, George Richard - Entered into rest on Thursday, March 22, 2007 in San Jose, California at the age of 86. Beloved husband of Dolores Jenkins Bolling. Loving father of George R. Bolling II (Zerelda), John R Bolling and the late Frank Bolling (Mary Lou). Cherished grandfather of Francine M. Bolling. Caring Brother of Gladys Fletcher and the late Edward Bolling (Ellen). Mr. Bolling is also survived by numerous relatives, extended family members and friends.  He served in World War II and the Korean War.  Family and friends are invited to attend a visitation on Friday, March 30, 2007 at 5:00 pm at Oak Hill Funeral Home's Drawing Room Chapel and a funeral service on Saturday, March 31, 2007 at 2 pm, Drawing Room Chapel. Interment will follow at Oak Hill Memorial Park, San Jose. [Source: Findagrave, Published in San Jose Mercury News on March 25, 2007]
     
  • Bonam, Leonelle A. - Born July 13, 1920, this Tuskegee airman served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.  He died July 21, 1991, age 71 and is buried in Biloxi National Cemetery, Biloxi, Mississippi.
     
  • Bonseigneur, Paul J. - Born July 6, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois, he served with the Tuskegee airmen in World War II and then served in the Korean War.  He died August 14, 1985 in Seattle, Washington and is buried in Los Angeles National Cemetery in California.
     
  • Booker, William Lovern - Born April 19, 1923, Booker was a Tuskegee airman who served in World War II and the Korean War.  "One of the first black military aviators known as the Tuskegee Airmen, William L. Booker, has died at the age of 90. Booker's family says he died November 30, 2013, at a Kirkland, Washington, nursing home after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. Booker served as a navigator and flight engineer on B-24 and B-25 bombers with the 477th Bombardment Group based at Godman Field, Kentucky. He flew with all-black crews with pilots trained in Alabama at Tuskegee Institute. After World War II and the Korean War, he worked for Boeing for 34 years. He served 10 years as president of the local Tuskegee Airmen's chapter. Booker is survived by his wife of 45 years, Dolores, two sons, two daughters and grandchildren." [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Bowman, Charles R. - Born on February 25, 1928, Tech Sergeant Bowman served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.  He died April 7, 1993 and is buried in Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, Michigan.
  • Boyd, George Mills - Colonel Boyd joined the Civil Air Patrol in 1943 and then joined the Army Air Corps on January 20, 1944.  He also flew in the Korean War and the Vietnam War.  He became a radar intercept officer and helped protect fuel tanks for bombers in Tule, Greenland.  He retired as a major after 28 years as a combat veteran.  He died on June 21, 2018 at the age of 91.
     
  • Briggs, John F. - John F. Briggs, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen an a fighter pilot during World War II, died Saturday, June 2, 2007, of cancer at home in The Hallmark residence in Creve Coeur. He was 86. He is survived by his wife, Mary Jane (Williams), two brothers, George Carper an Adolphus Briggs. After the war, Mr. Briggs stayed in the military and retired from the Air Force in 1963 as a major. He joined the Federal Aviation Administration testing the skills of commercial pilots. He retired from the FAA in Texas in 1986. Mr. Briggs is depicted in a mural honoring black aviators at Lambert Field. Mr. Briggs was born in St. Louis and graduated from Sumner High School in 1939. He joined the Tuskegee Airmen, a program of the segregated Army Air Forces to train black fighter pilots at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Brissette, Horace H. - On Monday, December 22, 2014, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Horace H. Brissette transitioned into eternal life. On January 12, 1929, he was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to the late Cecil and Irene Hearn Brissette, where he grew up with his brothers, Cecil, Jr., and the late Albert Brissette.  He was a Tuskegee airman who served in Korea and Vietnam.
     
  • Brown, Harold H. - Dr. Brown was a Tuskegee airman who served with the 332nd Fighter Group in World War II and was a prisoner of war.  During the Korean War he served in Japan.  (He finished his flight training at Tuskegee in May of 1944.)  He later served in the Strategic Air Command.  He served in the military for 20 years and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.
     
  • Brown, Larry Jr. - He was the only man without a college degree accepted into the Tuskegee Institute flight school.  Because his flight training did not end before World War II ended, he did not see combat in that war.  He entered the Air Force Reserves in November 1945 and re-entered active service in September of 1951, serving in the US Air Force Medical Corps as a licensed pharmacist.  He served during the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War.  He retired from the military in 1971 and then worked in the health care industry until he retired in 1991.
     
  • Brown, Thomas Earl - homas Earl Brown, 78, of Duncanville, Texas, formerly of Jones County, died March 28, 2009, at Charlton Methodist Hospital in Duncanville. He was a graduate of the Jones County schools and North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University. Upon graduation, he received his second lieutenant's commission and his navigator wings after training with the Tuskegee Airmen. After 26 years, he retired from the Air Force with the rank of colonel. He was an ROTC instructor at his college alma mater and in Ohio, Texas and North Carolina high schools. A memorial service was held on Saturday, April 4, 2009, at the South Duncanville Congregation of Jehovah's Witness. He is survived by his wife, Betye of Duncanville; children, Shirley Turner of Trenton, Diana Parker and Gregory Brown, both of Duncanville; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren; and eight siblings, Robert Brown of Burlington, William Brown, Raymond Brown, Sadie Smith and Marion Odessa Sutton, all of Greensboro, Cecil Brown of Durham, Leslie Brown of Raleigh and Clement Brown of New Bern. Local announcement by Mills Funeral Home, Inc. [Source: Findagrave, published in Sun Journal from April 10 to April 13, 2009.]
     
  • Burleson, RayVon - Colonel Rayvon Burleson (USAF, retired) of Smyrna, Delaware, and Nags Head died at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia July 14, 2003. Born in Albemarle in 1920, he graduated from Albemarle High School and enlisted in the U. S. Army in October 1941. While in the Army, he attended Davidson College. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1944 and received his pilot wings in 1945. During his 30year military career, he served as a transport, bomber; helicopter and test pilot. Colonel Burleson's initial flying duty consisted of coastal bomber patrol in the Pacific Northwest at the end of World War II. When the National Security Act of 1947 created the United States Air Force, he transitioned to its ranks and joined the Strategic Air Command. After the retirement of the B36, he transferred to the Military Air Transport Service, flying various aircraft. Col. Burleson was a part of the Air Force transition to the C-133 Globemaster and helped to activate two squadrons at Dover Air Force Base. He served as one of the C- 133s turboprop test pilots, becoming the fifth aircraft commander to be checked out in the aircraft and also flew weather tests in the aircraft at Wright-Patterson AFB. For the C-133 program, he served as pilot, flight commander, chief pilot and squadron commander He also served as Chief of Aircrew Standardization from I960-1968 Colonel Burleson served two tours in Vietnam as the Director of Rescue and Commander, 3rd Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Group. He was responsible for the recovery of all aircrews shot down by hostile action. In 1969, he returned to Dover AFB, where he retired in 1970. After retirement, he worked as a corporate pilot for Indoor Tennis International before joining the Foundation for Airbourne Relief. This job consisted of flying food and medical supplies to remote, famine-stricken areas of Bangladesh. In 1973 he returned to Delaware where he served as Chief Pilot for Diamond Aviation in Cheswold. The following year he became the first Delaware State Aeronautics Administrator, a position he held from 1974-1990. During his 16-year career, he was responsible for updating civil airports throughout the state and oversaw the building of the Civil Air Terminal at Dover AFB. After his retirement in 1990, his love of flying continued as he could be seen flying his various civil aircraft all over the state.  His wife, Sibyl Lowder Burleson, preceded him in death in 1984. He was one of nine children of Lee and Bess Burleson and is survived by a brother, Ernest L. Burleson of Concord, and two sisters, Louise Caseman of Atlanta, Georgia., and Maxine Tucker of Albemarle. Also surviving are two daughters, Elizabeth B. Morris of Bowers Beach and Lucinda B. Novotny of Smyrna and Nags Head; two grandchildren, Lt.j.g. Robert Burleson Novotny and Jane Lowder Novotny. Also surviving are many nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to: the C-133 Fund, AMC Museum Foundation, Box 02050, Dover AFB, Delaware 19902 or The Scholarship Fund of the John Porter Chapter of Tuskegee Airman, Inc., c/o Mrs. Nettye Evans, 138 Turner Drive, Dover, Delaware 19904. A memorial service for Colonel Burleson will be held at Summit Airport at 4;30 p.m. October 11, as part of "Summit Aviation's Celebration of Flight 1903-2003" where his T6 Texan warbird, one of two remaining Tuskegee Airmen advance trainers, will be on display. [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Burton, Roosevelt Sr. - MSgt. Roosevelt Burton Sr. (Ret) was born in Fayetteville, Texas on June 21, 1927. He was the first born of eight children to the late Zelmo Burton, Sr. and Ellen Flakes Burton. He was preceded in death by his wife of 40 years, Ruby A. Burton; his beloved siblings, Zelmo Burton, Jr., Ernestine Burton, Sherman Burton, Erma Jean Burton Mitchell and eldest child, Roosevelt Burton, Jr. Roosevelt (Rell) or even Burton as most referred to him, loved growing up in Fayetteville, Texas. As a young boy his grandfather always told him, he would become a preacher due to him carrying around a bible and preaching on occasional Sundays. As he got a little older his Dad wanted him to be a carpenter. Neither of those suggestions stayed with him and after moving to San Antonio with his parents and graduating from Phillis Wheatley High School he decided to join the military. At first he wanted to join the Navy. He completed the physical but, days prior to enlisting he watched a movie playing in town which showed a group of Navy men on a ship that sunk and that’s when he decided to join another branch. When he told his parents, they were leery about his decision but supported him. In 1945, Roosevelt joined the military, he loved and missed his family and as soon as he joined he had an allotment sent home monthly to help maintain the household and assist with the upbringing of his siblings. During his career he was assigned to bases in Arizona, North Carolina, Florida, Colorado, Guam, Arkansas, Georgia, Philippines, Carswell AFB, Texas, Bermuda, Thailand, Goose Bay Laborador, Lackland and Randolph AFB in San Antonio. He remained in the military for 26 years, serving in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam wars. After retiring from the military, Roosevelt returned to work and retired from two additional careers which included Civil Service and the San Antonio State Hospital. Always a man of good character Roosevelt remained active in church and was a member of East St. Paul United Methodist Church where he was on the Steward Board. He was also an active member of the Tuskegee Airmen, Community Workers Council, Freemasonry Organization and the American Legion. Roosevelt lived a lifetime of service to God, Family and his Country. He was a pillar of strength to those who knew him and will be greatly missed. Roosevelt leaves to cherish his memory, daughters, Dr. Sharon L. Burton and Roxanne Burton-Hiers (Paul); sisters, Virginia Ford, Lillian (Shirlee) White; brother, Cardell Franklin Burton; granddaughter, Yoshino W. White (Cameron); grandsons, Marques L. Hiers and Darreus A. Hiers. Lewis Funeral Home. [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Bussey, Joe - Born May 15, 1920 in Decatur, Georgia, and died April 30, 2004.  He served in World War II and the Korean War.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
     
  • Calloway, Julius Warren - Julius Warren Calloway, 87, passed away Monday, January 23, 2012 at home with family at his side. He was one of the original Tuskegee Airmen presented the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 and received an honorary doctorate degree from Tuskegee University in 2006. In 1997 he was inducted into the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame. In 1990 he retired from the Louisville Regional Airport Authority, where he served as Human Resources Director after retiring as a Major from the U.S. Air Force in 1970. He received his wings as a Tuskegee Airman in 1944 and served in the military during World War II and the Korean War. He was also a graduate of Central High School Class on 1942. He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Jacqueline Dreher Calloway. Julius is survived by his sons, Julius W. Calloway III, Heber D. Calloway (Danuta), daughters Linda C. Johnson (Leland), Jacqueline C. Richardson (Theodore); grandchildren, Leland Johnson, Jr. (Rabia), Nea Ricks (Shawn), Tiarra Richardson, Adam Richardson (Kimberly), Jordan Richardson; seven great-grandchildren; and his brother, Irvin Calloway (Alyce)." [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Campbell, William A. -"Colonel William A. Campbell, known to many simply as "Bill", died at age 95 on April 24, 2012. Born on April 12, 1917 in Tuskegee, Alabama, he was the fourth of six children of Thomas Monroe Campbell and Anna Campbell. Following elementary and high school in Tuskegee, Bill graduated from Tuskegee Institute in 1937 with a BS in Business Administration and began clerking for the U.S. Department of Agricultural Extension in Tuskegee. During that time the opportunity arose to join a group of distinguished young Black men learning to fly at Tuskegee Army Air Field who would later become known as the Tuskegee Airmen. He became a member of the class SE-42-F graduating in 1942 as a Second Lieutenant. He was assigned to the 99th Fighter Squadron, 33rd Fighter group and arrived in Farjouna in Tunisia in 1943. As a fighter pilot with the 99th (affectionately referred to as the "Red Tails") he participated in the Sicilian and Italian campaigns, flew 106 missions, and by the war's end was the commander of the 99th Fighter Squadron. In 1947 he became commander of the 332nd Fighter Group. Campbell went on to fight in two more wars during his military career, serving in both Korea and Vietnam. He remained in the Air Force until 1970, reaching the rank of full Colonel. He earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit and 13 Air Medal Clusters. After retiring from the active military, Bill spent the next 13 years as a professor at the Navy Post Graduate School Monterey, CA where he taught Defense Resource Management. Colonel Campbell also had a wonderful family life. After a short courtship following WWII, he married Wilma Jean Burton from Chicago in September of 1946. Together they raised three sons, traveled the world and enjoyed friendships built over a lifetime. While attending a past Tuskegee Airmen Convention, he was asked what advice he would give to a young person trying to achieve their dream. Bill said, "Do the best you are capable of doing, that's all you can do; but do it all the time." Bill was an extremely gifted athlete; his first love was tennis. He won an untold number of single and doubles tournaments while serving in the U.S. Air Force. As a member of the Monterey Peninsula community, Bill served as a volunteer with a number of community based organizations which included: The Meadowbrook Tennis Club, The Monterey Peninsula Branch of the NAACP and the Legal Aid for Senior Citizens. He is survived by Wilma, his wife of 65 years, and three sons and their families. [Source: Findagrave from obituary published in The Monterey Herald on May 16, 2012.]
     

  • Floyd J Carter Sr
    (Click picture for a larger view)

    Carter, Floyd J. Sr. - "Floyd Carter Sr., one of the last of the Tuskegee Airmen, dedicated his remarkable life to serving his country and his city. The decorated veteran of three wars and 27 years with the NYPD died Thursday at age 95, leaving a long legacy as a groundbreaking hero pilot and a city police detective.  Carter, who simultaneously rose through the ranks of the U.S. Air Force Reserves and the police, was honored in 2007 with the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bush for breaking the color barrier in Tuskegee. 'We mourn the loss of a true American hero,' read a tweet from the 47th Precinct in his adopted home of the Bronx. 'Our community & nation has lost a giant.' Carter rose to the rank of Air Force lieutenant colonel years after joining the group of African-American pilots at Tuskegee University. He met his wife Atherine there, where the Alabama native was working as part of an all-female repair crew. Carter wooed his bride-to-be on several dates in his plane, and they were married at the air base in 1945. In 2012, Carter joined "Star Wars" filmmaker George Lucas for a screening of his film "Red Tails" about the Tuskegee Airmen -- the first black aviators in the U.S. military, trained in Alabama as a segregated unit. In addition to serving during World War II, Carter flew during the Korean and Vietnam wars and led the first squadron of supply-laden planes into Berlin during the famed Cold War airlift of 1948-49. During the Tet Offensive, Carter flew U.S. troops and supplies into South Vietnam. His NYPD duties included work as a bodyguard for visiting heads of state, and Carter spent time with Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Soviet head Nikita Khrushchev, recalled his son Floyd Jr. He earned a half-dozen citations for his outstanding police work, and survived a number of shootouts with armed bandits. 'He's got a little history,' said Floyd Jr. 'We were blessed, we sure were. He went from what I call the outhouse to the fine house. The Lord blessed him.' The Yorktown, Virginia, native joined the Army Air Corps in 1944, and was commissioned a year later as a 2nd lt. bombardier navigator. In 1946, he received his pilot wings and transferred a year later to the Air Force Reserves. By the end of his tenure in 1974, he was commander of the 732nd Military Airlift Squadron at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. Carter joined the NYPD in 1953, earned his detective's gold shield within three years, and retired in 1980. He once recalled talking politics with Castro, and believed the federal government needed to open a dialogue with the bearded Communist. Oddly enough, Carter was called up for active duty during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Carter remained active into his 90s, serving in November 2015 as the grand marshal of the annual Veterans Day Parade in the Bronx. He was honored by ex-Congressman Charles Rangel in 2005 with a proclamation for his lifelong achievements. Carter was survived by his wife of more than seven decades and their two children, Floyd Jr. and Rozalind, along with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Funeral arrangements were not yet finalized. [Source: Military.com. This article is written by Thomas Tracy and Larry Mcshane from New York Daily News and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.]
     
  • Carter, Herbert Eugene "Gene" - He was born on September 27, 1919 in Amory, Mississippi to parents Willie Ann Sykes Carter and George Washington Carter. He graduated from Tuskegee High School in 1941 and went on to join the United States Army in July of 1942 as a member of the 99th pursuit unit, which was one of the units that became known as the Tuskegee Airmen. He was one of the most active in promoting the legendary fighter pilots. Through their bravery and skill as World War II fighter pilots, the all-black Tuskegee Airmen are credited with not only taking part in winning the war, but in overcoming racial stereotypes and barriers. The fighter pilots' mission was protecting bombers looking for trains or enemy troops to attack in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Germany. He was one of the 33 original pilot trainees in the Tuskegee Airmen program, a member of the 99th Fighter Squadron and an aircraft maintenance supervisor. He remained in the integrated Air Force after World War II. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1955 and a Master's degree in Education in 1969 from Tuskegee Institute. He retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1969. After his retirement from the United States Air Force, he became associate dean for student services at Tuskegee University and served in several other important capacities during his time there. He died November 8, 2012 in Opelika.  Survivors include three children; six grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; one sister; one brother. He died at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika.
     
  • Cheatham, Eugene Calvin Sr. - Born August 27, 1915, Eugene Calvin Cheatham, Jr. was one of the Tuskegee Airmen and a career officer in the United States Air Force. Cheatham was born in Georgia on March 3, 1924. His father was an Episcopal missionary whose work took the family to Africa and Europe. While living in New York City, he became a Boy Scout and by 1930 he had completed the requirements for Eagle Scout. Unable to afford a full uniform, he never appeared before his board of review. Cheatham was a fighter pilot with the 332nd Fighter Group— better known as the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. He flew 150 missions during the Korean War. He achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel and retired in 1977. He then worked as a personnel and equal-opportunity officer for the Air Force, serving in Japan, Montana and San Bernardino, California. In 2001, Cheatham attended a Veterans Day event where he expressed his regret at not earning Eagle Scout to one of the organizers who happened to be an Eagle Scout. Executives from International Profit Associates petitioned the National Council of the BSA to award Cheatham's Eagle Scout. Unable to locate records, the Scouts tested Cheatham and performed an exhaustive board of review according to the requirements of 1930. On September 18, 2004 Cheatham was awarded his Eagle Scout in a ceremony at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. Cheatham died on May 10, 2005 from pancreatic cancer and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery." [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Cowley, Otis Ellis Jr. - He served in the US Army and US Air Force during World War II, the Cold War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.  Lieutenant Colonel Cowley retired from the Air Force in 1970 and then worked in the Department of Defense until 1995.  He moved to Los Angeles, California in 1970.
     
  • Cox, Hannibal M. "Killer" Jr. - Born March 21, 1923 in Chicago, Illinois, he became a Tuskegee airman, flying missions in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.  He retired from the Air Force in the 1960s.  He received a bachelor's degree in aeronautics from Tennessee State University, a master's degree in industrial relations and personnel management from the University of Chicago, and a doctorate in psychology from Western Colorado University.  He later became director of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action for Eastern Airlines.  He died December 23, 1988, Miami, Florida, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
     
  • Craigwell, Ernest Jr. - Born on October 24, 1926, Craigwell enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1945 and was assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group (Tuskegee Airmen).  He flew over 400 combat missions during his flying career, receiving 26 medals of valor.  In the Korean War he was part of a group of American Air Force instructors that taught Korean pilots how to fly fighter planes.  He received the rare honor of being awarded fighter pilot wings from the United States and Korean Air Forces.  His military career spanned 1945 to 1973, and he retired as a colonel.  He died April 9, 2011.
     
  • Crockett, Woodrow Wilson - Born August 31, 1918, Crockett graduated from Dunbar High School in 1939 and joined the 349th Field Artillery Regiment--the first African-American Field Artillery unit in the regular army, in 1940.  He transferred to Tuskegee in August of 1942 and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in 1943.  He served in the 100th Fighter Squadron and the 332nd Fighter Group in Italy, flying 149 combat missions.  He flew 45 combat missions in the Korean War.  He retired from the military in 1970 with over 5,000 hours of flight time and 520 combat hours.  He  received a Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf clusters, and two soldier's medals for bravery.  He died in Washington, D.C. on August 16, 2012.
     
  • Davis, Benjamin O. - See African-American Firsts section.
     
  • Deiz, Robert William - Deitz was born in June 1919 in Portland, Oregon.  He was a former Oregon track star who set records in the 100-yard dash, the 220-yard race and relays at Franklin High School and University of Oregon.  He joined the Army Air Corps, fighting in Italy and Eastern Europe with the Tuskegee airmen.  He flew 93 missions in 1943-44 with the 332nd Fighter Group.  He stayed in the Air Force as a test pilot after the war, retiring as a Major in 1961 after 20 years of service.  He later became a parole officer for three years and a parole supervisor for 17 years.  He played horn and double bass in the Portland Junior Symphony and the University of Oregon.  He died of a heart attack in April 1992 in Columbus, Ohio.
     
  • Driver, Elwood Thomas "Woody" - This World War II Army Aviator and renowned Tuskegee Airman and Federal Government official was born  August 20, 1921 in Trenton, New Jersey and died March 26, 1992 in Reston, Virginia. Driver, a native of Trenton, earned his bachelors' degree from the New Jersey State College in 1942. He later earned a masters' degree in safety from New York University. Driver was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps in October of 1942 and served as a combat pilot and flight leader with the 99th Fighter Squadron. He was officially credited with one combat victory over a German Focke-Wulf 190 aircraft on February 5, 1944. He also had one "probable" victory as well. By the end of the Second World War, Driver had completed 123 combat missions. He also served in the Korean War.  After retiring from the Air Force following a 20-year career, Driver served for five years as the Chief, System Safety Engineering, for North American Aviation. He was then hired by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). He was the NTSB's Associate Administrator for Rule Making from 1967 to 1978. He then accepted a Presidential appointment, serving as the Vice Chairman of the NTSB from 1978 to 1981. His last government position was with NASA Headquarters as the Director of the Aircraft Management Office in Washington DC from 1986-1990. Driver is buried in a place of honor, in front of General Daniel J. "Chappie" James, Jr.  [Source: Findagrave with bio by Warrick L. Barrett]
     
  • Drummond, Charles Harris Jr. - "Lt. Col. Charles Harris Drummond Jr., a member of the Tuskegee Airmen black pilot corps that served during World War II, died last week of a stroke shortly after surgery. He was 78. Drummond, who was trained as a B-25 Bomber pilot, died last Thursday in Community Hospital in Monterey. He belonged to the 477th Bomber Group, which was preparing for action in Southeast Asia when the war ended. Drummond was in the Air Force Reserves when World War II ended and transferred to the Massachusetts National Guard, and was recalled into the Army in 1951 for the Korean War -- where he flew L-19s and helicopters. A native of Cambridge, Mass., who attended Boston University Law School, Drummond retired from the Army in 1970 after 30 years of military service. Eight years ago, Drummond founded the Summer Flight Academy -- a program in the San Francisco Bay area that trains underprivileged young people to fly airplanes. Drummond is survived by Doris, his wife of 55 years, and six children. A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. next Tuesday at Hayes C.M.E. Church in Seaside. Drummond will be cremated and buried November 17 at Arlington National Cemetery."
     
  • Drummond, Edward Powell Jr. - "Lt. Colonel Edward P. Drummond, Jr., (USAF Retired) of Lakewood, Washington, died in Seattle on Sunday, August 3, 2014, after a long illness. He was the last surviving member of the Tuskegee Airmen that was a member of the Sam Bruce Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., based in Seattle. As a member of Class 46-C, Lieutenant Colonel Drummond was a graduate of the last class of African American pilots trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field, Alabama, during World War II to assist in prosecution of the war effort against the Axis. A Memorial Service is scheduled for Thursday, August 28, 2014, 2 p.m., at Mountain View Memorial Park at 4100 Steilacoom Boulevard SW, Lakewood. Proceedings are set for the Aspen Chapel, located within the Celebration of Life Center. Upon entering the Mountain View Memorial Park grounds, simply follow the blue center line to get to the chapel. A reception will follow immediately in the Willow Room at the same facility. Members of the public are invited. Edward Powell Drummond, Jr, was born on Aug. 28, 1926, in Philadelphia, Penn. The early part of his life was spent on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where he attended schools in the Pocomoke City area, and was class valedictorian at Stephen Long Elementary School in 1939. Known as “Pal” to his family and childhood friends, he attended Salzburger Junior High in Philadelphia, and graduated from West Philadelphia High School in June 1944. His academic studies at Howard University in Washington, D.C. were interrupted by World War II and the call to serve his country. Lieutenant Colonel Drummond was drafted into the United States Army and was ultimately accepted into the Aviation Cadet Training Program at Tuskegee, Ala. He was a member of the last official class of the Tuskegee Program that trained African American pilots for combat duty in the U. S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Lieutenant Colonel Drummond served in the military for 25 years, and was honorably discharged in 1970. He worked twelve years for the State of Washington in the Social and Health Services Department and the Department of Licensing. He retired a second time in 1982. The military career of Lieutenant Colonel Drummond included tours of duty in Japan, Korea, England, France, Viet Nam and Germany as well as duty assignments in Ohio and Washington State. During his career as a pilot, he flew the B-25, P-47, F-80, F-84, F-86D, and F-106. Lieutenant Colonel Drummond was one of the first two African American pilots to fly jets into combat during the Korean War where he completed 104 missions. Lieutenant Colonel Drummond was assigned to McChord Air Force Base twice during his career. He first joined the 325th Fighter Wing, Air Defense Command in January 1961 as Operations and Plans Officer. He was further assigned in 1962 as Operations Officer to the 318th All Weather Fighter Squadron, 325th Fighter Wing. After serving a year in Viet Nam from June 1963 to June 1964, he returned to McChord as a Plans Officer in the 25th Air Division in June 1964. His final duty station was as Plans Officer at Headquarters United States-European Command in Stuttgart, Germany from 1967 to 1970. At the time of his military retirement, Lt. Col. Drummond had achieved Command Pilot status with 5700 Flying Hours; and had amassed numerous service awards including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 8 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart, Air Force Commendation Medal, Joint Services Commendation Medal, Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal and the Distinguished Service Award. Lieutenant Colonel Drummond was among the Tuskegee Airmen honored with the Congressional Gold Medal in Washington, D. C. on March 29, 2007, and attended the official ceremony in the Capitol with his wife, Alberta. He also received an honorary doctorate degree from Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Despite battling chronic illness for many years, Lieutenant Colonel Drummond remained active in the Sam Bruce Chapter, devoting many hours to communities across the Northwest to raise awareness of the contributions of the Tuskegee Airmen to beat back racism and discrimination in the United States. He often spoke at area schools, service clubs, and various venues for retired and active duty military personnel. He was a frequent participant at special events and panel discussions at the Museum of Flight in Seattle and Boeing; and when his health permitted, a regular participant in the Living History Day Program for the State of Oregon, an effort he always considered vital to keeping the real meaning of Veterans’ Day alive amongst the youth of the country. He was one of four Tuskegee Airmen honored in March 2012 with an invitation to meet with members of the Washington State Legislature, and used the opportunity to urge legislators to work cooperatively with each other regardless of party affiliation. Lieutenant Colonel Drummond is survived by his wife of sixty-five years, Alberta Morris Drummond of Lakewood, Wash.; and his three children, Edward Powell Drummond, III, of Apple Valley, California; Michael Morris Drummond of Seattle; and Sheryl Drummond Halliburton of Phoenix, Arizona. He is also survived by six grandchildren and four great grandchildren." [Source: The Skanner News, published August 14, 2014]
     

  • Sidney P. Brooks, Charles W. Dryden and Clarence C. Jamison
    (Click picture for a larger view)

    Dryden, Charles W. - Born September 16, 1920 in New York, New York, Dryden graduated from Tuskegee Army Flying School and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant on April 29, 1942.  Nicknamed "A-Train", he flew a P-40 fighter plane in North Africa, Sicily and Italy during World War II.  He flew fighter jet missions in the Korean War and taught air science at Howard University.  He retired in 1962 as a Lieutenant Colonel.  He died June 24, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia.  "Tuskegee Airman. One of the first of the pioneering black World War II pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen. Lt Colonel Charles W. Dryden's 21-year military career included combat missions in Korea and assignments in Japan, Germany and U.S. bases. He was a member of the famed 99th Pursuit Squadron and 32nd Fighter Group that served in North Africa and Italy during WWII. Dryden was born in New York City to Jamaican parents who were educators. He graduated from Peter Stuyvesant High School and earned his B.A. degree in political science from Hofstra University and his M.A. degree in public law and government from Columbia University. In 1996, he was awarded an honorary degree of doctor of humane letters by Hofstra University. Three months prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Dryden enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a cadet. Sent to Tuskegee Army Flying School, a segregated training base in Alabama for black aviators, he became a member of the 42-D, the second class graduated from the station. Dryden was assigned to the 99th Fighter Squadron, the first black United States military flying unit that was dispatched to North Africa under command of Lt. Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. The inexperienced unit flew P-40s in air-ground support and medium bomber escort missions and soon earned the respect of senior officers, challenging initial skepticism in many quarters as to the ability of Negroes in flying and fighting. On June 9, 1943, Dryden was flight leader of six P-40s on patrol over the island of Pantelleria when they encountered Luftwaffe fighters escorting bombers on a mission to attack allied troops. In the 99th's first encounter with enemy fighters, Lieutenant Dryden led his flight, outnumbered by the enemy, to victory, damaging one enemy fighter and causing the enemy bombers to drop their bombs into the sea and retreat. The novice 99th suffered no damage. In October, 1943, Dryden returned to the United States to help train an all black fighter group to be designated the 332nd. As flight instructor at Selfridge Field, Michigan, and Walterboro Army Air Field, South Carolina, Dryden prepared hundreds of pilots for aerial combat. Shortly after the three original squadrons of the 332nd arrived overseas, they were joined by the seasoned 99th, and the all black group established itself as a well disciplined, successful fighting unit. As escorts, this group never lost a friendly bomber to enemy fighters-a distinction to which no other allied fighter group can lay claim. As a career officer, Colonel Dryden served in the Korean War as a forward observer pilot who flew an unarmed plane behind enemy lines relaying valuable information to headquarters on location and movement of enemy forces. Following the war, he served as a professor of air science at Howard University and retired in 1962 as a command pilot with 4,000 hours flying time. Dryden later retired from Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems Company in Georgia after 13 years and then worked actively in the greater Atlanta area (where he and his family had made home) with young people in schools and churches. A source of inspiration for many who aspired to or have chosen careers in aerospace, he served on the advisory board of Aviation Career enrichment, Inc., a non-profit youth motivation organization in Atlanta. Dryden was a member of several organizations and received numerous awards. He was inducted into the Honorable Orders of Daedalians in 1997 and was designated and Outstanding Georgia Citizen by the Secretary of State the same year. He was a member of the board of directors of the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame, the Atlanta Metro Lions Club and the Atlanta Chapter-Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. (ACTAI), which he helped found in 1978 and which he served as president, vice president and national convention committee chairman in 1980 and 1995. Dryden was the author of A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman, released in April, 1997. He also was enshrined in the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame May 16, 1998 and in March 2007 President Bush and Congress awarded the Tuskegee Airmen the Congressional Gold Medal. Some 300 surviving airmen-including Dryden-gathered in Washington for the ceremony. Dryden was married twice and had six sons and one daughter. Lt Colonel Charles W. Dryden, an inspiration for so many died in an Atlanta hospital of natural causes at age 87."  [Source: Findagrave with bio by Curtis Jackson]
     
  • Eagleson, Wilson "Swampy" Vash II - Born February 1, 1920, he grew up in Bloomington, Indiana.  In 1934 he moved to Durham, North Carolina.  He joined the army infantry on January 19, 1942 and later graduated from training at Tuskegee, commissioned April 29, 1943.  He completed 350 combat missions in North Africa and Italy while serving with the 99th Fighter Squadron during World War II.  He was injured twice.  He re-enlisted in the US Air Force and served as a flight mechanic.  He participated in the Korean War and Vietnam War.  He received a Distinguished Flying Cross.  He retired in 1972 and died April 16, 2006 in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
     
  • Edwards, John Ellis - Ellis Edwards was one of two brothers who were Tuskegee airmen.  His brother Jerome died in 1943 after his plane experienced a malfunction.  Ellis was born May 17, 1922 and enrolled in the Civilian Pilot Training Program at West Virginia State College.  He then became a Tuskegee airman, serving with the 332nd Fighter Group (Red Tails) in Italy.  He received a Distinguished Flying Cross for downing two enemy ME-109's over Italy in 1945.  He continued to fly as a pilot in the Korean War.  He died June 3, 1979.
     
  • Exum, Herven Percy - Born November 6, 1921 near Eureka, North Carolina, Exum joined the Army Air Corps after high school graduation.  He trained on P-47 Thunderbolts and B-25 bombers.  During World War II he took part in escort missions accompanying bomber planes on sorties over Europe.  He flew Air Force jets on combat missions in the Korean War.  In the late 1950s he performed in air shows.  During the Vietnam War he flew injured troops to hospitals in Japan and Guam as a contractor.  He died August 18, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
     
  • Fountain, Carl - Commissioned as a B-25 bombardier, Fountain cross-trained in weather, becoming a weather officer after World War II.  He participated in reconnaissance missions over the North Pole and later a combat tour in B-29s over Korea at the end of the war.  He also toured in Korea as staff weather officer for the 8th Army.  He participated in 19 B-29 combat missions as a bombardier over Korea.
     
  • Friend, Robert Jones - Lt. Colonel Friend was born February 29, 1920 in Columbia, South Carolina.  He studied aviation at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and joined the 99th Pursuit Squadron--a unit for black men.  He was assigned to the 322nd Fighter Group and flew 142 missions in P-47 and P-51 Mustangs.  He flew single-engine planes into combat in the Mediterranean theater during World War II.  He served as operations officer during the Korean and Vietnam Wars.  He worked on the Titan, Atlas and Delta rocket programs after the war.  From 1958 to 1963 he led the US Air Force's Project Blue Book to investigate UFOs.  He later became an executive of the aerospace companies Stanford Mu and Fairchild Stratos.  He died June 21, 2019 in Long Beach, California, at the age of 99.
     
  • Frisby, Melvin - After getting his wings at age 20, he joined the Army Air Corps and trained with the 6th and last class of airmen at Tuskegee.  World War II had just ended.  He had tours of duty in Greenland, Alaska, and Tinian Island between World War II and Korea.  He flew P-51s in a combat tour in Korea.  His military service spanned from 1946 to 1962.  After leaving the military he became an upholsterer at the Chrysler Assembly plant in Newark, Delaware, and retired from the plant.
     
  • Gay, James - After being drafted into the Army Air Corps, he was sent to a school in Alabama to learn maintenance on planes flown by Tuskegee airmen.  During World War II he remained stateside.  He was discharged after World War II, but then enlisted in the Army and made a career of it.  He served in Germany and when the Korean War broke out he became a tank loader and driver.  He held the same job in the Vietnam War.  He retired in 1973 as a first sergeant with a total of 26 years in the military.  After retiring from the military he became a school bus driver.
     
  • Gomer, Joseph Philip - Born June 20, 1920, he graduated from Iowa Falls High School in 1938 and then enlisted in the Army in July 1942.  He was the first black officer in the United States Air Force from Iowa.  He was deployed to Italy with the 301st Fighter Squadron.  During the Korean War he served as a Wing Technical Inspector in Japan with the 315th Air Division.  He remained in the Air Force for 22 years, retiring as a major in 1964.  He died October 10, 2013.
     
  • Gray, George Elbert - Killed in action in Korea.  See Firsts section of this page for further details.
     
  • Hall, Richard R. Jr. - Drafted into the Army in 1942, Hall was a ground crewman for the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II.  He later served in the Korean War and Vietnam War, retiring in 1973 as a Chief Master Sergeant.  He died in Florida.
     
  • Hardy, George E.  - Born in 1925, he was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and joined the Army Air Corps in 1943.  He was deployed to Italy as a Tuskegee airman, flying 21 combat missions.  After the war he trained other pilots at Tuskegee.  He was recalled to service in the Korean War, serving with the 19th Bomb Group in 45 B-29 combat missions.  In Vietnam he flew 70 night missions piloting a C-119 gunship.  Hardy was in the military from 1942 to 1971 and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.
     
  • Harvey, James H. III - Lt. Colonel Harvey was born July 13, 1923 in Montclair, New Jersey.  He was drafted into the Army Air Corps in April of 1943 and was assigned as an engineer to make air strips in the jungles of the South Pacific.  He took flight training at Moton Field in Alabama and graduated from Flying School at Tuskegee as a 2nd Lieutenant on October 16, 1944.  He was assigned to the 99th Fighter Squadron at Godman Field in Kentucky, where he flew P-47s.  He was selected as one of three primary members to participate in the historic first USAF Weapons Meet.  His team placed first flying F-47Ns.  During the Korean War he was the first black jet fighter pilot to fly in Korean air space.  During his military career he received the DFC and eleven Air Medals.  He was also a flight commander, test pilot, assistant group operations officer, flight safety officer, and Battle Staff Training Officer for the Commanding General of NORAD.  He retired from the military on May 31, 1965 after 22 years of service.
     
  • Henry, Denzal
     
  • Holloman, William Hugo - Born in 1924 in St. Louis, Missouri, he flew "Red Tail" P-51s with the 332nd Fighter Group in World War II as a Tuskegee airman.  He continued to fly in the Korean War and Vietnam War.  He was the first black helicopter pilot in the Air Force.  He died in 2010.
     
  • Horne, Francis L. Sr. - Francis L. Horne, Sr., age 91, a resident of Abington, Pennsylvania died on January 8, 2014. He was born in West Palm Beach, Florida on 24 February 1922. Upon graduation from high school, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps on 9 July 1942. His first duty assignment was at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Alabama. The Tuskegee Army Airfield (TAAF) was the home of the training grounds for hundreds of pilots who later served overseas during World War II. While stationed at Tuskegee, he was assigned to the 318th TAAF Base Unit and the 1155th Single Engine Flying Training unit, serving as an aircraft mechanic's helper and radio repairman. He completed his tour of duty at TAAF in 1945, having attained the rank of Sergeant. At the conclusion of World War II, he received an honorable discharge from active duty and entered Hampton Institute (now known as Hampton University), in Hampton, Virginia. Upon completion of the Reserve Officers Training Program, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Vocational Industrial Education. Colonel Horne was recalled to active duty service in 1951 during the Korean War. While on active duty, he completed tours of duty at Fort Bliss, Fort Meade, Moon Run, Pennsylvania, Niagara Falls, New York, Germany and Korea; retiring from active duty in 1969. After his military retirement, he taught in the Newport News School System for twenty years as an Industrial Arts teacher, retiring in 1987. Colonel Horne provided over 200 inspirational speeches on the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen; he educated and inspired citizens, young and old with his uplifting recollection of historical events. His presentations were sought after by a myriad of organizations, military units and schools and his efforts have extended to cities throughout the state of Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and New Jersey. His military education included the Air Defense Artillery Officer Basic and Advance Courses, Fort Bliss, Texas; the Army Intelligence School, Europe; and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF), Fort McNair, VA. His awards included the Army Commendation Medal, World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Overseas Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal. He received various honors and accolades for his contributions to the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. In 2004, he was honored by his hometown of West Palm Beach, FL with a recognition proclamation and key to the city. In January of 2006, he was awarded the Honorable Order of St. Michael Bronze Award by the Army Aviation Association of America. As a Documented Original Tuskegee Airman (DOTA), Colonel Horne and other DOTAs were cited for the Congressional Gold Medal at the U.S. Capital on 29 March 2007 when President Bush conferred this distinct honor on all of the individuals who participated in the Tuskegee Airmen Program. Colonel Horne was preceded in death by his wife of 25 years Carrie Broxton Horne The funeral service is April 16, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. at Arlington National Cemetery. Burial will follow immediately after the funeral service. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make donations to SarahCare of Jenkintown, 101 Washington Lane, Suite G-6, Jenkintown, PA 19046.
    [Source: Findagrave, published in Daily Press from April 8 to April 11, 2014]
     
  • Hubbard, Lyman LaRue Sr. - Lyman L. Hubbard, Sr., born May 17, 1926 in Springfield, Illinois, the only Springfieldian to graduate from pilot training at Tuskegee Army Air Base during WWII, died on January 12, 2012 at his home in Springfield, Illinois. Lyman was a graduate of Class 45-H at Tuskegee and flew B-25 bombers. He was recalled to active duty during the Korean conflict and made a career of the Air Force. Lyman was a command pilot with nearly 7000 hours flying time in complex multi-engine aircraft, including the EC-121 Super Constellation. He was an accomplished aviator and a strong leader. Lyman served combat tours in Southeast Asia and among his many U.S. and foreign military decorations: he was awarded the Bronze Star, Air Medal with oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, and Vietnamese Honor Medal. He retired from the Air Force in 1970. For the past fifteen years Lyman and his wife of 65 years, Eartha Mary, have lived on the family farm where Lyman spent much of his youth. The farm has been in the family for nearly 165 years and Springfield attorney Abraham Lincoln once represented Lyman's great-great-grandmother in a legal dispute over the land. May 17, 2006 was declared Lyman Hubbard Day in Springfield by proclamation of the mayor and city council in recognition of his service to the country. His devotion to the city and its history was reflected in his concern that the Lincoln Colored Home, a national historic property and one of the first African American orphanages in the United States, was in danger of being destroyed. In 2005, he purchased this historic Springfield property that is linked to the Dana-Thomas House. Lyman graduated from Feitshans High School in 1944 where he was an "A" student and a star athlete in basketball, football, and track. He earned an Associates of Art degree from Springfield Junior College and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, CA. As a youth, he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America and proudly abided by the Scout's oath throughout his life. Lyman was 85 years old at the time of his death and is survived by his wife, Eartha Mary Burton Hubbard; sons, Lyman Jr., Lee, Mark; 12 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. He was the first son of the late Rev. Lyman R. Hubbard and Helen M. Locke Hubbard. Burial will be at Camp Butler National Cemetery with the Sangamon County Inter-veterans Burial Detail Honor Guard performing military honors with an active U. S. Air Force Honor Guard. [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Hubert, Willis J. - "Willis J. Hubert of Atlanta, Georgia died on Friday, May 11, 2007.  After a distinguished military career in which he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Dr. Hubert became Academic Dean and, later, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Morehouse College. In 1943, he entered the U.S. Air Force (until 1947, the U.S. Army Air Corps) and trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field, where he was one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, under the command of General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. During a military career of 27 years, he had tours of duty in Europe and the Pacific, and he was the first African American to earn M.A. and Ph.D. degrees while on active duty, as well as the first to complete the Harvard Business School (Military Co-op) Statistics Training Program. As a Tuskegee Airman, he was awarded, in absentia, the Congressional Gold Medal on March 29, 2007 at a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. Dr. Hubert was born in Savannah, Georgia on May 9, 1919, the youngest child of Lillie Jones Hubert and John Wesley Hubert. He graduated in 1936 from Cuyler-Beach High School, where his father was principal and his mother was a former teacher. After receiving a B. S. degree in 1940 from Hampton Institute, he completed requirements for an M.A. degree in rural sociology at Fisk University and then taught at Trinity High School in Athens, Georgia for a year. He later earned an M.A. degree from New York University, as well as a Ph.D. degree from NYU in 1961. A member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, he was active in several professional organizations, serving as president of the Southern Conference of Deans of Faculties and Academic Vice Presidents and as First Vice President of the National Association of College Deans, Registrars and Admissions Officers. He was a long-time member of Friendship Baptist Church. His devoted wife of 56 years, Evelyn Robinson Hubert, predeceased him in 2001, and he is survived by a daughter, Renee Camille Hubert of Atlanta, GA; a son, Robin W. Hubert of Dallas, TX; two sisters, Beautine DeCosta-Lee of Washington, DC. and Mamie E. Russell of Silver Spring, MD; and several nieces and nephews. Visitation will be held on Friday, May 18 at 10:00 a.m. until hour of service at 11:00 a.m. in our Cascade Chapel. Interment Forest Lawn Memorial Garden. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his name to the American Cancer Society; 2970 Clairmont Road, N.E., Ste. 840; Atlanta, Georgia 30329."  [Source: Findagrave from obituary ublished in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from May 15 to May 17, 2007.]
     
  • Huntley, Clarence Edward "Buddy" Jr.- Born October 28, 1923 in Los Angeles County, California, he enlisted in the army October 27, 1942 in Los Angeles.  He served in Italy in 1944 with the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group.  He was a mechanic that serviced P-39, P-47 and P-51 aircraft.  He was a skycap for more than 60 years at airports in Burbankd and Los Angeles.  He died on January 05, 2015 in Los Angeles.
     
  • Hutchins, Capt. Freddie E. - This Tuskegee airman graduated April 29, 1943 and served in Italy with the 302nd Fighter Squadron During World War II.  He survived a plane crash during combat action.  He served in the Korean War and Vietnam War.  During his military career he earned a Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, and a Purple Heart.
     
  • Jamerson, Charles Freedeesee - Born August 25, 1917, Charles F. Jamerson was a pilot and one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. He graduated from flight training at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama on March 25, 1943, Class 43-C-SE (Single-Engine Fighter) as a 2nd Lieutenant. He served in the U.S. Air Corps Force during World War II, and the Air Force during the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He entered the service on April 1, 1941 and retired as a Major on August 25, 1977.  He died June 4, 1996 in Riverside County, California.  Interment took place on June 11, 1996.
     
  • James, Daniel "Chappie" - 12th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 101 missions in P51s and F80s in Korea 1950-51.  Daniel James, the first Black four-star general in the Air Force, became a member of the Tuskegee Airmen in 1943, but spent World War II stateside as a flight instructor. During the Korean War, he flew 101 combat missions. As a vice commander of the Eighth Tactical Fighter Wing in Thailand, James flew 78 combat missions during the Vietnam War. In 1970, as the commander of the 7272nd Fighter Training Wing at Wheelus Air Force Base in Libya, James had a memorable standoff with Muammar el-Qaddafi, who had recently led a successful military coup of Libya’s government. Qaddafi was attempting to seize the base when he encountered James outside its gates.“ I had my .45 in my belt. I told him to move his hand away. If he had pulled that gun, he never would have cleared his holster,” James said. The encounter passed without incidence and James succeeded in removing 4,000 people and $21 million in assets from the facility. He died on February 25, 1978, a month after retiring from the Air Force. He was born in 1920 and died in 1978. [Source: History website]
     
  • Jamison, Clarence C. - Lt. Colonel Jamison was born on February 25, 1918 in Little Rock, Arkansas.  He attended the University of Chicago where he studied medical bacteriology.  He received his civilian pilot's license in 1940.  He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on August 21, 1941 and graduated on April 29, 1942.  He joined the 99th Fighter Squadron when it went to North Africa.  There he flew 67 combat missions.  He retired from the military in 1963 and later retired from a career at the Social Security Administration.  He died March 6, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
     
  • Johnson, Buford A. - Master Sergeant Johnson was born August 30, 1927 in Longview, Texas.  He joined the army air corps and served as chief mechanic servicing P-47N Thunderbolts of the 99th Fighter Squadron of the 477 Composite Group 1946-1948.  He served in the military from 1945 to 1966 and was a World War II and Korean War veteran.  His team won the propeller division of the first US Air Force Weapons Meet in Las Vegas in 1949.  Johnson died April 15, 2017.
     
  • Johnson, Carl C. - Born in Bellaire, Ohio, Johnson was drafted into the army in 1945 and assigned as an aviation cadet at Tuskegee.  He was the last cadet to graduate from Tuskegee since World War II had ended.  He was sent to Enid Army Air Field in Oklahoma and then Lockbourne Army Air Base at Columbus, Oho.  During his 31-year military career he served in the Korean War and then commanded an aviation battalion in Vietnam.  He received a Distinguished Flying Cross in Vietnam and received 10 Air Medals during his career.  He served as commander of a US Army Aviation Battalion in South Korea.  After retiring from the military he held positions in the Department of Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration.
     
  • Kelly, James Johnson - Born March 29, 1928 in High Point, North Carolina, he joined the army in 1946 and trained at Tuskegee.  He served with the 99th Fighter Squadron and 332nd Fighter Group.  During the Korean War he served in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir.  He retired from the Air Force in 1971.  He was a qualified instructor for the AT-6 amd T-33.  He also became a Squadron Commander.  He was a history professor at Our Lady of the Lake University and was a San Antonio city commissioner.
     
  • Lane, Charles A. - A World War II veteran Tuskegee Airman, he also served in the Korean War.  He remained in the military for over two decades.  He was born in 1925 and died in 2013.
     
  • Ledbetter, Charles William - Born April 05, 1922, Charles W. Ledbetter was one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and in the U.S. Air Force in the Korean War and Vietnam. During the Korean War Tech Sergeant Ledbetter was assigned to the 3rd Bomb Wing where he flew 25 night missions in Fifth Air Force B-26 light bombers as an engineer-gunner. He spent 30 years in the U. S. Air Force until his retirement as a Master Sergeant.  He died July 23, 2003 and is buried in Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, California.
     
  • Lehman, Paul David Jr. - Born October 4, 1922, Lehman enlisted in the army in November 1942 in Los Angeles.  He received navigator/bombardier training at Hondo, Texas, and served as Post Exchange Officer for the 477th Bomb Group at Lockbourne AFB in Ohio.  He took additional navigation training at Mather AFB in California.  He flew 68 missions in Korea from 1950 to 1952.  He was promoted to captain and then assigned to Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington with the Strategic Air Command (SAC) 57th Air Division.  In June of 1957 he earned the rating of senior navigator and was sent to Westover AFB in Massachusetts.  There he served as a navigator on top secret B-36 and B-52 bombers with SAC.  In 1965 he attended the Air War College at Maxwell AFB.  He retired from the Air Force after 27 years.  He died August 7, 2001.
     
  • Lester, Clarence D. "Lucky" - "Considered one of the most outstanding Tuskegee Airmen, Lester is permanently featured in a display at the US Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. Lester was born in Richmond, Virginia on February 8, 1923, but grew up in Chicago. He was a star football player at West Virginia State College. After the outbreak of the Second World War, Lester enrolled in the Army Air Corps in July 1943 and was accepted for pilot training at Tuskegee. After his graduation in December 1943, he was assigned to the newly activated 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332 Fighter Group. After being deployed overseas, he completed ninety combat missions. He made history on July 18, 1944 when he shot down three enemy Messerschmitt 109 aircraft in less than five minutes. Lester's first aircraft, the "Spirit of St. Alphonsus School," was purchased by the students of a northwest Chicago Catholic grade school, who prayed for him every day. The plane was assigned to Lester because he was from Chicago. Since Lester was also a Catholic, the assignment was a particular source of pride to the St. Alphonsus student body. Following World War II, Lester remained in the military for a 28 year career, including service in the Korean War. His assignments also included service as the wing commander at Eielson Air Base in Alaska. At the time of his retirement, he was a member of the staff at the US Air Force Headquarters in the Pentagon. His decorations included the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with nine oak leaf clusters and the Legion of Merit. Ironically, one of Lester's daughter's Ivy League university professors denied that there had been African American combat pilots during the Second World War and was reticent to acknowledge evidence to the contrary that she provided to him. Lester earned the nickname "Lucky" because he survived a variety of intense combat encounters without as much as a scratch or bullet hole in his aircraft. Lester's three victory mission was recently commemorated on The History Channel's "Dogfights: Tuskegee Airmen" program. At the height of his post military career, Lester served as the first president of the ICF International Fund, a venture capital consulting firm.  Clarence Lester died March 17, 1986 in Washington, D.C." [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Lindsey, Perry Willis - Born April 29, 1922, Perry Willis Lindsey was one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. He graduated from flight training at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama on October 16, 1945, Class 45-G-TE (Twin-Engine Bomber) as a 2nd Lieutenant. He served as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II and the Korean War. He achieved the rank of 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He went on to become the first African-American principal in the Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach, California.  He died January 30, 2004 and is buried in Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, California.
     
  • Mann, Hiram - Lt. Colonel (Ret.) Mann was born in New York City on May 23, 1921.  He joined the Army Air Corps and flew 48 missions over Europe with the 99th Fighter Squadron, 332 Fighter Group, 477 Medium Bombardment Group during World War II.  His military career covered 21 years until he retired in 1972.  He received a Bachelor's and Master's degree.  He died May 17, 2014 in Titusville, Florida.
     
  • McDaniel, Armour G. Sr. - Tuskegee Airman Captain McDaniel was among 72 members of the 332nd Fighter Group who, on March 24, 1945 departed their base at Ramitelli, Italy on an important bomber escort mission. The 332nd was to escort the bombers for the first segment of their mission. When the relief squadron that was to escort the bomber formation to their destination in Berlin did not appear, the 332nd pressed on, even though their P-51 aircraft were getting low on fuel. As the bombers approached their target, the were attached by a formation of German Me-262 jet fighters. The 332nd, engaged these aircraft and shot down three. No bombers were lost. Captain McDaniel was one of two Tuskegee Airman shot down and he was taken prisoner. He was freed at the end of the Second World War. He subsequently saw combat during the Korean War and later retired from active duty as a Lieutenant Colonel.  He was born July 7, 1916 and died November 12, 1989.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • McGee, Charles Edward - "Colonel Charles Edward McGee was born December 7, 1919 in Cleveland, Ohio.  He was one of the Tuskegee Airmen and a career officer in the United States Air Force for 30 years. He holds a US Air Force record of 409 fighter combat missions flown in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. In 2011, McGee was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio. He also served as a consultant to the 2012 George Lucas film, Red Tails. Charles Edward McGee was honored by President Donald Trump just before his 100th birthday in December 2019, and was honored again during the 2020 State of the Union Address given by President Trump on February 4, 2020.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery." [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Miller, Aldee - Miller grew up in Florida, attended Florida A&M, and then attended flying school in Chicago.  In July of 1941 he was drafted into the Army.  He trained at Tuskegee, but when the Army found out that he was color blind, he was sent to Texas in an all-black infantry regiment as supply sergeant.  He remained stateside during World War II.  He arrived in Korea in 1953, and was commander of a company that installed and maintained communication lines for troops.  He retired as Captain in 1961.  He received a bachelor's and master's degree and was president of the city council in Tinton Falls, New Jersey.  For two years he was Superintendent of Schools in the US Virgin Islands.  He moved to Wichita from New Jersey in 2003.
     
  • Miller, Godfrey - Lt. Colonel Miller was born August 4, 1926 in Bloomington, Illinois.  He joined the Army Air Corps and graduated as a 2nd Lieutenant on November 20, 1945.  He flew single-engine airplanes and was then stationed in Japan and the Philippines, where he flew C-54 four-engine airplanes and jets.  He spent 24 years in the Air Force, retiring from the Reserves as a Lieutenant Colonel.  After the military he worked 16 years at General Electric in Cincinnati as a technical instructor (airplane engine group).  He died September 12, 2020 in Cincinnati.
     
  • Mulzac, John Ira Sr. - Lt. Colonel Mulzac was born October 11, 1923 in Baltimore City, Maryland.  He graduated from Tuskegee Institute in 1944 and served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.  After military service he was a member of the New York Fire Department, retiring in 1967.  He then worked as a sky marshal and was a U.S. Customs inspector.  He died February 1, 2015 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York.
     
  • Peterson, Cecil - Born in 1919, Peterson joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 and eventually was commissioned as a lieutenant.  While serving as a recruit at Tuskegee Flying School, he became the official pen pal of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, a supporter of Tuskegee.  Throughout his training he shared his experiences via correspondence with the First Lady.  During World War II he served at Tuskegee Flying School and Guadalcanal.  He also served in the Korean War.  After his military service he was a Los Angeles Commissioner chairman.  He died March 15, 2006 in Los Angeles.
     
  • Priestly, Burniss "Red" Jr. - Born October 25, 1921, Priestly attended Tuskegee University for two years.  Because the government had reached its pilot's quota, he became a pilot mechanic.  He retired from the US Air Force as a Master Sergeant after 22 years of service.  He married Wanda D. Lyles on October 9, 1958 in Evansville, Indiana.  Priestly died of a heart attack at his church on February 12, 2006.
     
  • Pulliams, John Allen Jr. - CWO Pulliams as born November 17, 1919 and was a Tuskegee airman who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.  He retired from the Air Force after 30 years of service.  He died July 2, 2002, age 82, and is buried in Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, California.
     
  • Randall, James E.P. - Colonel Randall grew up in Roanoke, Virginia.  He joined the Army Air Corps in 1945, but pilot training was canceled after World War II.  Randall was discharged, but then joined the Air Force in 1948.  He graduated from fighter pilot school in 1970.  In the Korean War he flew 75 combat missions in his P-51 Mustang.  In Vietnam he was part of Operation Rolling Thunder.  On October 13, 1965, his plane was down down on its 44th mission in Vietnam.  He recovered and continued serving in the military until 1980.  Among his numerous medals were the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star.  Colonel Randall died December 09,  2019 at the age of 93.
     
  • Roberts, George Spencer "Spanky" - See African-American Firsts section.
     
  • Roberts, Lawrence Edward Sr. - Col. Lawrence E. Roberts, USAF, Retired, a Tuskegee airman during World War II died in Biloxi, Mississippi on October 15, 2004. Born December 9, 1922 in Vauxhall, New Jersey, he was 81 years old and had been married to the former Lucimarian Tolliver for 57 years. He was the loving son of Robert and Dorothy Roberts and the brother of Robert Roberts all who preceded him. He was the father of four children, Dorothy, Sally-ann, Robin and Lawrence. He had eight grandchildren, two great grandchildren and many other relatives. Colonel Roberts was a graduate of Morningside College and received a Master's Degree from Tuskegee Institute. He entered the army as a private and retired a Colonel. During his long military career, he was a graduate of the 44K class of the prestigious Tuskegee Airmen. His was assigned the pilot training at Tuskegee Army Air field where he was prompted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. He was with the 477th Medium Bombardment Group. Among some of this medals and awards were Legion of Merit with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, The US Force Commendation Medal and the Distinguished Service Order received from the Republic of Vietnam. Colonel Roberts was stationed in many assignments including stations in the United States, Japan, Canada and Vietnam. He was a jet fighter pilot and flight instructor at the fighter school at Williams Air Force Base. Col Roberts was the Officer Training at Keesler Air Force Base and Commander of a NATO communication organization and Advisor to the Vietnamese Air Force. After retiring from the Air Force, he was employed by Global Associates. In addition to his military career Colonel Roberts was an active participant in both his church and his community. He was member of the General Assembly Council, and chairman of the council of Presbytery of Mississippi. He was also an Elder of the 1st Presbyterian Church of Bay St. Louis and served on their board of Trustees. He was buried in Biloxi National Cemetery in Biloxi, Mississippi. [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Roberts, LeRoy Jr. - LeRoy Roberts, Jr. Age 86, was the oldest of eight children. He grew up in Toccoa, Georgia and was valedictorian of his high school. LeRoy earned a B.S. from San Francisco State College. Prior to his civilian career, LeRoy retired from the U.S. Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel and was one of the distinguished aviators in World War II, known as the Tuskegee Airmen. He flew 42 missions against the enemy and served as a fighter pilot with the 332nd Fighter Group in Italy. As a flight commander in the Korean War, he led 106 missions against the enemy in support of the United Nations' effort. His decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with one (1) cluster, the Air Medal with eleven (11) clusters and the Air Force Commendation with one (1) cluster. In May of 2007, the Tuskegee Airmen received the Congressional Medal of Honor for their exemplary service and bravery in World War II. LeRoy was a gifted speaker who provided insight into the historic contribution and sacrifices the Tuskegee Airmen made for the freedom we all enjoy as Americans. He is preceded in death by his son, LeRoy Roberts, III and his granddaughter, Charlotte Factory. LeRoy is survived by his wife, Ann Johnson Roberts, three daughters - Karen Robinson, M.S., Susan Roberts, and Dr. Cheryl Roberts, his son-in-law Miller Adams, his grandson, Christopher Robinson, and great grandson David Issiah Donaldson. A rosary will be recited at Piper- Morley-Mellinger Funeral Home on Sunday, August 17th at 4:00 p.m. The funeral Mass will be celebrated on Monday, August 18th at St. Charles Borromeo in Tacoma, WA. at 9:00 a.m. with a reception to follow at the parish hall. A grave side service will be held at Calvary Cemetery following the reception. A memorial to honor his life will be planned at a future date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: Tuskegee Airmen National Scholarship Foundation, P.O. Box 9166, Arlington, VA 22219-1166. Telephone number: (703)286-7653.  [Source: Tacoma News Tribune, August 2008]
     
  • Shambrey, Joseph - He enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was shipped to Italy in 1944 as a mechanic with the 100th Fighter Squadron of the Air Corps 332nd Fighter Group.  During the Korean War he was a national guard combat engineer.  His post-military career was with the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.  He died January 05, 2015 at his home in Los Angeles, California.
     
  • Shivers, Clarence Laudric - See African-American Male Korean War Veterans of Note section of this page of the KWE.
     
  • Sutton, Percy Ellis - See Male African-American Veterans of Note section for further details about Percy Sutton.
     
  • Tate, Charles William - Charles William Tate was born October 18, 1922 in Manchester, Pennsylvania.  He was in the first unit of black American fighter pilots who trained at Tuskegee, the black college founded by Booker T. Washington. The Tuskegee Airmen were a regiment of black pilots who flew in the Army Air Forces during World War II. They became known as the Tuskegee Airmen. The group trained to be fighter pilots for the 99th Fighter Squadron. They saw action in North Africa, Italy, France, and Germany. Tate completed 99 missions and earned a commission of Second Lieutenant. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and four Oak Leaf Clusters and he was later inducted into the Hall of Valor at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After the war, he re-enlisted and served in the Korean War as a Captain. He then came home and worked for the U.S. Postal Service, rising in the ranks to manager of a Pittsburgh Post Office. He died November 18, 2005 in Pittsburgh.  Captain Tate is survived by his three children, Robert Tate, of Las Vegas, Sharon Dykes, of Rankin, Pennsylvania, and Charles Tate, of McCandless, Pennsylvania; and two sisters, Willa Mae Kennedy, of Philadelphia, and Rachel Waters, of Rydel, Pennsylvania. [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Taylor, Boyd - This Tuskegee airman was born October 20, 1918 in Jackson, Alabama.  He was drafted in the Army Air Corps on July 25, 1942.  In 1946 he was assigned to 318th Army Air Force Base Unit and then 332nd Fighter Group.  On April 12, 1951 he was promoted to Tech Sergeant and assigned to Hamilton Air Force in California. On April 29, 1951 he was given flying status as Aerial Engineer on B29s and C47s as a crew member on flights monitoring radar operations from Canada and Mexico.  He retired on October 2, 1963 after 20 years in the military.  He then became an Equipment Metal Mechanic at Presidio Army Base, San Francisco.  He retired in July of 1983.
     
  • Taylor Porcher Jr. - See African-American Firsts section.
     
  • Theus, Lucius - Born October 11, 1922 in Madison County, Tennessee, General Theus graduated from Community High School in Blue Island, Illinois.  He joined the Army Air Corps in December of 1942 and attended Army Administration School at Atlanta University.  During World War II he was administrative clerk, chief clerk, and 1st sergeant of pre-aviation cadet and basic training squadrons at Keesler Field, Mississippi.  He attended OCS, was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in January 1946 and then served as squadron adjutant at Tuskegee for one year.  In August of 1952 he was assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Comptroller, Headquarters, United States Air Force in Washington, DC.  During his illustrious career he served in Greece and then was base comptroller at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base in Vietnam.  His military career continued for decades.  He died October 15, 2007.
     
  • Tull, Harrison - Born July 05, 1920 in Woodbury, New Jersey, Lt. Colonel Tull was drafted into the Army Air Corps in 1943.  He became a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, serving with the 477th Bombardment Group in World War II.  He served in the Reserves before being recalled to active duty in 1952 during the Korean War.  He was a navigation instructor, received training on B-29s, and then served with the 98th Bombardment Wing.  In 1956 he began a career as an electronic warfare equipment operator, instructor, and evaluator. He served his country during the Vietnam War, retiring from the Air Force in 1970 after 27 years of military service.  When he retired he was commander of the 55th Electronic Intelligence Operations Squadron at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.  After leaving the military he taught high school biology and was a junior high counselor at Omaha Public School District Monroe Junior High School until he retired in 1990.  He died October 11, 2009 at the age of 89.
     
  • Tunstall, Edward H. - See Korean War Veterans of Note in this section.
     
  • Tyler, Jesse Lee Sr. - Jesse Lee, U.S. Air Force chief master sergeant and one of the Tuskegee Airmen, passed away of congestive heart failure at his home in Rubidoux, California, on March 2, 1998. He had lived in Rubidoux twenty-nine years. He was born July 14, 1922 in St. Joseph, Louisiana.  One of the first black flight engineers ,he was a member of the Inland Empire chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc. A graduate of Tensas High School in St. Joseph, Louisiana, he graduated from the U. S. Army Air Forces' first segregated training program for black pilots and support crew during World War II at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama. He served in World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars before retiring in 1973. In the 1970s, he was a candidate for the Rubidoux Community Services District board. He earned an associate degree in business from Riverside City College in 1976; served on the executive board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter in Riverside and was a parishioner at St. John's Catholic Church. Survivors include his wife, Dorothy; two daughters, Deborah Tyler-Dillard and Patricia Tyler; four sons, Jesse Jr., John, Jeffery and Jerome; four grandchildren; six nephews and three nieces. [Source: Findagrave]
     
  • Vaughns, Thomas Franklin - Born July 7, 1920, Vaughns was from Pine Bluff, Arkansas.  He was drafted into the Army Air Corps in 1942 during his senior year at high school.  He trained to be a mechanic for B-25 bombers in Bakersfield, California, and then was transferred to the Tuskegee airmen, serving until 1946.  He joined the Reserves and then was recalled to service in the US Air Force in 1950-1951.  He was discharged in 1952 and returned to Arkansas.  Following was a career dedicated to helping youth through AmeriCorps VISTA, Delta Service Corps, and 4-H Clubs of America.
     
  • Walton, Ira - This Tuskegee airman grew up in Waco, Texas and was drafted into the army in 1943.  He served in World War II, and then was a member of the 514 Trucking Company in Korea.  He completed two tours of duty in Vietnam in an engineering battalion.  He received two Bronze Stars for meritorious service in combat zones.  Chief Warrant Officer 3 Walton retired from the military in 1974 after 30 years and two months of service.  He then worked for the Waco Veterans Affairs Regional Office.  He was a table tennis champion and held other Golden Age Games medals.
     
  • Ware, Dr. Ivan - He served in a ground support unit for Tuskegee airmen.  Lt. Colonel Ware retired from the Air Force after 30 years of service in the military.
     
  • Warren, James C. - Colonel Warren was originally from Gurly, Alabama. He joined the Civilian Pilot TraininProgram2 and on November 19, 1942 he enlisted in the Army Air Corps.  He trained at Tuskegee and then was stationed at Freeman Field.  He was among the 162 black officers arrested for demanding lawful entry into the white officers' club during the Freeman Field Mutiny of 1945.  He attended navigator/bombardier school, graduating on February 4, 1945.  After the war he attended the University of Illinois, majoring in architecture.  He left school to accept a job with an architecture firm in Chicago.  He was recalled to the Air Force on March 13, 1952 and joined the 17th Bombardment Group in Korea, where he carried out 50 missions.  In Vietnam he carried out another 63 missions.  He was selected as the navigator on the first C-141 to fly into North Vietnam to return the first group of American POWs to the Philippines.  After 35 years of service he retired November 11, 1978.  Colonel Warren died May 17, 2014.
     
  • Watson, George Sr. - Born in Wildwood, New Jersey in 1920, he joined the US Army Air Corps and trained at Tuskegee.  He went to Germany, Turkey, Iran and Italy as a ground crewman in World War II.  After the way he was a Tech Sergeant at McGuire AFB.  He retired from service in 1969.
     
  • Whitehead, John Lyman Jr. - Born May 14, 1924 in Lawrenceville, Virginia, he enlisted in the Reserve Corps in 1942 and then joined the Army Air Corps.  At Tuskegee he was known as "Mr. Death".  He joined the 301st Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group in March of 1945 and flew 19 missions.  He was discharged in January 1947 as a Captain, attended Western Virginia State University where he got a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering, and then was recalled to active duty in August of 1948.  He participated in the Korean War and the Vietnam War.  He retired from the military in 1974 and died September 6, 1992. [See also: African-American Firsts.]
     
  • Williams, Archie - See African-American Notables on this page of the KWE.
     
  • Williams, Eldridge F. - Born in Harris, Texas on November 2, 1917, Williams received a B.A. degree from Western University in Kansas in 1936; a second degree in education from Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1941; and a Master's degree from the University of Michigan.  He was turned away from the Army Air Corps pilot training program due to the racism that existed at that time.  In 1940 he joined the Army, but not as a flier.  He worked in an office and became a 1st Sergeant.  In 1942 he was selected for OCS and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant.  For three years he was assigned to the Tuskegee Airmen Program as Assistant Director of Physical Training.  He trained cadets in parachute landing and survival techniques.  He trained nearly all 992 men who became Tuskegee Airmen.  After World War II he coached tennis and basketball at North Carolina A&T College in Greensboro, North Carolina.  He returned to military service in 1948 during the Berlin Airlift crisis and served during the Korean War on Okinawa.  He retired on November 30, 1963 at a Lieutenant Colonel.  From 1964 to 1985 he became a teacher in Miami-Dade County Public School System.  He was the author of Without Wings I Served.  He died in Miami, Florida on July 2, 2015 at the age of 90.
     
  • Williams, Fred - See African-American Firsts section of this KWE page.
     
  • Wilson, Bertram W. - Born September 20, 1921, Lt. Colonel Wilson was a Tuskegee airman who flew in World War II in Europe.  He received a Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, and a Bronze Star in that war.  He left the military briefly, but returned to the Air Force to serve in the Korean War.  He flew RF-4C Phantom Jets in Vietnam, retiring in 1968.  Wilson accidentally drowned in his swimming pool in Ashford, Connecticut on July 09, 2002.  He is buried in Arlington Cemetery.
     
  • Wilson, Myron - This Tuskegee airman was born April 13, 1916 and died July 11, 2001.  He served in World War II and the Korean War.  He is buried in Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles, California.
     
  • Wilson, Theodore "Teddy" Allen - Born in Gloucester, Virginia, in 1920, Lt. Colonel Wilson received a Bachelors degree in sociology from Virginia University.  Prior to completing his studies he was drafted into the Army Air Corps and became a Tuskegee airman.  He flew Ps-40 Warhawks and P-51 Mustangs on sixty missions over Italy.  He was promoted to captain by the war's end.  During the Korean War he flew B-26K bombers and C-47s in 39 combat missions.  He received a Bronze Star during the years he served in Korea and Japan (1950-52).  He received a Masters degree in business from the University of Dayton, Ohio.  He was promoted to Lt. Colonel in 1961 and retired from the Air Force in 1968.  He later became Assistant Vice President of Bank of America, retiring in 1984.  He died on March 15, 2006.
     
  • Yates, Lenard Lebaron - He joined the Army Air Corps ROTC, serving with the 2164 Army Air Base Reserve Unit from 1943-45.  He joined the Army Air Corps on December 12, 1945 and was assigned to different air bases as a US Air Force Supply Specialist.  He retired from active duty and reserves after a 30-year military career on August 31, 1975.  After retirement he began working at Northrop Aircraft Corp in Hawthorne, California and McDonnell Douglas Services, Inc., St. Louis.  He retired in May of 1981.

Back to Page Contents

Montford Point Marines in the Korean War


Montford Point Trainees
(Click picture for a larger view)

Montford Point was a segregated training camp in Jacksonville, North Carolina, for African-American men who enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.  Construction of Montford began in April of 1942 and the camp opened in August of 1942 and was decommissioned in 1949 after President Truman desegregated the military.  From 1942 to 1949 some 20,000 African-Americans became Marines at Montford.  Following is an incomplete list of Montford Marines who served during the Korean War.  To add information about others who trained at Montford and went on to serve their country during the Korean War, contact lynnita@thekwe.org.

  • Ash, Fred - Born in Delisle, Mississippi, Ash joined the Marine Corps in 1945 and trained at Montford.  He served with occupation forces in Saipan and Guam during World War II.  He landed at Inchon and fought to Seoul with the 5th Marines.  He returned to G-3-7 and fought in the Chosin Reservoir.  During the war in Vietnam he was stationed on Okinawa and then at Chu Li, Vietnam.  He retired from the Marine Corps in 1966 as Master Sergeant and lived in Jacksonville, North Carolina until he died in March of 2005.
     
  • Banker, Al - Banker was born in Louisiana and joined the Marine Corps, training at Montford.  During World War II he served with the occupation forces in Saipan.  After the war ended he attended school at Ft. Benning, Georgia, for Mess Management School.  He was placed in charge of the Recruit Mess Hall at Camp LeJeune.  He served in Japan and Guantanomo Bay.  He retired after 24 years in the Marine Corps and lived in Bolivia, North Carolina.  After retirement he worked at Grumman Aerospace Corp, Long Island, in security.
     
  • Batts, Adner - He joined the Marine Corps in 1948 and trained at Montford Point.  He had a tour of duty in Korea in 1953 and then served in Vietnam.  He retired from the Marine Corps in 1963.
     
  • Blount, Turner G. - A native of Keysville, Georgia, Blount was drafted into the Marine Corps in 1943 and trained at Montford Point.  He participated in World War II in the Saipan Invasion June 15, 1944, then Tinian and Okinawa.  After discharge he joined the United States Marine Corps Reserve.  He was called back to active duty during the Korean War, serving in a motor transport unit carrying supplies to Marines in the field and attending various schools.  In the Vietnam War he provided security for a helicopter squadron at Marine Air Base Squadron 16 at Marble Mount Air Facility in Vietnam.  After discharge from the Marine Corps he served 14 years as a councilman for the city of Jacksonville.
     
  • Borden, Melvin - Gunny Sergeant Borden was originally from Alabama.  He joined the Marine Corps in 1948 and trained as a cook and steward.  He worked in officers' clubs overseas, including Japan, Okinawa, Korea, and other duty stations.  He was a supply instructor at Camp Lejeune until his retirement in 1968.  After that he held a civil service position at Camp Lejeune for 23 years.  He chose Jacksonville, North Carolina as his retirement home.
     
  • Branch, Frederick C. - Born on May 31, 1922 in Hamlet, North Carolina, Branch was drafted (Army) in May of 1943.  He was chosen for the Marines and trained at Montford, receiving a commission as 2nd Lieutenant on November 10, 1945.  After World War II he joined the United States Marine Corps Reserves.  He was reactivated to active duty during the Korean War and served at Camp Pendleton, California, in command of an antiaircraft training platoon.  He was discharged from active duty in 1952 and then returned to the USMCR, where he retired in 1955 as a captain.  From 1947 to 1988 he taught at Dubbins High School in Philadelphia.  He died April 10, 2005, and is buried at Quantico National Cemetery.
     
  • Britton, Theodore Roosevelt Jr. - Born October 17, 1925, in North Augusta, South Carolina, Britton was drafted into the United States Marines after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  He trained at Montford Point.  After his discharge in 1946 he enrolled in New York University under the G.I. Bill.  He was recalled to active duty in the USMC during the Korean War, serving 1950-51.  He resumed his studies at NYU after discharge and graduated with a B.A. degree in 1952.  From 1952 to 1971 he was a financial advisor.  In 1971 he was named Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Richard Nixon Administration.  President Ford named him as US Ambassador to Barbados and Grenada 1974 to 1977.  President Reagan named him chairman of the US China-Soviet Union Agreement on Housing and Planning.  He retired from U.S. Foreign Service in 1987, after which he became a long-time peace ambassador.
     
  • Brooks, Gilmon D. - Born June 24, 1925 in Madison, Wisconsin, he joined the Marine Corps in October of 1943 and trained at Montford Point.  He delivered ammunition supplies to Iwo Jima four days after the Marines' first wave.  He was struck by shrapnel and evacuated to a hospital ship in Hawaii.  He earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.  He served six years in the Marine Corps before joined the Army in 1949.  He served in Europe and in combat in Korea, returning home in 1953.  He received five Army commendation medals during his Army career.  He later became a civil service employee at the naval weapons station at Earle. In 1974 he became civil personnel manager with the United States Army CECOM at Ft. Monmouth.  He died on June 19, 2017.
     
  • Brown, Calvin 1st Sergeant Brown was from Lake Charles, Louisiana.  During World War II he joined the Coast Guard in 1945 and became a mess attendant on the Coast Guard cutter Spruce, a buoy tender.  He joined the Marine Corps in 1946 and trained at Montford Point.  He first served with a laundry unit at Seoul and Hungnam, but was transferred to Graves Registration.  He left Korea in July of 1951 and after his discharge worked 33 years for Bethlehem Steel Company.  He retired to New Bern, North Carolina.
     
  • Burns, Winton J. Sr. - A graduate of Xavier University Preparatory School, Burns joined the Marine Corps and trained at Montford Point.  He served in the USMC during World War II and Korea.  After his military service he was a Health and Physical Education teacher in the Orleans Parish School System for 30 years.  At Carter G. Woodson Middle School and Booker T. Washington High School, he was head coach of track and field and football teams.  After retiring from teaching he served as a Court Crier in the Juvenile Court in Parish of Orleans for 25 years.
     
  • Cody, Johnny - This retired Staff Sergeant trained at Montford Point and then spent twenty years in the Marine Corps.  He served in Korea and Vietnam.
     
  • Cook, Thomas E. - Originally from Kentucky, Cook joined the Marine Corps in 1948 and trained at Montford Point.  He was sent to Korea in 1950 and participated in the Chosin Reservoir campaign.  He was stranded in North Korea for 13 days, and as a result his right foot froze and he lost part of it.  He was medically discharged from the USMC in 1951 due to his injury.
     
  • Corley, Averet Wallace - Corporal Corley joined the Army Air Corps underage.  When officials found out that he was only 16 years old, he received an honorable discharge.  On July 21, 1945 he joined the Marine Corps and trained at Montford Point.  After training he guarded warehouses in Norfolk, Virginia.  He reenlisted on March 6, 1946 for two years and was sent to Saipan with a heavy anti-aircraft visual unit.  Due to discrimination he left the Marine Corps at the end of his enlistment, but recalled to duty during the Korean War because he was serving in the Reserves.  He did not go overseas during the Korean War, but rather served with the 2nd Combat Service H&S Company at Hadnot Point, North Carolina until May 1951.  He received a college education in Indiana and became a successful educator in that state.
     
  • Cotman, Orvia - Originally from Carrington, Pennsylvania, he was drafted into the Marine Corps in 1944.  After training he was a typist for 18 months with a white Marine unit in Hawaii.  During the Korean War he served in a Headquarters Battalion as a projector repairman.  He was later in supply with the 1st Land Battalion at DaNang, Vietnam.  He retired from the USMC on December 31, 1970 and then worked 20 years at a hospital in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
     
  • Culmer, Dave - He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1949 and was a member of the last platoon to attend basics at Montford Point.  He served in the USMC for 23 years, with various assignments at Cherry Point, Okinawa, Vietnam and Thailand, until he retired in 1972.  After retiring from the Corps he worked in the Department of Veteran Affairs for 22 years in various capacities.
     
  • Cunningham, Ellis - Born near Florence, South Carolina, Cunningham joined the Marine Corps in 1944 and participated in the battle for Iwo Jima.  He witnessed the flag raising there.  Later he served in Korea and participated in the Tet Offense in Vietnam.  He retired from the Marine Corps in 1970 and then worked with the South Carolina Electric and Gas Company on the Charles (South Carolina) bus system until he retired from that job in 1991.  His retirement home was in Charleston.
     
  • Edwards, Hulon - Sergeant Edwards was originally from Mendenhall, Mississippi.  He was drafted in the Army in 1942 and served with the 367th Infantry in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany.  After being discharged from the Army in 1946 he joined the Marine Corps and trained at Montford Point.  During his 20 years in the Corps he served in Korea in a light machine gun section and in Vietnam beginning in 1968.  He retired and moved to Jacksonville, North Carolina.
     
  • Felder, Lorenzo - Felder served with the 51st Defense Battalion in the South Pacific during World War II.  He was discharged after the war and attended Morgan State College.  He then began studying in law school, during which he was recalled to active duty during the Korean War.  He served in Germany and returned to the Baltimore, Maryland area, where he lived until he died in 2006.
     
  • Frazier, Allen Newton - Frazier joined the merchant marine and served on the SS Oremar, SS Jonathan Elmer and MS John Ericsson during and immediately after World War II.  He joined the Marines in August of 1946 and trained at Montford Point.  He left the service before his two-year enlistment was over, receiving an honorable discharge.  He went back to high school in the fall of 1947 and married in 1948.  He re-enlisted in the Marine Corps on July 2, 1952 and had assignments at Quantico, Barstow Supply Center in California, Hawaii, Okinawa, and 13 months in Vietnam.  He retired from the Marine Corps on April 30, 1973 as a Master Gunnery Sergeant.  Allen Frazier died May 15, 2013.
     
  • Greason, William Henry - See African-American Firsts section to learn about this famous Montford Point Marine and Korean War veteran.
     
  • Griffin, Ivor - A Montford Point Marine, Griffin served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
     
  • Hicks, Edward Q. - Hicks grew up in Philadelphia, joined the Marine Corps, and trained at Montford Point.  He saw action in Korea and Vietnam, receiving a Bronze Star and Navy Commendation medal.  He retired as a captain.
     
  • Hill, John Robert Jr. - Born June 23, 1930, John enlisted in the Marine Corps March 16, 1948 and trained at Montford Point.  He saw combat in Korea at Inchon and in the Wonsan-Hungham and Chosin campaign.  He was honorably discharged on July 31, 1970.  He had a successful civilian career at Citizen and Trust Bank.  He died December 19, 2012.
     
  • Hooper, F.M. Jr. - Hooper joined the Marine Corps in 1948, was trained at Montford, and served until 1950.  During the Korean War he was sent to the Far East for security forces.  He was an MP in Japan, then served on Okinawa and 13 months 1967-68 in Vietnam.  After the wars he served in the supply field until he retired from the USMC in 1971 as a Gunnery Sergeant.
     

  • Edgar R Huff

    Huff, Edgar R. - Huff joined the Marine Corps in June of 1942 and trained at Montford Point.  He later had responsibility for all DI's at Montford Point.  He served overseas for six months in 1945 as 1st Sergeant of the 5th Depot Company.  He was on Saipan, saw combat on Okinawa, and was part of the occupation forces in North China.  After leaving the military following the war, Huff re-enlisted in the Marine Corps and served in Korea.  He also had two tours of duty in the Vietnam War.  He retired from the USMC in 1972 and died in May of 1994.
     
  • Inge, J.T. - Retired Gunnery Sergeant Inge trained at Montford Point and served in the Korean War and Vietnam War.
     
  • Jackson, Joe Earl - This retired 1st Sergeant trained at Montford Point and served his country in World War II and the Korean War.
     
  • McDowell, William - He joined the Marine Corps at age 17 and trained at Montford Point.  He served on Okinawa for three weeks prior to the end of World War II.  In 1948 he was one of a few Marines that were handpicked to integrate Camp Pendleton.  Soon after he was returned to an all-black unit.  He saw combat in Inchon, Seoul, and the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War.  He received a Bronze Star for bravery during the Vietnam War.  He retired in 1968.
     
  • Miller, Willie - Born August 24, 1924, Master Sergeant Miller was a native of Atlanta, Georgia.  He joined the Marine Corps on April 16, 1943 and was trained at Montford Point.  He served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, receiving a discharge on May 31, 1968.  He died April 13, 2020.
     
  • Moore, Robert Lee - Born in 1929, in Queens, New York, Robert enlisted in the Marine Corps and trained at Montford in 1946.  After graduation he was assigned to food service operations at Camp LeJeune and then Camp Pendleton.  In 1951 Moore was shipped to Korea where he remained 16 months running a field kitchen near the front lines.  He was transferred to Sasebo, Japan and then returned to Southern California where he trained Marines in food service.  He spent three years in the 1960s running a mess hall on the USS Princeton.  He completed a tour of duty in the Vietnam War.  He retired as a gunny sergeant in 1972.  After that he received a degree at Palomar College and then returned to Pendleton for 20 years as a dietetic technician at the base hospital.  He and his wife Willie Mae Miles Moore were parents of eleven children, 19 grandchildren, 47 great-grandchildren, and 10 great-great grandchildren.  Willie Mae died in 2004 and Robert died on February 25, 2021 of complications from Covid.
     
  • Person, Barnett- A native of Montgomery, Alabama, he joined the Marine Corps and arrived at Montford Point on July 23, 1946.  He graduated in the 1946 class.  He served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.  In July of 1967 he saved the life of 1Sgt. Jack McDowell.  Person received a Silver Star for bravery in the Vietnam War, as well as two Purple Hearts.  He retired as 1st Sergeant in 1974.
     
  • Reavis, Carrel - This retired gunnery sergeant trained at Montford Point after being drafted in 1943.  He served his country for 21 years in World War II, Korea, and thereafter. 
     
  • Rhodes, Harry (Hari) - See the Veterans of Note section of this page for his biography.
     
  • Robinson, Archie - Robinson dropped out of college to join the Marine Corps on October 9, 1946.  He arrived for training at Montford Point four years after the base opened.  During his 30-year career in the USMC, he served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.  In Korea he was seriously wounded on his birthday while staging a raid on a hill.
     
  • Roundtree, Louis - See the Silver Star section of this page for his biography.
     
  • Scott, William C. - This Florida resident trained with the Marines at Montford Point.  He served his country in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.  While cycling, Scott was hit by a car on February 10, 2014 and died at the age of 87.
     
  • Spencer, John - John ran away from home in 1943 and joined the Marine Corps at age 15.  He fought in two wars--first in the Mariana Islands during World War II and then in the Korean War.  He retired as a Staff Sergeant in the Marine Corps after 20 years of service.
     
  • Walker, Richard H. - Born September 5, 1928 in Macon, Georgia, Walker joined the Marine Corps and trained at Montford Point beginning July 22, 1946.  After completing his training he was assigned as an Ammunition Technician.  During World War II he served with the 7th and 8th Ammunition Companies on occupied Guam.  He was a Chosin Few Marine during the Korean War.  He served in the Vietnam War and with the 5th Marines during the Cuban blockade.  After 24 years of service in the USMC he retired July 30, 1970 as a Gunnery Sergeant.  He then worked 21 years for the Norfolk and Southern Railroad.  He died June 30, 2019 in California.
     
  • Wilcots, Henry - Joined the Marines in 1946 and trained at Montford Point.  He served in the Marines from 1946 to 1952.

Back to Page Contents

2nd Ranger Company

"Heavy fighting marked their months at the front, including a magnificent attack and defense of Hill 581 that May.  Throughout their deployment in Korea, the 2d Rangers served with honor and achieved an outstanding combat record."

- The US Army's First, Last, and Only All-Black Rangers

The history of the 2nd Ranger (Airborne) Company in Korea is told in a comprehensive book by former 2nd Ranger MSgt (Ret.) Edward L. Posey, with contributions from other Rangers.  His book, The US Army's First, Last, and Only All-Black Rangers, was published by the Savas Beatie LLC company in 2009. Posey chronicles the movements and actions of the company at Tanyang Pass, Munsan-ni, Hill 581 and Hill 545. It also includes personal memoirs, the post-war lives of the Rangers, a unit roster, maps, photographs, and more.

Nothing said on this page of the Korean War Educator can adequately describe the heroic actions of the men in this all-black ranger unit.  Twelve men were killed in action; nine received Silver Stars; eleven received Bronze Stars; and 103 received Purple Hearts.  Posey's book provides great detail, including the names of all these recipients and an interesting perspective of five different views of combat from the foxhole level.

In Their Memory
 

Isaac Emanuel Baker KIA 1/07/1951 Richard Henry Glover KIA 1/14/1951
J.T. Holley KIA 1/14/1951 Milton Johnson KIA 1/14/1951
Frank King Jr. KIA 1/14/1951 James Petteress Jr. KIA 6/11/1951
Herman Leroy Rembert KIA 1/14/1951 Charles D. Scott KIA 1/14/1951
Robert St. Thomas KIA 1/14/1951 Ralph West Sutton KIA 5/20/1951
William Van Dunk KIA 3/23/1951 Lawrence J. Williams KIA 1/14/1951


  • Sfc Isaac Emanuel Baker

    Baker, Sfc. Isaac Emanuel - Isaac was born May 11, 1922 in Florida.  The World War II and Korean War veteran is buried in Magnolia Cemetery, Blountstown, Florida.  He enlisted in the U.S. Army on December 12, 1942.  He was related to Jennie B. Baker (1928-1966) who is also buried in Magnolia Cemetery.
     
  • Glover, Cpl. Richard Henry - Richard was born April 17, 1928 in New Hanover County, North Carolina.  He is buried in Mayesville Community Cemetery, Mayesville, South Carolina.
     
  • Holley, Pfc. J.T. - J.T. was born August 12, 1924 in Alabama.  His wife was Sybil E. Holley (born October 15, 1915/died March 22, 2015).  They are buried in Long Island National Cemetery, East Farmingdale, New York.
     
  • Johnson, Cpl. Milton - Milton was born December 13, 1929, son of Mrs. Ollie Johnson of Harriston, Virginia.  He was the brother of Agnes Laura McCauley Woodard and Hawood McCauley.  Milton is buried in Morning Star Baptist Church Cemetery, Crimora, Virginia.
     
  • King, Cpl. Frank Jr. - Frank was born July 15, 1931 in Alabama.  He is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery, Eufaula, Alabama.
     
  • Petteress, Cpl. James Jr. - James was born in Ohio in 1930, a son of James Petteress Sr. and Annie Mae Johnson Petteress (1904-1982).  His brother was Eugene Petteress (1934-2020).  James is buried in Hillcrest Cemetery, Hamilton County, Ohio.
     
  • Rembert, Pvt. Herman Leroy - Herman was born November 16, 1932.  His mother was Ruby M. Rembert of Alabama (died July 10, 2007) and his brothers were Harold and Ronald Rembert.  He enlisted in the Army in April of 1950. Herman is buried in Lincoln Memorial Park, Clinton Township, Michigan.
     
  • Scott, Pfc. Charles D. - Charles was born January 13, 1932 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a son of Willie Scott (1888-1948) and Dora Perry Scott (1894-1988).  His siblings were Otis Scott (1910-1940), Lessie Scott Young (1912-1985), Willie Perry Scott (1914-1980), Johnnie O. Scott (1926-1927) and Evelyn Mae Scott Campbell Reaves (1928-2009).  Charles is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Winston-Salem.
     

  • PFC Robert St Thomas
    (Click picture for a larger view)

    St. Thomas, Pfc. Robert - Robert was born May 13, 1931 and is buried in Glendale Cemetery, Bloomfield, New Jersey.  His home of record was Essex County, New Jersey. 
     
  • Sutton, Cpl. Ralph West - Ralph was born March 11, 1925 in Charleston, South Carolina, a son of Joe F. Sutton (1877-1950) and Marshallie (Mary) Sutton.  His siblings were John Sutton (1896-1949) and Joe H.F. Sutton (1922-1937).  Ralph is buried in Union Baptist Church Cemetery, North Charleston, South Carolina.
     

  • Pfc William Van Dunk
    (Click picture for a larger view)

    Van Dunk, Pfc. William G. - William was born November 14, 1930 in New York, the son of Samuel G. Van Dunk (1908-1992) and Christine Van Dunk (1910-1994).  William is buried in Airmont Lutheran Cemetery, Suffern, New York.  William was a Native American of the Ramapough Lenape Nation.
     
  • Williams, Cpl. Lawrence J. "Poochie" - Lawrence was born November 25, 1929 in Chicago, Illinois, son of Julius Joseph and Pauline Mamie Williams.  He was slightly wounded in early January 1951 and then killed in action a few days later.  He is buried in Lincoln Cemetery, Blue Island, Illinois.

Back to Page Contents

African-American Maryland National Guard

[The following article was written by Pentagram staff writer Delonte Harrod, and published February 08, 2018.  All credit goes to the Pentagram and Harrod.]

African-American Maryland National Guard
fight in Korean War, desegregation

From the beginning of this country’s history African-Americans have fought in its wars. They did so knowing they were helping others fight for the equality they lacked. Although fighting for the freedom of others didn’t equate to freedom for African-American soldiers, Maryland National Guardsmen joined the fight during the Korean War.

The Maryland National Guard’s 231st Transportation Truck Battalion, an African-American unit, stands within an African-American tradition of serving with dignity while in a segregated guard. However, the battalion composed of three truck companies, which completed their mission and upheld the ideals of democracy in Korea during the Korean War.

The Korean War started in the 1950s and the Guard was sent to support the troops, said Joseph Balkoski, military historian and author.  “We had what was called the transportation truck battalion here in the Maryland Guard and it was mobilized and sent to Korea,” said Balkoski.

There’s a reason why the battalion was only composed of African-Americans. Although President Harry S. Truman integrated the military on July 26, 1948 with Executive Order 9981, according to Balkoski that didn’t influence the Maryland National Guard.  Balkoski said the Maryland National Guard is a state organization that was under the authority of the governor of Maryland, who didn’t want to follow Executive Order 9981 and desegregate. “The governors, depending on their interpretation, didn’t really feel obligated in some circumstances to follow the Army’s lead in integrating,” said Balkoski. “The Army was integrating prior to the start of the Korean War, but in the Maryland National Guard, which was probably typical of many Southern states, units did not integrate.”

In 1950, the 231st Transportation Battalion, with only two of its truck companies, were ordered to active duty to support troops in Korea. However, the unit was split up. The 165th Truck Company was ordered to stay in Baltimore, while Headquarters and Headquarters Company and the 726th Transportation Truck Company were ordered to Korea in 1950, arriving on December 31.

“Primarily, they hauled ammunition and rations,” said Balkoski. “However, in some circumstances, they also moved large bodies of troops, typically 20 to 25 men per truck.” Being in Korea helped to change ethnic makeup of the 231st Transportation Truck Battalion. The unit went from being all African-American to being ethnically diverse. Integration of the Guard was now happening not on American soil, but on foreign soil.  Black and white men serving alongside each other to complete a mission that was new for the Maryland National Guard. Yet, this doesn’t necessarily mean the men got along.

The men returned home from the Korean War to a state that valued segregation. Maj. Gen. Milton Reckord, who served 45 years, wanted to maintain a segregated Maryland National Guard. Under Reckord’s reign, the unit had three all African-American units and 80 white units. The men re-entered a segregated state and military after being integrated during the Korean War.

Segregation had its consequences. The men understood this and if the Maryland National Guard was going to remain segregated it would mean that they could only serve in those units, according to Balkoski. And that would limit their careers in the Guard.  “They would have been limited to the transportation or the quartermaster branch of the Army,” said Balkoski. “There’s nothing wrong with that, but that might not have been the career path that a soldier may have wanted to follow. Let’s say they wanted to be in the infantry, but they literally could not be in the infantry because there was no infantry unit in the Maryland National Guard that would accept them.”

Fighting alongside their white brothers sparked something in them. According to a 2009 Washington Post article on the 231st, some of the men quit the Maryland National Guard when they returned home, joining civil rights groups to lobby against then Maryland governor Theodore Mckeldin and Reckord. “They simply refused to go back into the Guard and face that kind of treatment,” Louis S. Diggs, who served in a company under the 231st, told the Washington Post in 2009. Balkoski said Reckord eventually integrated the Maryland National Guard because he was pressured to do so by McKeldin.

In 1955, the Maryland National Guard was integrated. Since, then the men of 231st Transportation Truck Battalion have been recognized by the Maryland National Guard for their service and all that they endured."


Back to Page Contents

The Ultimate Sacrifice

Mike Davino, an officer in the 2nd Indianhead Division Association, researched the National Archives regarding black Americans who died in the Korean War.  According to government records, there were 3,121 black veterans who died in the Korean War.  The KWE is in the process of adding details about each one to this page of our website.  To add information about African-American casualties, contact Lynnita@thekwe.org. For a spreadsheet of data from the National Archives, click here.

Abbey, Augustus A.

Born in 1929, Army veteran Augustus Abbey was killed in action on November 12, 1950.  His home of record was St. Louis City, Missouri.

Abney, Artis Jr.

Born in 1930, Army veteran Artis Abney was killed in action on March 28, 1951.  His home of record was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Acosta, Martinez Lu

Born in 1929, Army veteran Martinez Acosta was killed in action on September 16, 1952.  His home of record was Puerto Rico.

Adams, Bernard B.

Born in 1929, Army veteran Bernard Adams was killed in action on August 29, 1950.  His home of record was Mobile, Alabama.

Baker, Isaac

SFC Isaac Emanuel Baker was killed in action in South Korea on January 7, 1951 near Tanyang, South Korea.  He was born May 11, 1922 in Florida and is buried in Magnolia Cemetery, Blountstown, Florida. His mother was Jennie B. Baker of Blountstown.  Sergeant Baker enlisted in the Army on December 12, 1942 and served in World War II and Korea.  In Korea he was a member of the 2nd Airborne Ranger Company.

Benefield, William Maurice Jr.

William Benefield was born on June 23, 1926 in Arkansas, son of William Maurice Benefield Sr. (1903-1992) and Samantha M. Parker Benefield (1903-2000).  He was married to Carrie W. Benefield (1925-2006), and was the father of Michael Benefield, who was age 2.  Benefield enlisted in the military on November 14, 1945 at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina.  The World War II veteran was recalled to duty from the Enlisted Reserve Corps.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  [See also Medals for Bravery - Distinguished Service Cross]


Jesse LeRoy Brown Jr
(Click picture for a larger view)

Brown, Jesse LeRoy Jr.

Ensign Brown was born October 13, 1926 in Hattesburg, Mississippi, a son of John and Julia Lindsey Brown.  His siblings were Marvin, William, Fletcher and Lura (brothers) and "Johnny" (sister).  He was married to Daisy Pearl Nix (later Thorne) and they had a daughter, Pamala (later Pamala Brown Knight).  Brown enlisted in the US Naval Reserves on July 08, 1946.  He attended Ohio State University.  In 1947 he became the first black to be accepted into Navy Flight School.  On October 21, 1948 he was designated a naval aviator.  On December 4, 1950, his F4U-4 was hit by Chinese anti-aircraft and it crashed.  In spite of a rescue attempt by his wingman Thomas J. Hudner (who crashed his own aircraft to try to save Jesse), Jesse died during his 20th combat mission in Korea.  He was west of the Chosin Reservoir when he crashed.  He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, and he was memorialized in the book, The Flight of Jesse Leroy Brown by Theodore Taylor.  He remains missing in action.  Daisy Brown Thorne was born in 1927 and died in 2014.  [See also African-American Firsts and Medals for Bravery - Distinguished Flying Cross on this page of the KWE.]

Dobie, King David

Corporal Dobie was born April 16, 1919 in Florida, the son of Diana Taylor.  This World War II veteran had been overseas for two years when he was taken prisoner of war in the Kunu-ri area of North Korea.  A member of Company D, 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, he died a non-battle death while POW.  He was from Elkton, Florida.

Jackson, Levi Jr.

Levi Jr. was born July 27, 1926, the son of Levi Jackson and Lila Jackson of Lexington, South Carolina.  He was a 1949 All-Army Heavyweight Boxing Champion.  He died on August 13, 1950 in the Chindong-ni area of Korea and is buried in Mount Zion Cemetery in Columbia, South Carolina.  [See also Medals for Bravery, Distinguished Service Cross section of this page.]

Johnson, Rosamond Jr.

"Born in Florida in 1933, Rosamond Johnson, Jr., joined the army at 15. He was the first African American from Escambia County to die in Korea. Johnson served in the 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Division. Private First Class Johnson was killed in action on July 26, 1950, after carrying two wounded men to safety, for which he received the Purple Heart posthumously. The county named a blacks-only beach for him in the 1950s. Today Johnson Beach is part of Gulf Islands National Seashore, where a monument in his honor was placed in 1996. Johnson was buried at Barrancas National Cemetery on April 23, 1952 (Section 8, Grave 65)[Source: www.cem.va.gov]

Jones, Joseph

Pfc. Jones was born February 28, 1929.  He was wounded on June 14, 1953 and died of his wounds the next day.  He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Ft. Myers, Florida.

Kittell, Anthony Lee

Born December 12, 1930, he was a member of the 3rd Transportation Amphibious Truck Company at Rennde, South Korea, when he died of "other causes" on August 11, 1951.  He is buried in the Golden Gate National Cemetery.

Littlejohn, Franklin

Pfc. Littlejohn was born October 02, 1918 in San Antonio, Texas, the son of Jesse James and Estha Richardson Littlejohn.  He enlisted in the Army on August 16, 1940 at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas.  He was a member of the 9th Infantry Regiment, HQ Company, 3rd Battalion when he was killed in action in Korea on September 01, 1950.

Oakley, James

Corporal Oakley was born February 7, 1927.  He was swept away in South Korean waters on February 20, 1951, just a few days before his 24th birthday.  There is a marker in the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery, Florence, Alabama, for this World War II and Korean War veteran.  In Korea he was serving with the 1st Ranger (Airborne) Infantry Company, attached to the 2nd Infantry Division.

Owens, Norris

Pfc. Owens was born May 8, 1930.  He was a member of the 180th Infantry Regiment, Heavy Mortar Company of the 45th Infantry Regiment when he died of wounds on June 17, 1952.  He is buried in Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Shellman, Georgia.

Ware, William DuBois

William was born October 5, 1928, the son of Emil and Emma Ware of Winchester, Texas. He enlisted in the Army in Fayette County, Texas.  He was missing in action on July 27, 1950.  [See also Medals for Bravery, Distinguished Service Cross section of this page.]


Back to Page Contents

Statistics

Miscellaneous

  • In June 1950 almost 100,000 African-Americans were on active duty in the Armed Forces.
  • The 100,000 made up eight percent of the total military manpower.
  • Active duty blacks made up 9.7 percent of Army personnel, including 70,000 enlisted men and 1,200 officers.
  • Active duty blacks made up 4.4 percent of Air Force personnel, including 21,000 enlisted men and 300 officers.
  • In the Navy and Marine Corps combined there were 6,000 African-Americans.
  • By the end of 1954, the last of the all-African-American units had been disbanded.
  • There were two African-American Medal of Honor recipients in the Korean War.
  • An estimated 5,000 blacks were killed in the Korean War.  The exact amount is not known because government casualty records were not differentiated by race.

Back to Page Contents

United States Air Force Statistical Digest Tables

Negro Officers January 1949-June 1950

Rank Black Officers Total Officers Percentage of Total
O-1 30 2,908 1.0
0-2 161 21,050 .7
0-3 102 18,900 .6
0-4 14 7,054 .2
0-5 2 3,760 .01
0-6 1 1,894 .01
0-7-0-10 0 201 0.0

Negro Officers Fiscal 1953

Rank Black Officers Total Officers Percentage of Total
0-1 311 25,992 1.1
0-2 317 31,032 1.1
0-3 256 37,024 .6
0-4 82 19,791 .4
0-5 8 8,181 .1
0-6 4 3,938 .1
0-7-0-10 0 382 0.0

Negro Enlisted Men June 1949

Grade Black Enlisted Men Total Enlisted Percentage
E-1 3,843 27,497 13.9
E-2 6,999 102,590 6.8
E-3 4,975 67,604 7.3
E-4 3,097 59,365 5.2
E-5 1,959 55,891 3.5
E-6 528 25,571 2.0
E-7 365 21,118 1.8

Negro Enlisted Men, June 1950

Grade Black Enlisted Men Total Enlisted Percentage
E-1 4,308 46,109 15.0
E-2 7,9953 76,356 10.4
E-3 6,556 76,935 8.6
E-4 4,191 63,482 6.6
E-5 2,236 57,535 3.8
E-6 587 27,701 2.2
E-7 384 21,361 1.9
Aviation Cadet 27 2,186 1.3

Blacks in the Air Force 1950-1954

Date Total in Air Force Total Blacks in Air Force Percentage
6/1950 411,277 26,604 6.4
6/1951 788,381 49,270 4.9
12/1951 897,366 49,270 5.4
6/1952 974,474 61,124 6.2
12/1952 957,603 61,124 6.2
6/1953 977,593 70,958 7.2
12/1953 912,537 66,998 7.3
6/1954 947,918 72,119 7.7

 


Back to Page Contents

Printed Resources

[KWE Note: To add further printed resources to this section of the KWE, contact lynnita@thekwe.org.]


(Click picture for a larger view)

A-Train: Memoir of a Tuskegee Airman

Authored by Lt. Colonel Charles W. Dryden, this memoir is considered to be one of the best personal memoirs of a Tuskegee airman.

African-Americans in the Korean War: Forgotten Warriors of the Forgotten War

Presentation by George Cooper at the Korean War Conference Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War.  Conference sponsored by the University of Houston's Victoria College, Victoria, Texas, June 24-26, 2010.

An American Dream: The Life of an African-American Soldier and POW Who Spent Twelve Years in Communist China

This autobiography was written by Clarence Adams, an African-American Korean War POW who refused repatriation after three years captivity.

Army Removes Cloud Over Black Korean War Unit

This news release tells about an official Army report that restored honor to the 24th Infantry Regiment--an all-black unit that was maligned by several war historians.

Battling the Military Jim Crow: Thurgood Marshall and the Racial Politics of the NAACP During the Korean War

Authored by Lu Sun for the Master of Arts program, Graduate School of Vanderbilt University, August 2014.

Black Soldier/White Army: The 24th Infantry Regiment in Korea

Authored by William T. Bowers, William M. Hammond and George L. MacGarrigle, The 24th Infantry Regiment in Korea details the significant contributions made by this mostly-black combat unit in the Korean War and details controversies surrounding this unit's service in the Korean War. [KWE Note: According to many black Korean War veterans, this publication expressed a racially-tinged view of African-Americans in the Korean War.]

Brotherhood in Combat: How African-Americans Found Equality in Korea and Vietnam

This 207 page book was published in 2018 by the University of Oklahoma Press.  It was authored by Jeremy P. Maxwell.

Firefight at Yechon: : Courage and Racism in the Korean War

Lt. Col. Charles M. Bussey USA (Ret.) authored this 264-page book and it was published by Brassey's (US), Inc., A Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, New York.  Bussey was the commander of the 77th Engineer Combat Company in the Korean War and his book explains racism as he saw it in that war.

Forgotten Soldiers from a Forgotten War: Oral History Testimonies of African American Soldiers from the Korean War

Pope, Jr., O. Eliot, "Forgotten Soldiers from a Forgotten War: Oral History Testimonies of African American.  Korean War Veterans" (2017). Dissertations. 2600.  This dissertation was submitted to Loyola University in Chicago during May 2017.  It includes: Introduction; Chapter 1 - Motivation to Enlist; Chapter 2 - Basic Training Experiences; Chapter 3 - Combat Experiences; Chapter 4 - Impact of the Korean War; Conclusion; and Bibliography. 

Keep Your Airspeed Up: The Story of a Tuskegee Airman

Authored by former Tuskegee airman Harold H. Brown and Marsha S. Bordner, this book gives first-hand details about the life of a Tuskegee airman and tells about his 20-year military career.

Nomads of the Battlefield: Ranger Companies in the Korean War, 1950-1951

A Master of Military Art and Science thesis by Maj. John G. Provost, presented to the faculty of the United States Army Command and General Staff College.

Race, Art & Integration: The Image of the African-American Soldier in Popular Culture During the Korean War

The author, Gerald Early, studies film and publications to develop his theme, using 58 references to the Korean War.

Sixty-Five Years Ago, an All-Black United States Army Artillery Unit Endured Hell in Korea

This article, published on August 1, 2016 and written by Sebastien Roblin, describes the 999th Armored Field Artillery, a black Army artillery unit that participated in the Battle of the Imjin River on April 22, 1951.

Take a Seat - Make a Stand: A Hero in the Family

Author Amy Nathan tells the story of Sarah Keys, who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white Marine.  Sarah was a private in the Women's Army Corps at the time.

The Air Force Integrates 1945-1964

Alan L. Gropman authored this special study which was published by the Office of Air Force History, Washington, D.C.  The United States Air Force Statistical Digest tables found in the Statistics section of this page of the KWE came from the Index of Gropman's informative book.

The Fight to Fight

Authored by Gerald Astor.

The History of the 2nd Ranger Company

A thesis by Victor J. Bond presented to the Faculty of the United States Army Command and General Staff College in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Military Art & Science - Military History.  Bond's thesis includes an abstract, illustrations, five chapters, maps and a bibliography.

The Impact of Racial Integration on the Combat Effectiveness of Eighth (US) Army during the Korean War

A monograph by Maj. Richard T. Cranford, US Army, School of Advanced Military Studies, United States Army Command and General Staff College.  Abstract:  "This monograph studies the racial integration of Army ground combat units in Eighth (US) Army during the Korean War. The purpose of the monograph is to determine how this change in the utilization of African-American combat soldiers impacted the effectiveness of a US Army organization engaged in fighting a war. This monograph utilizes several methods to accomplish this purpose: study of pertinent records and Army doctrine, primary and secondary source historical analysis, and an inter-disciplinary study of military effectiveness. To answer the primary research question, this monograph also explores in broad terms the origins of the Cold War and US national policy after World War II, the use of Korean soldiers in US Army units during the Korean War, and the Army’s segregation policies. This monograph comes to two major findings. First, the integration of African-Americans in Army combat units during the Korean War resulted in improvements in cohesion, leadership and command, fighting spirit, personnel resources and sustainment that increased the combat effectiveness of Eighth (US) Army. Second, contrary to the prevailing Army view, leaders in the Eighth (US) Army held a positive opinion of the ability of African-American soldiers to fight in combat. Both of these findings are evidence of Eighth (US) Army’s adaptability."

The Long Black Freedom Struggle: African American Soldiers in WWI and Korea

This video is located in the Archive of Folk Culture, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.  "Scholar David Cline, Virginia Tech, discusses the process of integrating the military and examines the war as experienced by the 135,000 black men and women who served during the course of the Korean War in his talk."  Recorded March 18, 2014. Library of Congress Control Number: 2014655393.

The Marines of Montford Point: America's First Black Marines

Author Melton A. McLaurin interviewed sixty Montford Point Marines and then compiled their stories into this book.

The 2nd Ranger Infantry Company "Buffaloes" in Korea 29 December 1950-19 May 1951

This article appeared in Veritas, Volume 6, No. 2, 2010.  It was authoed by Charles H. Briscoe, PhD.

The Tuskegee Airmen: The Men Who Changed a Nation

Authored by Charles E. Francis and Adolph Caso.

The US Army's First, Last, and Only All-Black Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne;) in the Korean War

Authored by Edward L. Posey, this book is the first complete history of the 2nd Ranger Company in the Korean War 1950-51.

Tribute to Dr. James Franklin Fitzgerald

[See next section of this page.]

United States v Gilbert

1Lt. Leon A. Gilbert was a black officer in Company A, 24th Infantry Regiment in 1950.  He was sentenced to death for "misbehavior before the enemy."  This case was historically important due to problems associated with segregation in the army at that time.  Gilbert was ultimately sentenced to prison, but was released early and died in 1999.  

U.S. Negroes Make Reds See Red

Article by Frederic Sondern, Readers Digest 64 (1) (January 1954), pp. 37-42.

What's a Commie Ever Done to Black People?

Sub-title: Memoir of Fighting in the US Army's Last All Negro Unit.  This 144 page book was written by a veteran of the 24th Infantry Regiment Combat Team, Curtis "Kojo: Morrow.  Morrow joined the Army in April 1950 and served as a rifleman in the 24th Infantry Regiment for a short time in Pusan.  After that he was a paratrooper and rigger in the 8081st Airborne and Resupplying Company in southern Japan.

With a Black Platoon in Combat: A Year in Korea

Authored by Lyle Rishell, who served as an officer with the 24th Infantry Regiment for eleven months during the Korean War. Among his decorations and awards are the Silver Star for Gallantry in Action and two Purple Hearts for wounds received during combat. He also holds the Legion of Merit and the Parachutist and Combat Infantryman's badges.


Back to Page Contents

Tribute to Dr. James Franklin Fitzgerald: Korean War "MASH" Doctor

[This biography of the late Captain Fitzgerald, M.D., was written by his son-in-law, Attorney Wilson A. Copeland II, and published on the Multicultural Symposium Series website, February 03, 2016.]

Dr. James Franklin Fitzgerald was born in February,1919 to James and Lillian Fitzgerald and lived in Wilmington, Delaware, from his birth through high school graduation. His undergraduate life was spent at Pennsylvania’s Lincoln University, where he became a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, followed by what proved to be his inadvertent path to a most memorable military experience, matriculation at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, where he received his M.D. degree.

Like all other American medical schools, Meharry was taken over by the United States Army during the Second World War due to the pressing need for physicians, dentists, and nurses in the Armed Forces. This situation resulted in the students essentially being conscripted, with their tuition being paid by the government, going to class in uniform, attending school year round, with graduations being conducted three times a year and culminating in reporting for duty following a one year internship.

March of 1944 proved to be a busy month for James Franklin Fitzgerald; graduating from Meharry on the 19th, marrying Fisk University graduate, Alberta Price on the 26th, and establishing a new home for his bride and himself in Washington, D.C., where he would spend his next year as an intern at Howard University’s Freedom Hospital.

While at Freedman’s, a pyrrhic victory of sorts occurred when a letter from the Army arrived advising him that the ebbing World War had resulted in a reduction of the need for health care professionals and he needn’t report for duty. Thus, upon completion of his internship, he headed for Detroit, Michigan, to begin his practice and, where believing himself to be in the Army Reserve, he gave short shift to the letters from the U.S. Navy that arrived in the late 1940’s, believing them to be recruitment efforts and knowing the Navy was the least receptive of all the Armed Services about President Truman’s 1948 desegregation orders.

The onset of hostilities in Korea were the precursor to a visit to his office from the two FBI agents who arrested him for failing to report for induction; it seems those ‘recruiting letters’ were in fact notices advising him that he had been transferred to the Naval Reserve. He was released from a federal detention cell that evening with the understanding he was to report for duty the next day. He did, entering the office of the Naval Recruiting Center that morning, the officer on duty took one look at him, asked with some degree of chagrin and incredulity, “You’re James Franklin Fitzgerald?” and receiving the affirmative reply, immediately blurted out, “There must be some mistake, just go home and we’ll contact you sometime in the future.”  It seems the name James Franklin Fitzgerald fit someone ‘From the Old Sod’ – his skin color, however, did not – and the Navy realized there had indeed been a mistake.

Over the next few months, an administrative transfer back to the Army took place and Captain James Franklin Fitzgerald, M.D. found himself in a MASH unit in Korea, where he served with distinction from 1952 to 1954.  During the course of his service in Korea, Captain Fitzgerald was awarded three Purple Hearts--one coming as a result of assisting in a surgical procedure on a wounded GI and together with the rest of the surgical team, continuing the operation, despite incoming artillery shells, for this act the Purple Heart he was given for the injuries caused by those shells was accompanied by the Bronze Star.

Returning to Detroit after completing his service to his country, Dr. Fitzgerald practiced medicine until his untimely death from an untreatable abdominal infection on Thanksgiving Day 1960 at the age of 41.  He was survived by his wife, Alberta and their daughter, Deborah Fitzgerald Copeland.

 

View and/or Sign Our Guestbook
Note, Guestbook entries prior to August, 2008
have been archived to PDF, and can be viewed here:
6/21/2001-7/6/2005
7/6/2005-9/18/2006
9/28/2006-8/13/2008



Your donation helps to
keep this web site FREE.



| Contact | What's New | About Us | Korean War Topics | Support | Links | Memoirs | Buddy Search |

2002-2016 Korean War Educator. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use of material is prohibited.

- Contact Webmaster with questions or comments related to web site layout.
- Contact Lynnita for Korean War questions or similar informational issues.
- Website address: www.koreanwar-educator.org 
Problems with or Questions about PDF Files - Click HERE for more PDF information.
 

Hit Counter
 
.