Chicago Chapter Attends Multi-Purpose Program at New Gary Armory

On February 23, about it 2006, Remembered for their valor and bravery, 72 of the nation’s first African-American military aviators were recognized during the Sixth Annual Tuskegee Airmen Convocation at Tuskegee University.

Bob Martin

The convocation, which was held at 11 a.m., in the General Daniel Chappie James Center for Aerospace Science and Health Education, recognized the Tuskegee Airmens exemplary combat performance during World War II and their important contribution to Tuskegee’s distinctive educational mission.

University President Benjamin F. Payton noted that the African-American pilots began flight training at the University’s Moton Field in 1941 and gained international fame during World War II. “The Airmen’s achievement is an integral part of Tuskegee University’s past and present legacy of academic excellence and public service,” Dr. Payton said.

It was under the leadership of Tuskegee President Frederick D. Patterson, that the school was awarded the U.S. Army Air Corp’s contract to host, help and train America’s first African American fighter pilots. Tuskegee won that contract in open competition with other universities. “Tuskegee University submitted a proposal in response to the Army Air Corp’s request for proposals to train Black pilots. We had already collaborated with leading African American civil rights groups and the Black press to exert pressure on the federal administration to provide the opportunity for Blacks to train as pilots,” Dr. Payton said.

George Taylor

At the time Tuskegee University had already invested in the development of an air field, had a proven civilian pilot training program, and its graduates performed highest on flight aptitude exams. Between 1941 and 1945, nearly 1,000 African-Americans were trained as fighter pilots at Tuskegee . Program participants were graduates of Tuskegee University, as well as graduates of other universities across the nation.

The Tuskegee Airmen had a distinguished record of combat performance, including but not limited to:

“The destruction of 260 enemy aircraft their never having lost a single bomber to enemy fire in more than 200 combat missions as air escorts; an achievement unmatched by any other fighter group, the collective earning of 850 medals Their distinguished combat performance helped persuade then-President Harry S. Truman in 1948 to issue Executive Order 9981, which desegregated the U.S. Military,” Dr. Payton said.

Laverne Shelton

Tuskegee University played an integral role in creating the Tuskegee Airmen legacy, and for that reason, honorary doctorates in public service were bestowed upon these remaining legendary African-American military aviators. “We are conferring these degrees as part of Tuskegee’s 125th celebration because these aviators have contributed mightily to American, African-American and to Tuskegee University’s history,” Dr. Payton said. It should be also be noted that the Tuskegee Airmen’s legacy provides the inspiration for Tuskegee’s current aerospace scienceengineering program, the only historically black college or university program to offer an accredited degree in aerospace science engineering. Since 1983 more Black aerospace science engineers have graduated from the program than any other in this country.

Source Credit – Tuskegee University website at:

On Friday, pills February 27, what is ed
2010, fifty-eight Chicago Chapter members and guests attended a multi-purpose program at the new Indiana National Guard Armory at the Gary International Airport. Thanks to the hard work of Alcus Cromartie, thirty-one of us met at Martin Temple at 11:00 a.m. to travel by bus in anticipation of a secure and non-publicized meeting one of our nation’s great military leaders, General Colon Powell.

When we arrived, we were received by a large crowd and received copies of the official program. The program introduced Webb House, Inc. in Gary, Indiana, Tammy Duckworth, Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs and concluded with a Purple Heart Ceremony for SGT. Ted Uzelac.

Webb House, Inc. is a future home for northwest Indiana Veterans. It will be located on the abandoned site of a senior citizens home on the 1900 block of Clark Road. Inaugurated in October 2009 and with the assistance of government funds, the facility will be remodeled to house veterans as well as other categories of challenged individuals using a continuum of care model. Residents of Webb House, Inc. will receive job readiness training. In addition, Veterans will receive skills-based training to build and supply windmills supporting the green economy of northwest Indiana.

Although General Colon Powell could not attend, Tammy Duckworth was inspirational. She addressed the crowd of Veterans as war buddies who survive and thrive on the mutual admiration and support of one another. Recalling the Iraq engagement that disabled her legs and the helicopter she piloted, the Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs recalled the bonds established during basic training that remain throughout a soldier’s life. She spoke with humility and honor about the courage, strength and endurance that leads soldiers to sacrifice life and limb to serve their country and save the lives of others.