OTA George A. Taylor

information pills helvetica, more about sans-serif;”>George Taylor was one of 966 Black military pilots trained during World War II at Tuskegee Army Air Field, Alabama, near Tuskegee University; and one of 450 single-engine fighter pilots who participated in combat overseas. When Mr. Taylor first left his hometown of Middlesex, Va. to enlist in the Army Air Forces at Tuskegee Alabama, he did not tell his neighbors and friends of his plans. According to his wife Joan, “he never told any of them because so many cadets were washed out during training.” “He didn’t want them to know, so when he did get his wings, he went home and shocked everyone.”

Born the youngest and only boy of five children, Mr. Taylor graduated from high school in 1938 and went to Virginia State University in Petersburg for three years before he decided to enlist. After the war he came to Chicago, entered the Curtiss-Wright School of Aeronautical Engineering and graduated in 1950. While going to school he worked at the post office.

As an original member of the 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, Captain Taylor flew the P-39, P-47, Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang Fighter Planes in combat. His base locations overseas included Montecorvino Airfield, Italy, Capodichino Airdrome, It aly, Ramitelli Airfield, Italy. Captain Taylor
flew more than 50 missions with the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group over Italy and was awarded two Bronze Stars, an Air Medal, and four Battle Stars. He had twelve years of active and reserve military duty.

George A. Taylor, former WWII Fighter Pilot, along with other original Tuskegee Airmen, was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal Award at a prestigious ceremony in honor of his accomplishments as a Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. The event took place in the Rotunda of the Capitol of the United States on March 29, 2007. George was always proud of his WWII aviation legacy, but the proudest moment of his life came when the Tuskegee Airmen were presented with the Congressional Gold Medal. He had a small replica made and had it put on a chain which he wore around his neck from that moment in 2007 until the day he died.

In later years, George became the first African American Sr. Civil Engineer with the Engineering Department of the Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. He worked as the chief engineer on the first Deep Tunnel project at La Grange Road and Illinois Highway 171 near Hodgkins, IL. He retired in 1986, with 35 years of service. Mr. Taylor was a treasurer of the Chicago Tuskegee Airmen Inc. and the former national chairman of the committee on nominations of Tuskegee Airmen Inc.

His survivors include his wife Joan, his stepdaughter, Susan Chatman; and a sister, Otelia Payne. Mr. Taylor, 88, died of prostate cancer Saturday, June 21, 2008 in his home. His family plans to have his remains scattered over Moten Field by chapter aviators in October 2008, during the dedication of that WWII training base as a National History Site.