OTA Beverly L. Dunjill

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Beverly L. Dunjill

Tuskegee Airman / Business Manager
Sunrise: April 20, 1927 – Sunset: July 21, 2013

 

 

Beverly Dunjill flew his first airplane – a Piper Cub – at the age of 16, while working for and studying under Cornelius P. Coffey, founder of the Coffey School of Aeronautics located at the former Harlem Airport on 97th Ave in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Following graduation from Chicago’s Tilden Technical High School in 1945, Dunjill pursued his passion for aviation by enlisting in the U.S. Air Force.

Fighter Pilot, Leader, Consummate Professional, Role Model, Mentor and Gentleman


Bev Dunjill entered the Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet at Tuskegee Army Air Field on June 4, 1945 (Class 46C). There he underwent initial pre-flight training and completed a ground school curriculum consisting of physical education and coursework in math, physics, theory of flight, and aircraft identification. In August of 1945, he was transferred to the Tuskegee Institute campus for primary flight training and continuation of ground school under Chief Alfred Anderson and assigned the task of mastering the 175 horsepower, PT17 Stearman Biplane. Flight training consisted of dual flight instruction in the Stearman trainer learning how to climb, turn and other basic maneuvers until given his opportunity to fly solo. However, prior to completing flight training, the war ended in the Pacific and he was discharged from the military.

After returning to civilian life in November 1945, undaunted and still wanting to pursue his interest in aviation, Bev took a job working for Jack Johnson at the Harlem Airport again, this time as an aircraft maintenance man. This enabled him to continue to accumulate the flying hours needed to earn his Commercial Pilot’s license.

In September 1949, Bev re-enlisted into the now integrated U.S. Air Force, once again as an Aviation Cadet and underwent basic Cadet training at Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio Texas. In May 1950, he was transferred to Williams Field, Phoenix Arizona for advanced flight training in the T33 and P80 jet fighters. Although he’d never flown a jet before, he picked it up easily. As he used to say, “Flying’s flying.” Shortly thereafter, Bev received his wings and graduated as a 2nd Lieutenant.

His first assignment was with the 62nd Fighter Squadron at O’Hare Air Force Base, Chicago IL, flying the F-86 jet fighter. He was later transferred to the 97 Fighter Squadron at Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton Ohio. In November, 1951 Bev was sent into combat at K14 Air Base, Seoul Korea where he flew as a combat school instructor and test pilot. While deployed overseas, Bev flew 100 combat missions as a jet fighter pilot, earning two Air Medals and a Distinguished Flying Cross for meritorious flying. He returned to the United States and the 62nd BFS in June 1952 with the following qualifications: jet fighter pilot, test pilot, jet flight instrument instructor, and Operations Officer. His next assignment was at Tyndall AFB, Panama City FL, for F-86D single place all Weather Radar Interceptor Fighter training. After also successfully completing this assignment, Lt. Dunjill returned to O’Hare AFB to train new pilots and retrain seasoned pilots in the new F6–D aircraft.

In September 1953, Bev left active duty but remained on reserve status until his discharge in 1957. In 1955, Bev became the Service Manager of Plus Computing Machines, Inc. from 1954 to 1960. In 1960, Bev started Rapid Service, Inc., a sales and service office equipment company. He remained the president of his company until 1975. Not ready for retirement, in August of 1974, Bev was hired by the Illinois Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) as an Investigations Supervisor of employment discrimination claims. He was later promoted to Director of Investigations. Bev remained with the FEPC until August of 1987 when he joined Matra Transit, Inc., a firm that installs airport people moving systems. He served as Matra’s Equal Opportunity Officer (EEO) from 1988 until his retirement on April 20th, 1990. Bev then restarted the Rapid Service Company, his commercial accounting business.

Bev Dunjill touched many lives in a positive manner and served Tuskegee Airmen Inc., in a variety of capacities for more than 20 years. Most notably as First Vice President, President and President “Emeritus” of the Chicago “DODO” Chapter and as a member of the National Board of irectors of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. Bev also thoroughly enjoyed participating in speaking engagements with Community Organizations, Corporate Programs, and Educational Institutions about his service in the military and what it was like to have been a groundbreaker in military aviation. His passion however, was elementary school appearances and the Chicago Chapter’s Young Eagles Program where he could talk to kids about America’s first black military pilots. “The Tuskegee Airmen”, he used to say, “…were one of the greatest secrets of World War II, our job now is to make sure future generations never forget”.

 

 

 

 


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