OTA William Loving

price helvetica,sans-serif;”>Beverly Dunjill


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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helvetica,sans-serif;”>William LovingIn 1922, the year William Loving was born, his father worked as a chauffeur for a family in the village of Oak Park (the Chicago suburb made famous as the home of Frank Lloyd Wright and birthplace of Ernest Hemingway). “The hospital in Oak Park wouldn’t treat colored people,” says Loving, “so my father had to drive my mother to a hospital in Chicago.” Loving grew up in the city and graduated from Hyde Park High School in 1940.

After graduation Loving worked for a wholesale jeweler in Chicago, addressing envelopes (“I answered an ad in the newspaper looking for a young man with neat handwriting,” he says), and attended college classes at night. He also joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps reserves, where he was trained to repair radios.

One evening in early December 1941, his class was interrupted by someone who rushed in and announced that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. “We all stood up and sang ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’” Loving remembers.

As a member of the reserves, Loving was called into service with the Army and sent to Salt Lake City for basic training. Given an unchallenging job forwarding mail — and later working as a supply clerk — Loving dreamed of bigger things. Hoping to become a pilot, he took the Army Air Forces exam for aviation cadets and passed. Before he could begin aviation training, he was sent to the Tuskegee Institute to take college courses in subjects such as math and science. “That was the best time of my life,” Loving says with a smile. “All the boys had gone into the service, so it was a campus full of girls.”

After completing his courses Loving was sent to Tuskegee Army Air Field for preflight training, beginning his affiliation with the Tuskegee Airmen. His regimen was extensive: He traveled to Florida for gunnery school, where he trained as a nose gunner in a B-24 bomber. “I was too big to fit in the turrets,” he says, “so I sat behind a Plexiglas shield in the very front of the plane, with two 50-caliber machine guns. It was exciting.”

In Texas he trained as an aerial navigator and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army, then went to bombardier school, where he helped train Chinese nationalist cadets by observing them on bombing runs.

Then came a bureaucratic mix-up that brought home a sobering reality. Loving, along with seven other African American officers, was mistakenly classified as white and transferred to the Air Transport Command at Wright and Patterson fields (the two fields later merged to become Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) near Dayton. “They didn’t want us there,” Loving remembers. “All we did was fly just enough hours to get our pay — they didn’t assign us any other duties. When we went into the officers’ mess hall, none of the white officers wanted to sit with us. They wanted to keep us segregated. So one day, we went in, and each of us sat at a different table. In order to eat, the white officers had to sit with us.”

After a few months, Loving and his fellow African American officers were transferred to the Army Air Forces 477th Medium Bombardment Group at Godman Field in Fort Knox, Ky. Although the group was never called to active duty overseas, Loving and the bomber crews flew numerous training missions and performed at air shows. “We were showcased,” says Loving. “We would land at different bases, and the black soldiers would be brought out to meet us. We wanted to show that there were black airmen who did everything the white airmen did.”

When Japan surrendered, Loving and his crew were in California on maneuvers. “On our way back home,” Loving says, “we flew through a rainbow that was a complete circle. I’ve never seen anything like that before.” That rainbow remains his clearest memory of the end of the war.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Northwestern in 1954 on the Chicago campus, Loving took education courses at the Evanston campus in order to receive a teaching certificate. He taught high school accounting in the Chicago Public Schools for 25 years, retiring in 1993.

Loving didn’t leave aviation behind completely. After the war he served in the Air Force Reserve, eventually reaching the rank of captain and flying in and out of what is now Chicago O’Hare International Airport, where his son would often come to meet him. Loving’s son — also named William — is now a pilot for US Airways, for which he flies overseas routes out of Philadelphia.

The fact that an African American can work as a pilot for a major airline is in part a legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. “After the war the first major move toward desegregation in American institutions happened in the military,” says Martha Biondi, associate professor of African American studies and of history. “The Tuskegee Airmen demonstrated the heroism, courage and skill of African American military pilots. Pro-segregation white congressmen had tried to block their assignment overseas, questioning their capacity and intelligence. But the Tuskegee Airmen performed brilliantly and won numerous awards and medals. As war heroes who returned to face segregated America with a new resolve and determination to fight, they paved the way for the modern civil rights movement.”

Loving remains involved with a Tuskegee veterans group in Chicago. Their legacy lives on, he says, through the Young Eagles program, an initiative to introduce children to the world of powered flight. “The Tuskegee Airmen are still flying,” he says. “I know five or six guys who own their own planes, and they take up boys and girls who have never flown. They carry on the tradition.”

 

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