OTA Felix J. Kirkpatrick

March 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

order helvetica,sans-serif;”>Quentin Smith was born in Weldon, Texas. His father moved to East Chicago, Indiana to look for work – after what Smith describes as “difficulty with the deputy sheriff” – and the family joined him a couple of years later. Smith avoided the athletics department at Washington High School, preferring music instead. His school orchestra played at the 1933-34 World’s Fair in Chicago, where Smith met a young professional musician by the name of Nat King Cole – and talked him into playing their high school prom a year later.”

Most of my colleagues yearned to fly,” says Smith, “but I didn’t give a tinker’s damn if I ever left the ground.” He didn’t like mud, though, and his brother – who was in the infantry – reported that military service on the ground had plenty of mud. A friend of Smith’s had founded the Coffy School of Aeronautics in Chicago, and tried to talk Smith into signing up; he declined, but after receiving his draft notice, he reconsidered. (And it didn’t hurt that the Red Cross gave out two cartons of cigarettes for passing the test.)

Smith didn’t fly quite like anybody else in school, though – at 200 lbs., he pushed pedals differently from his 130 lbs. instructor. At that time, all military planes were assigned to white pilots, so Smith flew “primary” planes – service aircraft – and served as a flight instructor for “primaries” at the Tuskegee Institute. Later, since he was too big for a P-40 or a P-51, he was made a bomber pilot. It was difficult to assemble a full crew, though; black pilots were not allowed to command white crews under any circumstances, even white crewmen at the rank of private.

After spending time at Fort Knox, near Louisville, First Lieutenant Smith was transferred to Freeman Field in his home state of Indiana. As an officer, regulations said that Smith could enter any officers club, but black officers were barred from the club – along with the tennis court and swimming pool – at Freeman Field. A colonel informed them that they could use the facilities, but only before 1700 hours; in other words, only during hours when they’d be working anyway. “We booed him off the stage,” Smith recalls. He and the other black officers in the Air Corps were instructed to sign a new directive about the segregation of the officers clubs. Smith refused, along with 100 others, and they were confined to quarters. Three days later, an armed guard arrived; he and the other officers were sent to prison at Fort Leavenworth.

However, Fort Leavenworth, also segregated, wasn’t prepared to handle the sudden arrival of 101 black prisoners, so they were shipped back to Freeman Field. (“This was one time when segregation was pretty good,” says Smith.) The black officers who had signed the directive pooled their money and brought in a defense team led by Thurgood Marshall, who won their release. A little over two years later, Truman would sign the order to de-segregate the military. It was not for more than fifty years, however, through the intervention of several congressmen (and a fire that destroyed a records office), that the officers’ service records would be formally cleared of the reprimand from the incident.

Smith went on to earn a Masters degree in English.  West Side High School which was founded in Gary Indiana in 1968, could initially accommodate over 3,000 pupils, and was at the time, the largest high school in the state of Indiana. It was initially founded in order to integrate students within the Gary School System.  West Side is a compromised name which gave the general location of the school. However, some of the other names that were suggested for West Side were Paul Robeson, Martin Luther King, Malcom X Shabazz, and Nkhrumah, just to name a few. Since the school naming committee could not come to an agreement on another name, it was decided to keep the original name.

However, the Gary School Board did decide on April 23, 1968, that DOTA Quentin P. Smith would be the first principal of West Side. At that time, Mr. Smith was currently the principal at Pulaski Junior High School and would later become the director of secondary education for Gary, Indiana, where he lives today.

 

mind
helvetica,sans-serif;”>March 29, 1999: Felix J. Kirkpatrick Jr., 83, a member of the renowned Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, of a ruptured aorta at Christ Hospital and Medical Center, Oak Lawn, in Illinois.  Two of the most decorated Tuskegee airmen of World War II were appointed to West Point by Congressman Oscar De Priest: Lt. Gen. Benjamin O. Davis and Maj. Felix Jackson Kirkpatrick, Jr.  Both are in the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame at Rantoul.  Kirkpatrick was dismissed under suspicious circumstances following his freshmen year due to demerits given him by upperclassmen.  Was a good friend of Cornelilus Coffey and Willa Brown and member of the Challenger Air Pilots Club.

 

OTA Quentin P. Smith, Phd

March 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

order helvetica,sans-serif;”>Quentin Smith was born in Weldon, Texas. His father moved to East Chicago, Indiana to look for work – after what Smith describes as “difficulty with the deputy sheriff” – and the family joined him a couple of years later. Smith avoided the athletics department at Washington High School, preferring music instead. His school orchestra played at the 1933-34 World’s Fair in Chicago, where Smith met a young professional musician by the name of Nat King Cole – and talked him into playing their high school prom a year later.”

Most of my colleagues yearned to fly,” says Smith, “but I didn’t give a tinker’s damn if I ever left the ground.” He didn’t like mud, though, and his brother – who was in the infantry – reported that military service on the ground had plenty of mud. A friend of Smith’s had founded the Coffy School of Aeronautics in Chicago, and tried to talk Smith into signing up; he declined, but after receiving his draft notice, he reconsidered. (And it didn’t hurt that the Red Cross gave out two cartons of cigarettes for passing the test.)

Smith didn’t fly quite like anybody else in school, though – at 200 lbs., he pushed pedals differently from his 130 lbs. instructor. At that time, all military planes were assigned to white pilots, so Smith flew “primary” planes – service aircraft – and served as a flight instructor for “primaries” at the Tuskegee Institute. Later, since he was too big for a P-40 or a P-51, he was made a bomber pilot. It was difficult to assemble a full crew, though; black pilots were not allowed to command white crews under any circumstances, even white crewmen at the rank of private.

After spending time at Fort Knox, near Louisville, First Lieutenant Smith was transferred to Freeman Field in his home state of Indiana. As an officer, regulations said that Smith could enter any officers club, but black officers were barred from the club – along with the tennis court and swimming pool – at Freeman Field. A colonel informed them that they could use the facilities, but only before 1700 hours; in other words, only during hours when they’d be working anyway. “We booed him off the stage,” Smith recalls. He and the other black officers in the Air Corps were instructed to sign a new directive about the segregation of the officers clubs. Smith refused, along with 100 others, and they were confined to quarters. Three days later, an armed guard arrived; he and the other officers were sent to prison at Fort Leavenworth.

However, Fort Leavenworth, also segregated, wasn’t prepared to handle the sudden arrival of 101 black prisoners, so they were shipped back to Freeman Field. (“This was one time when segregation was pretty good,” says Smith.) The black officers who had signed the directive pooled their money and brought in a defense team led by Thurgood Marshall, who won their release. A little over two years later, Truman would sign the order to de-segregate the military. It was not for more than fifty years, however, through the intervention of several congressmen (and a fire that destroyed a records office), that the officers’ service records would be formally cleared of the reprimand from the incident.

Smith went on to earn a Masters degree in English.  West Side High School which was founded in Gary Indiana in 1968, could initially accommodate over 3,000 pupils, and was at the time, the largest high school in the state of Indiana. It was initially founded in order to integrate students within the Gary School System.  West Side is a compromised name which gave the general location of the school. However, some of the other names that were suggested for West Side were Paul Robeson, Martin Luther King, Malcom X Shabazz, and Nkhrumah, just to name a few. Since the school naming committee could not come to an agreement on another name, it was decided to keep the original name.

However, the Gary School Board did decide on April 23, 1968, that DOTA Quentin P. Smith would be the first principal of West Side. At that time, Mr. Smith was currently the principal at Pulaski Junior High School and would later become the director of secondary education for Gary, Indiana, where he lives today.

 

OTA William Loving

March 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

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”.

 

 

 

 


purchase
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.”

 

OTA Beverly L. Dunjill

March 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

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”.

 

 

 

 


OTA Robert L. Martin

March 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

ambulance helvetica,sans-serif;”>Sunday, February 15th 2009 marked the passing of a great man.  Documented Original Tuskegee Airman (DOTA), Earl Edward Strayhorn, died peacefully at age 90, at Mercy Hospital in Chicago.   Services for DOTA Strayhorn were held on Friday, February 20, 2009 at the Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church.  The memorial was well attended by numerous chapter members including, Shelby Westbrook, Bev Dunjill, Welton Taylor, Hilton Joseph, Milton Williams, Porter Myrick and many others.  Chapter President Bev Dunjill, gave an a emotional tribute to DOTA Strayhorn on behalf of the Chicago DODO Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen.  Many other organizations with whom he was affiliated also made remarks saluting the life and memory of DOTA Strayhorn. 

DOTA Strayhorn was born in Columbus, Mississippi on April 24, 1918 to Minnie Lee Davis Strayhorn and Earl Edward Strayhorn, Sr.  Following the loss of his father to lead poisoning in 1935, DOTA Strayhorn moved with his family from Mississippi joining the Great Migration to land in Chicago as a 5 year old boy. He grew up on the city’s South Side graduating from Doolittle Elementary School, followed by Tilden Tech High School in 1936.  He received his B.A. degree from the University of Illinois in 1941. 

DOTA Strayhorn entered military service as a Private two months prior to  America entering the war in 1941.  He later served with the Tuskegee Airmen, where he was sergeant-in-charge of establishing a Military Police Section.  He also served with the 92nd Division artillery unit in Italy during World War II and left the army in February 1946 with the rank of First Lieutenant.  After the war he joined the Illinois National Guard, where he led units in each of the five civil disturbances in Chicago during the late 1960’s, including the Democratic National Convention in the summer of 1968.  He retired from the Illinois National Guard with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1969.

Following WWII, DOTA Strayhorn entered the first class at Depaul University College of Law and received his J.D. in 1948.  On June 21, 1948 he was admitted to the Illinois bar.  He was hired right from law school as a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney, and served in that office as a prosecutor from 1949 to 1952.  In 1952 he became a founding partner of the law firm Rogers, Rogers, Strayhorn and Harth.  DOTA Strayhorn lectured widely on criminal issues and beginning in 1977, was an adjunct professor of criminal justice in trial advocacy for the University of Illinois-Chicago, taught as an Adjunct Professor or Instructor at Harvard University Law School, the University of North Carolina Law School, Northwestern University Law School, Emory University College of Law, Benjamin Cardozo College of Law and Olive-Harvey College.

One of his partners in the mid-1950s  was noted Chicago attorney James D. Montgomery, who was then just out of law school and  later became a corporation counsel under Mayor Harold Washington.  According to Montgomery, “in the late 1960s, Judge  Strayhorn defended one of several men accused of arson and inciting riots in the  days following the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.”  Montgomery also  had a client in the case.  “With his military background, Judge Strayhorn offered valuable insight into the work of the police and National Guard during the riots, Montgomery said.”  The defense successfully challenged the credibility of an undercover police officer, and all of the defendants were found not guilty.

DOTA Strayhorn was a trustee of the Metropolitan Sanitary District from 1963 to 1970, serving as it’s president for four years and as secretary of the Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund for six years.  He also served on the City of Chicago Civil Service Commission from 1959 to 1963, and was a hearing officer for the Fair Employment Practice Commission in 1969-70.

Hard-nosed but not hardhearted is how he drew his self-portrait.  Lt Col. Strayhorn, who in 1991 at age 73, became the oldest sitting Criminal Court judge in Cook County.  In a May 1991 article from the Chicago Sun-Time, the Judge said, “…the rigors of 21 years on the bench have not diminished my enthusiasm for a hard job which has been easier because I don’t have any axes to grind.”  He decided to serve another 7 years on the bench and said jokingly, “..in order to keep my wife from becoming a Criminal Court defendant.”

Following his retirement from the bench in 1998, Judge Strayhorn talked with the Chicago Tribune about the challenges of life in the  black robes (of a jurist) and gave an indication of the even-keeled temperament that made him respected by both defense and prosecution. “In my 28 years on the bench,  …the toughest issue I faced, was finding the punishment I felt was  appropriate,” he said.  “A judge is not society’s avenging angel.  A judge should  not go into a revenge mode.”  But, he admitted, “vengeance is human  nature, so when I was disturbed or angry, I postponed the  sentencing.”

DOTA Strayhorn is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Lygia; son, Donald; daughter, Earlene; granddaughter, Lauren; grandsons, Jordan and Amman and other relatives and a host of dear friends.

In a January 2003 interview with “The HistoryMakers®”, Judge Strayhorn commented then that “he ‘was’ too young to ponder his legacy, but wants to be remembered “as a person that was fair and just and called them as he saw them, regardless of the outcome.”  Judge Strayhorn was elected to both the National & Cook County Bar Association’s Halls of Fame in 1997.

 

Robert Martinhere
helvetica,sans-serif;”>First Lieutenant Robert L. Martin was born in Dubuque Iowa. He joined the Army Air Corps at Tuskegee in 1944. He carried out 63 ½ combat missions with the 100th Fighter Squadron and the 332nd Fighter Group. On March 3 1945, he was cut down by ground fire following his attack mission on an enemy airfield in Zagreb,Yugoslavia. His plane on fire, he was forced to bail-out over enemy held territory. Rescued and helped by allied sympathizer, he succeeded in escaping capture. He remained in Yugoslavia for 5 weeks until he was sucessful in returning to Italy first by truck and then by airplane. For his combat service Lt Martin received: The Distinguished Flying Cross; The Air Medal with 6 Oak leaf clusters and The Purple Heart.

 

OTA Earl E. Strayhorn, Esq.

March 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

ambulance helvetica,sans-serif;”>Sunday, February 15th 2009 marked the passing of a great man.  Documented Original Tuskegee Airman (DOTA), Earl Edward Strayhorn, died peacefully at age 90, at Mercy Hospital in Chicago.   Services for DOTA Strayhorn were held on Friday, February 20, 2009 at the Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church.  The memorial was well attended by numerous chapter members including, Shelby Westbrook, Bev Dunjill, Welton Taylor, Hilton Joseph, Milton Williams, Porter Myrick and many others.  Chapter President Bev Dunjill, gave an a emotional tribute to DOTA Strayhorn on behalf of the Chicago DODO Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen.  Many other organizations with whom he was affiliated also made remarks saluting the life and memory of DOTA Strayhorn. 

DOTA Strayhorn was born in Columbus, Mississippi on April 24, 1918 to Minnie Lee Davis Strayhorn and Earl Edward Strayhorn, Sr.  Following the loss of his father to lead poisoning in 1935, DOTA Strayhorn moved with his family from Mississippi joining the Great Migration to land in Chicago as a 5 year old boy. He grew up on the city’s South Side graduating from Doolittle Elementary School, followed by Tilden Tech High School in 1936.  He received his B.A. degree from the University of Illinois in 1941. 

DOTA Strayhorn entered military service as a Private two months prior to  America entering the war in 1941.  He later served with the Tuskegee Airmen, where he was sergeant-in-charge of establishing a Military Police Section.  He also served with the 92nd Division artillery unit in Italy during World War II and left the army in February 1946 with the rank of First Lieutenant.  After the war he joined the Illinois National Guard, where he led units in each of the five civil disturbances in Chicago during the late 1960’s, including the Democratic National Convention in the summer of 1968.  He retired from the Illinois National Guard with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1969.

Following WWII, DOTA Strayhorn entered the first class at Depaul University College of Law and received his J.D. in 1948.  On June 21, 1948 he was admitted to the Illinois bar.  He was hired right from law school as a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney, and served in that office as a prosecutor from 1949 to 1952.  In 1952 he became a founding partner of the law firm Rogers, Rogers, Strayhorn and Harth.  DOTA Strayhorn lectured widely on criminal issues and beginning in 1977, was an adjunct professor of criminal justice in trial advocacy for the University of Illinois-Chicago, taught as an Adjunct Professor or Instructor at Harvard University Law School, the University of North Carolina Law School, Northwestern University Law School, Emory University College of Law, Benjamin Cardozo College of Law and Olive-Harvey College.

One of his partners in the mid-1950s  was noted Chicago attorney James D. Montgomery, who was then just out of law school and  later became a corporation counsel under Mayor Harold Washington.  According to Montgomery, “in the late 1960s, Judge  Strayhorn defended one of several men accused of arson and inciting riots in the  days following the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.”  Montgomery also  had a client in the case.  “With his military background, Judge Strayhorn offered valuable insight into the work of the police and National Guard during the riots, Montgomery said.”  The defense successfully challenged the credibility of an undercover police officer, and all of the defendants were found not guilty.

DOTA Strayhorn was a trustee of the Metropolitan Sanitary District from 1963 to 1970, serving as it’s president for four years and as secretary of the Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund for six years.  He also served on the City of Chicago Civil Service Commission from 1959 to 1963, and was a hearing officer for the Fair Employment Practice Commission in 1969-70.

Hard-nosed but not hardhearted is how he drew his self-portrait.  Lt Col. Strayhorn, who in 1991 at age 73, became the oldest sitting Criminal Court judge in Cook County.  In a May 1991 article from the Chicago Sun-Time, the Judge said, “…the rigors of 21 years on the bench have not diminished my enthusiasm for a hard job which has been easier because I don’t have any axes to grind.”  He decided to serve another 7 years on the bench and said jokingly, “..in order to keep my wife from becoming a Criminal Court defendant.”

Following his retirement from the bench in 1998, Judge Strayhorn talked with the Chicago Tribune about the challenges of life in the  black robes (of a jurist) and gave an indication of the even-keeled temperament that made him respected by both defense and prosecution. “In my 28 years on the bench,  …the toughest issue I faced, was finding the punishment I felt was  appropriate,” he said.  “A judge is not society’s avenging angel.  A judge should  not go into a revenge mode.”  But, he admitted, “vengeance is human  nature, so when I was disturbed or angry, I postponed the  sentencing.”

DOTA Strayhorn is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Lygia; son, Donald; daughter, Earlene; granddaughter, Lauren; grandsons, Jordan and Amman and other relatives and a host of dear friends.

In a January 2003 interview with “The HistoryMakers®”, Judge Strayhorn commented then that “he ‘was’ too young to ponder his legacy, but wants to be remembered “as a person that was fair and just and called them as he saw them, regardless of the outcome.”  Judge Strayhorn was elected to both the National & Cook County Bar Association’s Halls of Fame in 1997.

 

OTA Shelby F. Westbrook

March 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

viagra 40mg helvetica, visit sans-serif;”>Shelby WestbrookShelby Westbrook was born in Marked Tree, viagra approved a small town in Arkansas. When his parents passed away, he moved in with his brother in Toledo, Ohio. In March 1943, shortly after he graduated from high school, Westbrook enrolled in aviation cadet training at Tuskegee Army Air Field. (He’d never been in an airplane, but he knew he didn’t want to be in the infantry.) Westbrook finished pilot training in February 1944, and was sent to Selfridge Air Field near Detroit, Michigan, for training in single-engine fighter planes like the P-39 Air Cobra.

2nd Lt. Westbrook graduated from pilot training at Tuskegee Army Airfield on February 8, 1944 (class 44-B) and was attached to the 99th Fighter Squadron, which had the distinction of being one of the first all Black units formed by the Army Air Corps. In July 1944, after further training in South Carolina, Westbrook was shipped to Italy with the 99th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group. On R&R, Westbrook went to Naples, Rome, and Vatican City, where his group visited the Sistine Chapel and met the Pope. As a combat pilot, he was even more widely-traveled; he flew 60 missions over 12 countries in Europe. On his 31st mission, his P-51 Mustang developed engine trouble, forcing Westbrook and his wingman to crash-land in Yugoslavia. They were rescued by a group of Marshall Tito’s Partisans and delivered to a group of British intelligence officers, led by Randolph Churchill and author Evelyn Waugh. About one month later, Westbrook was back on duty. On a strafing mission over southern France, targeting radar stations one day ahead of a planned invasion, Westbrook believed he saw a fellow pilot, Richard Macon, crash into a building near Montpelier. It happened quickly, though, and the U.S. had no detailed records of it. More than fifty years later, while doing research with French-language materials, Westbrook was able to confirm that Macon had indeed crashed into a building – a German command outpost with more than 40 officers inside.

For his service in Europe, Westbrook earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 5 Clusters, the Presidential Unit Citation, the 15th Air Force Certificate of Valor and 5 Battle Stars, with an air-to-air victory over a German Me-109 fighter in October 1944.  Promoted to 1st Lt., he served in the 332nd Fighter Group from July 1944 to May 1945.  Total service: 4 years active, 6 years reserve.

Westbrook returned to the United States in June 1945. His plan was to attend an engineering school, but he was turned down – the director wouldn’t accept black students. Instead, he came to Chicago and earned a degree in electronics from the American Television Institute of Technology. He found work in the machine division at one of the country’s largest meat-packing companies, where he worked on vacuum-packaging technology for more than 18 years. Now retired, he is the author of Tuskegee Airmen 1941-1945, an extensive print and pictorial history of what he calls “the Air Force within the American Air Force.”

He served as a United States Air Force fighter pilot in the European theater where he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 5 Clusters, the Presidential Unit Citation, the 15th Air Force Certificate of Valor and 5 Battle Stars. During the war, Lt. Westbrook flew many combat missions over 12 different countries on the European continent including one where he was shot down over enemy territory. He obtained one confirmed victory on October 4, 1944.

After the war, Mr. Westbrook obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electronics and was employed as an Electrical Engineer at W.R. Grace & Co., a major manufacturing facility that made packaging machines. There, Mr. Westbrook designed various types of electronic control circuits and is listed as the co-inventor of a revolutionary patented processing system that utilized a controlled vacuum as the primary packaging system that is still in use today.

Shelby Westbrook took a trip in 2007 to Washington, DC to accept a Congressional Medal from our Government. He frequently is asked to speak at colleges and corporate functions. He is active in his Tuskegee chapter and has co-authored two books regarding the Tuskegee Airmen.  His message for youth is: “Turn off the television & video set, life is not a game. Learn to read and develop y our abilities with a skill or a profession!”

 

OTA William R. Thompson

March 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

mind helvetica, information pills sans-serif;”>Roy ChappellRoy Martis Chappell began his flight on September 16, pill 1921, in Williamsburg, Kentucky to the union of Linold and Flora Chappell. He was the second of three children. The family later moved to Monroe, Michigan where he attended Monroe High School. He was the only Black in his graduating class of 250 students and he graduated in the top 10% of his class. Roy was the high point man in track and lettered in both football and track.

During World War II, Chappell graduated from the Navigation School at Hondo, TX in Class 4411 98 as 2nd Lieutenant, and later, from Bombardier School in Midland, TX in Class 4543. He served at Godman Field and later at Freeman Field, where he participated in the Freeman Mutiny during which 101 African-American officers protested unequal treatment by the military by attempting to enter a white only officer’s club. By doing so, he risked his own freedom and life for the future advancement of others. Since it was wartime, the actions amounted to treason, and the airmen received disciplinary letters in their files. The highly publicized incident led President Harry Truman to end segregation in the military three years later. The disciplinary actions however, weren’t expunged until the 1990’s.

After Roy’s discharge from the service, he moved to Chicago and later married Lucy Lang. Roy completed his college education at Roosevelt University in Chicago and became an educator with the Chicago Public Schools and teaching at Carnegie School. He was a Math teacher, counselor and Vice Principal. The Honor Assembly at Carnegie School is named “The Roy Chappell Honor Assembly” due to his special interest in scholastic excellence. 

A final tribute to Roy Martis Chappell was paid on Saturday, September 28, 2000 at the Martin Temple A.M.E. Zion Church 6930 S. Cottage Grove Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60637. The Reverend Lester A. McCorn was the Officiant. Roy was a devout Christian who loved God, his family and his Church. He was a long-term member of Martin Temple A.M.E. Zion Church and guided the building of the current Martin Temple Church. He was a faithful, committed member of the Trustee Board, and he loved the Martin Temple Church Family.

Roy was always committed to Youth. He was a Sunday school teacher for 22 years and served as Sunday school superintendent for 10 years. He was a member of the Burnside Local School Council for six years. He was an ardent supported of the Tuskegee Airmen’s Young Eagles Program which provides youth ages 7-17 free introductory flight provided by the group’s cadre of volunteer private pilots. He encouraged students to consider a career in aviation by experiencing flight for themselves.

Roy was president of the Chicago DODO chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen for 9 years, one of the most active in the nation. Roy has won many civic awards; some of the last ones were:

1) The Humanitarian Award for the Young Eagles Program from the Experimental Aircraft Association, 2002:

2) The National Leadership Award from Phillips Petroleum Co. at EEA Air Venture Convention in Oshkosh, 2001:  

3) The Merrill C. Meigs Spirit of Flight Award, 2002 for Preserving and Improving the Endangered Lakefront Airport: and;

4) History Makers Award (including Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee), 2002.

Roy has influenced awards over the years including the most recent TAI organization’s highest honor, the prestigious Brigadier General Noel Parrish Award and the National President’s Award (never had anyone ever received these two awards at the same time).

Our Peaceful Eagle, Roy Martis Chappell, was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He was a man who cared about children. Roy was a man of excellence, a determined, proud man. He was a man of STRONG FAITH. He was a man who gave a new meaning to the word, INSPIRATION. He was a man who led by example. He was a true survivor. Roy was an Officer and a, Gentleman.”

Source:  Family biography

 

more about
helvetica,sans-serif;”>William ThompsonBorn on January 26, 1916, Lieutenant Colonel William R. Thompson was born in the Wiley Avenue section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of a prosperous caterer. His mother died when he was fourteen days old.

Thompson received his B.S. in business administration from Hampton University in Virginia. During his senior year, he became a licensed pilot and entered the service in 1940 as one of the first African American aviation cadets admitted to the U.S. Army Air Corps. These cadets were later known as members of the 99th Squadron of the Tuskegee Airmen.

As part of the 99th Squadron, under the guidance of  then Capt. Benjamin O. Davis; Col Thompson served as a weapons (armament officer) officer with the U.S. Army Air Force 99th Fighter Squadron of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War Two.  He also served as unofficial photographer for the 99th Squadron and parts of his collection now reside in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

During an interview in the summer of  2000 with the History Makers, he discusses his training at Chanute Base, seeing Eleanor Roosevelt fly with a black pilot at Tuskegee, the squadron being shipped to Casablanca and their service in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. 

 

OTA Roy Martis Chappell

March 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

mind helvetica, information pills sans-serif;”>Roy ChappellRoy Martis Chappell began his flight on September 16, pill 1921, in Williamsburg, Kentucky to the union of Linold and Flora Chappell. He was the second of three children. The family later moved to Monroe, Michigan where he attended Monroe High School. He was the only Black in his graduating class of 250 students and he graduated in the top 10% of his class. Roy was the high point man in track and lettered in both football and track.

During World War II, Chappell graduated from the Navigation School at Hondo, TX in Class 4411 98 as 2nd Lieutenant, and later, from Bombardier School in Midland, TX in Class 4543. He served at Godman Field and later at Freeman Field, where he participated in the Freeman Mutiny during which 101 African-American officers protested unequal treatment by the military by attempting to enter a white only officer’s club. By doing so, he risked his own freedom and life for the future advancement of others. Since it was wartime, the actions amounted to treason, and the airmen received disciplinary letters in their files. The highly publicized incident led President Harry Truman to end segregation in the military three years later. The disciplinary actions however, weren’t expunged until the 1990’s.

After Roy’s discharge from the service, he moved to Chicago and later married Lucy Lang. Roy completed his college education at Roosevelt University in Chicago and became an educator with the Chicago Public Schools and teaching at Carnegie School. He was a Math teacher, counselor and Vice Principal. The Honor Assembly at Carnegie School is named “The Roy Chappell Honor Assembly” due to his special interest in scholastic excellence. 

A final tribute to Roy Martis Chappell was paid on Saturday, September 28, 2000 at the Martin Temple A.M.E. Zion Church 6930 S. Cottage Grove Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60637. The Reverend Lester A. McCorn was the Officiant. Roy was a devout Christian who loved God, his family and his Church. He was a long-term member of Martin Temple A.M.E. Zion Church and guided the building of the current Martin Temple Church. He was a faithful, committed member of the Trustee Board, and he loved the Martin Temple Church Family.

Roy was always committed to Youth. He was a Sunday school teacher for 22 years and served as Sunday school superintendent for 10 years. He was a member of the Burnside Local School Council for six years. He was an ardent supported of the Tuskegee Airmen’s Young Eagles Program which provides youth ages 7-17 free introductory flight provided by the group’s cadre of volunteer private pilots. He encouraged students to consider a career in aviation by experiencing flight for themselves.

Roy was president of the Chicago DODO chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen for 9 years, one of the most active in the nation. Roy has won many civic awards; some of the last ones were:

1) The Humanitarian Award for the Young Eagles Program from the Experimental Aircraft Association, 2002:

2) The National Leadership Award from Phillips Petroleum Co. at EEA Air Venture Convention in Oshkosh, 2001:  

3) The Merrill C. Meigs Spirit of Flight Award, 2002 for Preserving and Improving the Endangered Lakefront Airport: and;

4) History Makers Award (including Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee), 2002.

Roy has influenced awards over the years including the most recent TAI organization’s highest honor, the prestigious Brigadier General Noel Parrish Award and the National President’s Award (never had anyone ever received these two awards at the same time).

Our Peaceful Eagle, Roy Martis Chappell, was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He was a man who cared about children. Roy was a man of excellence, a determined, proud man. He was a man of STRONG FAITH. He was a man who gave a new meaning to the word, INSPIRATION. He was a man who led by example. He was a true survivor. Roy was an Officer and a, Gentleman.”

Source:  Family biography

 

OTA Andrew Perez

March 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

visit this site helvetica,sans-serif;”>On May 5, Andrew “Doc” Perez died at ManorCare Health Services in Oak Lawn, Illinois.  Dr. Perez, 82, was one of the original Tuskegee Airmen and an outspoken opponent to the closing of Meigs Field on March 31st.  As a member of the Chicago “DODO” Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Dr. Perez was actively involved in the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles Program.  He enjoyed going to Meigs Field to introduce children to careers in aviation.  

He also loved telling others about the role of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II.  Dr. Perez was among more than 900 airmen who became part of the “Great Experiment” to see if African Americans could support the nation’s military operations.  After graduating from Tilden Technical High School in Chicago, Dr. Perez entered the U.S. Army Air Forces flight training program at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama  Dr. Perez became a radio equipment technician and earned his wings in gunnery.

After completing his military service, Dr. Perez received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Roosevelt University in Chicago, and then a doctorate of optometry degree from the Monroe School, which later became part of the Illinois College of Optometry.  As an optometrist, patients and friends began affectionately calling Dr. Perez “Doc.” 

Always passionate about education, Dr. Perez taught math and science at Hyde Park Academy High School during the 1960s and 70s.

Dr. Perez is survived by his wife, Bobbie Anthony-Perez.

 

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