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Thread: Tuskegee airman, WWII hero from N.J., dies at 90,

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    Safe travels. Standing, hand salute.
    Alea iacta est

    Check out the blog.


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    Uncle Ferd says dem old planes look like dey's from another century...

    Oldest Remaining Tuskegee Airman Dies at 101 in Florida
    Nov 21, 2016 Willie Rogers, the oldest surviving member of the original Tuskegee Airmen, died in St. Petersburg. He was 101.
    The Tampa Bay Times reports as he approached his 100th birthday, Mr. Rogers lived in a senior apartment complex in downtown St. Petersburg, and walked the short distance every Sunday to services at historic Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church. He had lived in St. Petersburg for the last 50 years of his life.


    Tuskegee Airmen - Circa May 1942 to Aug 1943

    Rogers was drafted into the Army in 1942 and was part of the 100th Air Engineer Squad. Rogers also served with the Red Tail Angels. In 2007, President George W. Bush awarded him with the Congressional Gold Medal. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman acknowledged Rogers' death on social media Saturday.

    http://www.military.com/daily-news/2...1-florida.html
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    WWII Mystery: Are 'Missing' Sailors Actually in NY Cemetery?
    Nov 21, 2016 | It's a mystery of World War II: What happened to the 136 missing sailors from the explosion and sinking of the USS Turner?
    After all, the ship did not go down in battle or even in the open sea, but while anchored near New York Harbor in 1944, so close to the city that shockwaves from the onboard munitions blasts shattered windows in some buildings. Now, newly discovered documents show that the remains of four of the missing sailors were indeed found and buried not long after the disaster in separate graves for unknowns in a Long Island veterans cemetery. And the researcher who found the documents suspects many more remains could have been found and buried along with them in those same simple gravesites, marked only with the words "Unknown U.S. Sailor" and "January 3, 1944," the day the destroyer sank. "Just don't throw them in the ground and forget about them," said military historian Ted Darcy, who is turning over his findings to the Pentagon. "These guys have been neglected by our government. It's not fair, especially to their families."

    Darcy's hope is that the military will exhume the four gravesites, identify the remains and rebury them with a proper memorial. The Pentagon still officially lists 136 Turner sailors as missing. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, the federal office responsible for recovering and identifying the nation's missing war dead, didn't respond to repeated requests from The Associated Press about Darcy's findings. The Turner, a 10-month-old destroyer returning from convoy duty in the Atlantic, was anchored a few miles off Sandy Hook, New Jersey, when an explosion erupted below deck, setting much of the ship ablaze. More explosions followed, the last breaking the ship in two. While no cause of the initial blast was ever determined, a Navy report mentioned anti-submarine munitions were being defused around the time.


    A gravestone, left, with the inscription UNKNOWN U.S. SAILOR, is adorned with a flower and a small pumpkin at Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, N.Y

    More than 150 men were rescued, but 136 others went down with the ship, according to Darcy's research. He said the Navy's National Archives file on the yearlong salvage operation contains no information, including how many sets of remains were eventually recovered from the 55 feet of water where the ship sank. Darcy contends many of the bodies would have likely been intact on the ship in compartments sealed with watertight doors. According to 1944 interment records for the Long Island veterans cemetery in Farmingdale, the remains of four Turner sailors were buried in individual graves within a year of the disaster. But Darcy, a retired Marine from Locust Grove, Virginia, believes all or most of the remains were found and comingled in the four graves. "I went to the Navy and they said, 'Hey, we don't know how many are in there,'" he said.

    Darcy said comingling of unidentified remains was a fairly common practice, particularly when the Navy was overburdened at the height of World War II. The Long Island cemetery has multiple graves containing the remains of more than one WWII serviceman, while the remains of 388 USS Oklahoma crewmembers disinterred in 2015 for identification were buried in 45 mass graves in Hawaii. Another WWII MIA expert, Mark Noah, founder of Florida-based History Flight, said he "wouldn't doubt it at all" if Turner graves contained the remains of multiple sailors. "Skeletal remains can pack out a full coffin with more than a dozen people," he said. Loved ones from the Turner disaster were initially told only that their sailor was missing. If remains had been found and buried, they were never informed. "Oh, my goodness. I would've liked to have known that," 82-year-old Marjorie Avery, of Corsicana, Texas, told the AP by phone. Her father, Henry S. Wygant Jr., was the Turner's captain and still officially listed as missing.

    Several relatives of now-deceased Turner sailors who survived the disaster told the AP their loved ones also were never told about the graves. Two of the last Turner survivors still living James Thomas, of Leivasy, West Virginia, and Robert Mowry, of Irwin, Pennsylvania also said they didn't know. More than 70 years later, their memories of the disaster remain clear yet tinged with stoicism typical of so many WWII veterans. "It's just one of those things that happen in a war," said Mowry, 91. "It was just us at the wrong place at the wrong time, that's all."

    http://www.military.com/daily-news/2...-cemetery.html

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    Appropriate for Memorial Day...

    Tuskegee Airmen Recall History-Making Service, Missions
    26 May 2017 | As they sat around a table wearing crisp, red jackets in honor of their famed unit's red-tailed aircraft, four Tuskegee Airmen recounted war stories as if they happened yesterday.
    They were among the men who defied the odds by becoming the first black pilots, navigators and support personnel to serve during World War II, often escorting and protecting bombers. Retired Col. Charles McGee, former cadets Walter Robinson and William Fauntroy Jr., all trained as pilots, and former Pvt. Major Anderson, a maintainer, joined the Army Air Corps and ended up in Tuskegee, Alabama, in front of leaders who "found ways to bring necessary training to us who were totally segregated," Robinson said.


    From left, Walter Robinson, Charles McGee, William Fauntroy Jr. and Major Anderson -- all Tuskegee Airmen -- gathered at an event hosted by the Air Force Academy Society on May 17, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

    The veterans -- who range in age from early-to-late 90s -- sat down with reporters at an event hosted by the Air Force Academy Society on May 17 in Washington, D.C. McGee, an ROTC student at the University of Illinois who joined the Army in 1942, said there were a few phases to "the Tuskegee experience."

    'The Tuskegee Experience'

    He described the activation of the 99th Fighter Squadron, the first Tuskegee unit to deploy in 1943 to Northern Africa, flying the P-40 Warhawk. The next phase extended the mission to the larger 332nd Fighter Group, bringing in additional squadrons flying P-39 Airacobras, P-47 Thunderbolts, and P-51 Mustangs -- identified by their famous "red tails." The markings flagged to counterparts the pilots were friendlies and earned the airmen their nickname. Then came the activation of the 477th Bombardment Group, which trained on B-25 Mitchell bombers in the U.S. but did not complete training in time to see combat.

    The effort brought together 996 pilots, and more than 15,000 maintenance, ground and support personnel, leading to 1,491 combat missions, according to the Air Force Historical Research Agency. "They didn't drop the standards [for us], even though they didn't think we were going to be successful," said McGee, reflecting on his time as a first lieutenant. "We were trained well, we were prepared for the opportunities, and although we were segregated ... fortunately the record that we established helped the Air Force when they separated from the Army ... to say, 'We need to integrate.'"

    'The Man That Taught All of Us'

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    Story of the Tuskegee Airmen told in veteran's memoir...

    Veteran's Memoir Tells the Story of the Tuskegee Airmen
    1 Aug 2017 | Harold Brown enters the Liberty Aviation Museum on a Monday morning wearing a smile. One can't help but feel the calming energy surrounding the 92-year-old Air Force veteran.
    A Redtail Squadron logo is visible on his navy polo shirt as the former Tuskegee Airman walks through the museum. His enthusiasm registers in numerous ways, from offering bits of information about the small model airplanes hanging from the ceiling to stopping to have his picture taken with passing guests. There's no question that Harold Brown is pretty recognizable in this part of town.


    2014 Liberty Aviation Museum Port Clinton OH

    An 11-minute black-and-white Tuskegee film plays on a projector as Mr. Brown takes a seat at a round table in a room on the opposite side of the wall. He begins to speak about his upcoming book, "Keep Your Airspeed Up: The Story Of A Tuskegee Airman," scheduled to hit stores Aug. 8. "It brings back all kinds of memories," he says. "Good memories, bad memories. It reminds me of how close I've come to dying on more than one occasion." The 270-page memoir was co-written by Brown's wife, Marsha Bordner, or as she describes the process: "He's the hero; I'm the teller."

    She was compelled to finish the book to demonstrate the hard work it took the 992 Tuskegee pilots to fight not just against the Axis of Evil abroad but also racism and prejudice at home. "This group of men had to fight the military and our society at large for an opportunity just to prove they were smart enough to fly an airplane," Bordner, 67, says sitting next to her husband. "They really believed [it]. The people of that time said, 'Well, you know, the $#@!es wouldn't be bright enough. They might be able to [fly] a little Piper Cub, but they couldn't possibly fly a complicated aircraft.' The Tuskegee Airmen really laid the ground[work] for the civil rights movement." The book focuses on three phases of the Minneapolis native's life, divided into "The Early Years," "The War Years," and "The Post War Years."


    After years of collecting materials for the book, Marsha Bordner found herself with hundreds of interviews, transcripts, and tapes of details about her husband's life. "The last two years I decided it was time to finish it, so I really buckled down and started working all the time," she says. "It was time to finish it." The first part of the book, "The Early Years," provides insight into what life was like in Minneapolis during the 1920s and '30s, which Bordner says had a black population of less than 1 percent. The book also details the former Tuskegee pilot's ancestry, from his parents' journey to the north during the Great Migration to Brown's vision of becoming a pilot.

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    Another Tuskegee airman passes away...

    Floyd Carter Sr., One of the Remaining Tuskegee Airmen, Dies at 95
    12 Mar 2018 - Floyd Carter Sr., one of the last of the Tuskegee Airmen, dedicated his remarkable life to serving his country and his city.
    The decorated veteran of three wars and 27 years with the NYPD died Thursday at age 95, leaving a long legacy as a groundbreaking hero pilot and a city police detective. Carter, who simultaneously rose through the ranks of the U.S. Air Force Reserves and the police, was honored in 2007 with the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bush for breaking the color barrier in Tuskegee. "We mourn the loss of a true American hero," read a tweet from the 47th Precinct in his adopted home of the Bronx. "Our community & nation has lost a giant." Carter rose to the rank of Air Force lieutenant colonel years after joining the group of African-American pilots at Tuskegee University. He met his wife Atherine there, where the Alabama native was working as part of an all-female repair crew. Carter wooed his bride-to-be on several dates in his plane, and they were married at the air base in 1945.

    In 2012, Carter joined "Star Wars" filmmaker George Lucas for a screening of his film "Red Tails" about the Tuskegee Airmen -- the first black aviators in the U.S. military, trained in Alabama as a segregated unit. In addition to serving during World War II, Carter flew during the Korean and Vietnam wars and led the first squadron of supply-laden planes into Berlin during the famed Cold War airlift of 1948-49. During the Tet Offensive, Carter flew U.S. troops and supplies into South Vietnam. His NYPD duties included work as a bodyguard for visiting heads of state, and Carter spent time with Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Soviet head Nikita Khrushchev, recalled his son Floyd Jr.


    Tuskegee Airmen Floyd Carter (left) Dr. Roscoe Brown, Dabney Ian Montgomery and Wilfred Difore leave the field of at The NFL And Red Tails Salute To The Tuskegee Airmen On Veteran's Day Weekend During the New York Jets Vs. New England Patriots Game at Met Life Stadium on November 13, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

    He earned a half-dozen citations for his outstanding police work, and survived a number of shootouts with armed bandits. "He's got a little history," said Floyd Jr. "We were blessed, we sure were. He went from what I call the outhouse to the fine house. The Lord blessed him." The Yorktown, Va., native joined the Army Air Corps in 1944, and was commissioned a year later as a 2nd lt. bombardier navigator. In 1946, he received his pilot wings and transferred a year later to the Air Force Reserves. By the end of his tenure in 1974, he was commander of the 732nd Military Airlift Squadron at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey.

    Carter joined the NYPD in 1953, earned his detective's gold shield within three years, and retired in 1980. He once recalled talking politics with Castro, and believed the federal government needed to open a dialogue with the bearded Communist. Oddly enough, Carter was called up for active duty during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Carter remained active into his 90s, serving in November 2015 as the grand marshal of the annual Veterans Day Parade in the Bronx. He was honored by ex-Congressman Charles Rangel in 2005 with a proclamation for his lifelong achievements. Carter was survived by his wife of more than seven decades and their two children, Floyd Jr. and Rozalind, along with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Funeral arrangements were not yet finalized.

    https://www.military.com/daily-news/...n-dies-95.html

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    I just looked it up. There are still 558,000 veterans alive. I'm surprised.
    Whoever criticizes capitalism, while approving immigration, whose working class is its first victim, had better shut up. Whoever criticizes immigration, while remaining silent about capitalism, should do the same.


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    Tuskegee Airman Robert Martin, shot down over Germany, dead at 99...

    Tuskegee Airman Robert Martin, shot down over Germany, dead at 99
    6 Aug.`18 - Robert L. Martin, a combat pilot who said he flew "63 and a half" missions during World War II as part of the barrier-breaking Tuskegee Airmen, was shot down over German-occupied territory on the 64th and spent five weeks trying to return to Allied lines with the help of Josip Broz Tito's anti-fascist Yugoslav partisans, died July 26 at a senior living center in Olympia Fields, Illinois. He was 99.
    The cause was pneumonia, said his daughter, Gabrielle Martin. Martin, known as "Fox," grew up in Iowa and became entranced by airplanes when he attended an air show as a 13-year-old Boy Scout. He persuaded his father to let him take a ride on a Ford Trimotor. "And the pilot, after starting the engine, buckled me in, he touched me with a wire and shocked me, and he said, 'You're going to be a pilot,' " he remembered in a video interview for the Experimental Aircraft Association, a Wisconsin-based international association promoting recreational flying. During college, Martin completed a civilian pilot-training program, joking that for a small fee "you could get silver wings and get all the girls."


    War was raging when he graduated from Iowa State University. He joined the Army Air Forces and trained at the segregated military complex in Tuskegee, Alabama, in January 1944. With the rank of lieutenant, he immediately set sail for Italy and was attached to the 100th Fighter Squadron, which helped provide cover for Allied bombers on missions over targets in Europe. On March 3, 1945, he was one of 24 Tuskegee Airmen who climbed into their single-seat P-51 Mustang fighters from their base in Ramitelli, Italy, to conduct a rail-strafing mission in parts of Slovenia and Austria. Two pilots did not return - Martin and Alphonso Simmons. "We flew over this airfield where there was no opposition," Martin said in 2008 at Chicago's Pritzker Military Museum & Library, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We saw two airplanes parked a little bit off the field, and we said, 'We'll get more credit for destroying two airplanes than shooting up a railroad train.' We went in to shoot up these planes."



    Lt. Robert L. Martin flew scores of missions with the Tuskegee airmen.



    Martin and Simmons were hit by antiaircraft fire. Simmons was killed. "I said, 'I'm not going to fry, I'm going to get out of here,' " he recalled in the Pritzker talk. "I got up high enough to bail out and my beautiful parachute opened and knocked me out - cut my chin open and floated me down to earth." He was spotted by members of Tito's partisan forces, which controlled swaths of Yugoslav territory; Tito became Yugoslavia's postwar Communist strongman. Taken to a farmhouse, Mr. Martin was greeted by one of Tito's men as a "warrior on the side of the Allies," he told the Experimental Aircraft Association. "The guy fried me an egg and gave me a glass of grappa when he found I was hungry, and just told me to sit and wait."


    On March 10, he was taken to Topusko, Croatia, where he met with an Allied mission manned by British soldiers that helped downed Allied airmen. Because Topusko had natural hot springs, Mr. Martin said, it was the ideal place for recovery. "They could take a bath in the natural hot spring bath house, get rid of all the lice and dirt and whatever, and they had clean uniforms, shoes, food to feed them, whiskey, candy, books, a safe house, there was meat and flour and all types of foodstuffs dropped in by parachute to help these downed Allied airmen," he said to the Experimental Aircraft Association. After a month, he was airlifted to Bari, Italy, and weeks later he celebrated V-E Day in Naples. He soon embarked on a ship for home.

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