This week’s article is special on so many levels. First, because when I was serving, I had the opportunity, while on orders, to visit the Tuskegee Airman Museum in Alabama. Wow, it was amazing. If you never saw the movie “Tuskegee Airmen” I highly recommend it. So, I am there and as a hobby of skydiving, talk a young Tuskegee Airman (local pilot school there) to take me up for a jump. It’s in my jump log book, Tuskegee Airman. It is one of my most treasured skydives.
So, this week in 1954 Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. became the first African-American general in the United States Air Force. Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr. (December 18, 1912 – July 4, 2002) was an American United States Air Force general and commander of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen. He was the first African-American general officer in the United States Air Force. On December 9, 1998, he was advanced to four-star general by President Bill Clinton. During World War II, Davis was commander of the 99th and the 332nd Fighter Group, which escorted bombers on air combat missions over Europe. Davis himself flew sixty missions in P-39, Curtiss P-40, P-47 and P-51 Mustang fighters. Davis followed in his father’s footsteps in breaking racial barriers, as Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. was the first African-American general in the United States Army. His picture remains on USAF walls along with so many other incredible people. That brings me to next level.
I think I mentioned in the past my best buddy Lenard Buckley. I was his “Chief” in the service. He was a Buffalo Soldier of the finest caliber surpassing me in service and commitment to his oath. I made sure he replaced me and that was not a difficult task. He was amazing. After retiring, younger than me, he passed due to cancer. I have thought in my last salute I would go with cremation until I attended his funeral. It was amazing. He rests in the Ft. Gibson Veteran’s Cemetery. He was interned with the flags, gun salutes, and full military honors he richly deserved. My old unit was there in full attendance. It was incredible and then my old friend taught me one last lesson. It was for us he planned the funeral. The inspiration was amazing. He was long past this world. I just hope he has joined Dick Pope, Morris Fields, Roy Arian in keeping the “joe” (coffee) hot around our encampment. We will all get our orders eventually, nice to know there are some true patriots who await us.
Don’t forget our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM. Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in October are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians).
Keep your eye on the weather in case things have to be postponed. That will be most likely if the storms bring strong winds and lightning. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.