Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. ¢â‚¬“Tuskegee Airmen Experience when in 1941 Afri-can-Americans and other disadvantaged

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  • General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.

    Chapter San Diego

    San Diego, CA.

    Editor: Oscar D. Teel President: George E. Watson March 2011

    Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

    Herbert L. Blackman, Jr 1927-2011

    It is with deep re- gret that we report the passing of one of the Chapter’s hard- est working mem- bers. Herb passed away on January 23. Herb was born in At- lantic City, New Jer- sey and spent his early years there and in Lexington, Ky. Herb received a Bachelor’s degree

    from Howard University and a Master’s Degree from Purdue University. He retired from the Air Force after a career in Civil Engineering. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Lolitta, who is also a Chapter member. Herb took care of all of our equipment, books, posters, furniture etc., and many, many times he hauled our equipment to street fairs and retrieved them to put them back in storage. He was on the Scholarship Committee and always wanted the best for our youth. Herb also held the office of Correspond- ing Secretary. Herb often accompanied Chap- ter speakers to events to give them support.. At our major events He took care of all of the fa- cilities and interfacing with the proper authorities for buses to bring the children. You seldom knew he was there because he remained in the background. Herb was never an angry man; he always smiled, he spoke softly. He was a joy to work with. He exhibited these traits always and we, should try to emulate him. We offer our sincere condolences to the Blackman family.

    THE PRESIDENT’S COLUMN

    Greetings Fellow Chapter Members

    Here we are well into a new year and it looks like it’s going to be another busy one. In 2010 we lost two of our Chapter members, Bob Maxwell and Herb Blackman and a former chap- ter member, John

    Smith. Let us continue our prayers for their families as they forge ahead without their loved ones. You read about Bob in our previous newsletter and you’ll read more about Herb in this one. John Smith was a military veteran’s man. If a veteran was involved, John was in- volved and doing all he could to help. In December, we had election/reelection of offi- cers. Thank you for re-electing me as your president. Jeff Woodson will remain as our VP, Arlys Erickson as Treasurer, and Bill McNeil as Recording secretary. Congratulations to Paulette Mello as our corresponding secretary. More about Paulette later. Also, at our end of the year meeting we emphasized the impor- tance of our youth program and activities. Mary Snear-McNeil will be our chair person. It’s look- ing real good as Mary Snear-McNeil, Arlys Erickson and Paulette Mello are doing a fantas- tic job organizing an event for late April. Paulette Mello: What can we say about her? Perhaps not enough. She, along with her fam- ily, Joe and Cheyenne (Cheyenne, a youth The President’s Message continues on page 4

    George Watson Chapter President

  • Page 2 By Request

    The following correspondence was received from Zellie Rainey Orr. It is a very important piece of history and you should consider it when giving presentations about the Tuskegee Airmen. It is a tes- timony to the character of the Tuskegee Airmen that even in times of extreme stress, they were able to practice civility and be excellent hosts. Ed.

    TODAY IN TUSKEGEE AIRMEN HISTORY: By Zellie Rainey Orr December 29, 1944, the weather was notorious and unyielding. Encountering zero visibility, some eighteen B-24 bomber crews were returning from a mission, flying in the wrong direction. Running low on fuel and headed towards the Adriatic, they were in imminent danger. However, the alert re- sponse by the on-duty control tower operator at Ramitelli, in recognizing the sound of the engines. ...aided in effecting a safe landing.

    In juggling a forced landing of the big "heavies" (bombers) at Ramitelli on its short airstrip built for fighters. ..and the "red-tail" (fighter) pilots returning from their mission...the lives of some 180 bomb crewmen were saved. The unrelenting weather stranded the white visitors for several days at the Negro base, forging a historical milestone--blacks and whites. ..living, eating, and sleeping together.

    My research would divulge, seventeen of the eighteen bomb crews were from the 485th Bombard- ment Group (and one from the 455th). Thus, I would begin filling in the missing pieces via my con- tact with Jerry Whiting and Dan Haulman. Jerry is the Historian of the 485th BG, and son of Wayne Whiting, a tail gunner with the 485th that was temporarily "housed" at Ramitelli. Dan is Chief of the Organizational History Division (Air Force Historical Research Agency) at Maxwell.

    Prior to the departure of the B-24's, the 332nd Fighter Group Public Relations Officer, Eugene Weaver, placed a letter in each plane. Below is a copy of that letter (from Jerry). Also, a copy of the Letter of Appreciation from the Commanding Officer of the 485t BG, Col. Jack Tomhave, to the 366th Air Service Squadron of the 332nd FG (from Dan)

    TO THE VISITING PILOTS AND CREWS:

    YOU HAVE BEEN THE GUESTS OF THE 332ND ALL NEGRO FLIGHTER GROUP. WE HOPE THAT OUR FACILITIES, SUCH AS THEY ARE, WERE SUITABLE AND ADEQUATE ENOUGH TO HAVE MADE YOUR STAY HERE A PLEASANT ONE. ON BEHALF OF COLONEL DAVIS AND THE COMMAND, I EXTEND TO YOU OUR MOST HEARTY WISHES FOR A HAPPY NEW YEAR AND MANY HAPPIER LANDINGS. YOU ARE WELCOME TO RETURN HERE AT ANY TIME AND I AM SURE THAT WE CAN MAKE YOUR STAY AN ENJOYABLE ONE. THE PILOTS OF THIS COMMAND HAVE EXPRESSED THEIR DESIRES TO HAVE IT MADE CLEAR THAT IT IS A PLEASURE TO BE ABLE TO PROTECT YOU AND LOOK AFTER YOUR WELL-BEING BOTH IN THE AIR AND HERE ON THE GROUND. REMEMBER, WHEN YOU ARE UP THERE AND SEE THE RED TAILED MUSTANGS IN THE SKY, THEY ARE YOUR FRIENDS OF THE 332ND FIGHTER GROUP. HERE IS HOPING FOR A QUICK ENDING OF THE WAR AND A BETTER AND MORE PEACEFUL WORLD.

    MANY HAPPY LANDINGS,

    /s/ Eugene D. Weaver EUGENE D. WEAVER

    Capt., Air Corps, Public Relations O.

  • By Request Page 3

    Headquarters 485th Bombardment Group (H)

    APO 529 US ARMY

    6 January 1945

    Major E. Jones, Jr. 366th Air Service Squadron APO 520, US Army Dear Major Jones,

    On behalf of the Officers and Enlisted Men of 485th Bombardment Group, I want to personally thank you for the courtesy and assistance which you and the personnel of the 366th Air Service Squadron so splendidly offered to our crews which landed at your base on 29 December 1944. I fully realize what an inconvenience this forced landing must have made on your facilities, and the remarkable manner in which you people of the 15th Fighter Command rose to the situation is all the more com- mendable. The very able assistance which your Service Squadron has given to the 332nd Fighter Group is well known, and now you have proven yourselves just as capable in servicing our heavy bombers.

    Sincerely yours,

    /s/Jack P. Tomhave JACK P. TOMHAVE Colonel, Air Corps Commanding

    DO YOU REMEMBER

    ...when The City of Lancaster, Cali- fornia, honored the Tuskegee Airmen?

    A number of the Los Angeles and San Diego Chapter mem- bers were in at- tendance. February 28, 1999

  • President Column, continued from Page 1 chapter member) were very instrumental in get- ting us a space and setting up a booth at North Island for the Centennial of Naval Aviation. Thanks guys! Also, thanks to the Rowe family (Claude our Documented Original Tuskegee Air- man who attended) and the McNeil’s for braving the traffic. Me? I didn’t have a traffic problem because I was in the air flying in the T-34 forma- tion…really exciting. Never thought I’d being do- ing that. Again, a big thank you to everyone. Welcome to our new members, Mrs Winnie Rowe, Dorothy Rowe, Mrs. Hilda Teel, Mrs. Mary Snear-McNeil, and youth member, Cheyene Mello. We had an exciting weekend in Palms Springs on the 18th and 19th of March—T34 Fly-in at the Palms Springs Air Museum. Oscar Teel came by and was my GIB (guy in the backseat) for one flight on Saturday. We had fun…didn’t we Oscar? But man it was windy (bumpy ride). I very briefly checked my rear view mirror and Oscar appeared to be enjoying it. Me? I wanted to get out. I’ll have an auto biography in the next newsletter for the whole world to see. May we always have a tail wind and keep the shiny side up.

    Page 4 By Request

    SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

    They never lost a bomber chronicle - Below is the statement recommended by the TAI Harry A. Sheppard Research Committee, and agreed upon by the Board of Directors, as the best way to end the controversy. Your National Board is recommending that TAI Chapter Presidents inform their members ac- cordingly and adhere to below language or the essence of the statements contained therein. "The results of the extensive research investiga- tions by several independent investigators in reviewing the records of the 332nd Fighter Group and all other fighter groups of 15th Air Force, 15th AF Bomber Wings and Groups and Missing Air Crew (MAC) Reports at the Air Force Historical Research Agency and t