The Flight that Changed History
This month we celebrate the “Flight of Eleanor Roosevelt and Charles A. Anderson” at Tuskegee on April 22, 1940.
WE ARE TAI PHILADELPHIA
Explore Our Services, Visit our history
– 1578 combat missions
– 179 bomber escort missions
– Destruction of 262 enemy aircraft
– Destruction of 950 rail cars and other motor vehicles
According to Wikipedia
The Tuskegee Airmen were credited by higher commands with the following accomplishments:
- 1578 combat missions, 1267 for the Twelfth Air Force; 311 for the Fifteenth Air Force
- 179 bomber escort missions, with a good record of protection, losing bombers on only seven missions and a total of only 27, compared to an average of 46 among other 15th Air Force P-51 groups
- 112 enemy aircraft destroyed in the air, another 150 on the ground and 148 damaged. This included three Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighters shot down
- 950 rail cars, trucks and other motor vehicles destroyed (over 600 rail cars)
- One torpedo boat put out of action. TA22 was an Italian World War I-era warship (Giuseppe Missori), that had been seized by the Germans and put into service. It was attacked on 25 June 1944, and damaged so severely she was never repaired. She was decommissioned on 8 November 1944, and finally scuttled on 5 February 1945.
- 40 boats and barges destroyed
Awards and decorations included:
- Three Distinguished Unit Citations
- 99th Pursuit Squadron: 30 May – 11 June 1943, for actions over Sicily
- 99th Fighter Squadron: 12–14 May 1944: for successful airstrikes against Monte Cassino, Italy. The first two Distinguished Unit Citations received by the 99th Fighter Squadron were awarded to the groups to which the squadron was attached. At the time, when a group received the honor, it was shared with the squadrons the were assigned or attached to the group.
- 332nd Fighter Group (and its 99th, 100th, and 301st Fighter Squadrons): 24 March 1945: for a bomber escort mission to Berlin, during which pilots of the 100th FS shot down three enemy Me 262 jets. The 302nd Fighter Squadron did not receive this award as it had been disbanded on 6 March 1945.
- At least one Silver Star
- 96 Distinguished Flying Crosses to 95 Airmen; Captain William A. Campbell was awarded two.
- 14 Bronze Stars
- 744 Air Medals
- At least 60 Purple Hearts
Lt. William Ephraim Broadwater January 25, 1926 – September 22, 2015
Bill’s fascination with flying began at age 10 in Bryn Mawr, where he was born. His neighbor, C. Alfred “Chief” Anderson, bought a plane and would land it on a nearby baseball field as Bill looked on. Upon arriving at Tuskegee Institute in May 1944, Bill encountered Anderson, who, as a flight instructor, took him for check rides. After graduating as part of the first Tuskegee class to fly the B-25 bomber, Bill joined the 477th bombardment group at Godman Field, KY, in August 1945.
As it was near the war’s end, the Army Air Corps had less need for pilots, and Bill left active duty as a second lieutenant in March 1946. Returning to Pennsylvania, Bill received his high school diploma and attended Temple University. He bought an Army surplus PT-23 training aircraft for his own use and, in 1948 married Anita Levy. They had two children: William Jr. and Janis, and two grandchildren, Moses Samuel Pinkston, III, and Safiya Broadwater.
After applying for a job as a commercial airline pilot and scoring well on the qualifying test, Bill was not hired, having been given the reason that passengers would not fly with a Black pilot. He then, in 1951, began a distinguished career with Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA), which in 1957 became the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Starting as an air traffic controller, Bill rose through the ranks to become Chief of the Air Traffic Flight Services Division; Chief of the Airspace, Obstruction and Air Traffic Rules Division; and Chief of Air Traffic Accident Investigation and Evaluation Staff. He was also an original member of the U.S. Government Senior Executive Service (SES) and reached the highest level of any Black in the history of the FAA Air Traffic Service Management.
Upon retiring from the FAA in 1980, Bill started an aviation consulting business, leading him to appear as an airspace expert before congressional committees, government agencies, zoning boards, and city councils. He consulted in major U.S cities, including Philadelphia, for procedural requirements for new airport runways. He also conducted airspace studies for tall structures, including approval for the tallest buildings in New York City and Chicago.
Bill was also active in civic activities, including President of a local civic association, president of a Parent-Teacher Association, and member of the Washington D.C. School Superintendent’s Private-Public Sector Steering Committee.
One of the original organizers of the Tuskegee Airmen in the early 1970s, Bill served as the third president of the East Coast Chapter from 1974-1976 and the second National President of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. (TAI) from 1976-1977. Bill spoke tirelessly about the Airmen’s accomplishments and encouraged youth to pursue careers in aviation. He recruited students for the TAI Youth in Aviation program, which provided flight instruction to high school students and was partly funded from the General B.O. Davis, Jr. Golf Classic, which Bill ran for many years.
On March 29, 2007, Bill joined almost 400 original Airmen in the Capitol Rotunda, where President George W. Bush collectively awarded the Tuskegee Airmen the Congressional Gold Medal. Bill told a reporter, “This day means that we have recognition at the national level, even 60 years later, that we accomplished something important.”
Bill continued flying throughout the years and built up 3000 hours in various aircraft. At age 85, he piloted a B-25 nicknamed “Panchito” out of Sussex County Airport in Georgetown, Delaware. After landing the B-25, he smiled and exclaimed, “It was terrific. The most fun I’ve had in five years – the last time I flew.”
He passed away on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at the age of 89.
Flight Officer Robert Wesley Williams, Jr., (1923- ) Navigator T 145 158 Bombardier
Tuskegee Airman Navigator Williams received the Congressional Gold Medal presented by President George W. Bush in 2007 and he is very proud to wear it.
Judge Robert W. Williams, Jr. was born in Providence, Rhode Island on July 3, 1923 to Robert W. Williams, Sr. and Ada Coston Williams. He had three sisters, Honora, Shirley, and Jacqueline. All are deceased. He met Gloria Pressly, a native Philadelphian, at Howard University and they married in 1947. They were married for 29 years. They have four children, Robert W. Williams, III, Ronald K. Williams, Gail P. Williams, and Barry C. Williams, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He married Julia Watson in 1988.
Turning 100 on July 3rd, Judge Williams is one of the oldest living members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. His date of active duty was April 21, 1945 as a Navigator. He separated from military service on November 19, 1945, as a member of the 2143rd Army Air Force Base Unit at Separation Base Westover Field Mass. He was selected for elite cross-training and attended Aerial Gunnery School, Bombardier School and Navigation School. His citations include the WW II Victory Ribbon II and the American Theater Ribbon.
Judge Williams has been a resident of Philadelphia since 1952. He started his legal career in Philadelphia after graduating from Howard University and Boston University School of Law. His professional experience included a diversified private law practice encompassing both civil and criminal litigation. As a member of the District Attorney’s Office where he was a trial attorney and the first Black Chief of the Homicide Unit from 1958-1963, he tried the most important homicide cases in Philadelphia. He served as Special Counsel to the Philadelphia City Council. He was known for his professionalism and coolness under pressure that became his Hallmark, and that was acknowledged by the Bench, the Bar, and indeed the public.
Named to the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia County in 1969 and he was elected in his own right in 1970, Judge Williams was one of the first Black lawyers to be seated on the Court. He presided over very significant trials and received acclaim for his integrity, judicial temperament, and scholarship.
Elected to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in 1980, Judge Williams was the 13th Judge to serve this Court and the first African-American. He was recognized as a brilliant jurist and devoted public servant.
Judge Williams is indeed a trailblazer and history maker. He is one of the founders of the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia established in 1950 to address the professional needs and development of Black lawyers in Philadelphia. He is the third Black to serve on the Philadelphia Board of Education in 1963. During his storied career he served as the Director of Model Cities of Philadelphia; Board of Trustees, Temple University; Board of Governors, Philadelphia Bar Association; Committee of Censors, Philadelphia Bar Association; Fairmount Park Commission; Treasurer, Regional Justice Commission; Board of Directors, The Center – A Place to Learn; Board of Directors, Mental Health Center; Board of Directors, Diamond Family Medical Center; Trustee, Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc; Member, State Advisory Committee; Member, Camp Hill Review Panel; Board of Trustees, United Fund; Philadelphia Bar Association; Pennsylvania Bar Association; American Bar Association; Philadelphia Booster Club; American Veterans Committee; Lawyers Club of Philadelphia; Chairman, Model Cities Economic Development Foundation; Greater Philadelphia Chapter Tuskegee Airmen, Inc; Squires Golf Club; and Freeway Golf Club.
On February 12, 1963, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, Judge Williams was a guest of the Kennedy White House to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Simeon Booker, considered the dean of Washington’s Black press corps, chronicled the evening in his memoir, Shocking the Conscience. The party’s guest list, 94-year-old Booker says, was like a “Who’s Who” of American Blacks. Judge Williams has been a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc., the oldest intercollegiate historically African-American fraternity for almost 80 years. Members of this fraternity include Martin Luther King, Jr., NAACP Founder W.E.B DuBois, Justice Thurgood Marshall, and United Ambassador Andrew Young. He is a lifetime member of the NAACP.
Miles Standish Washington, Jr. (1924-2013) Navigator
The Congressional Medal of Honor was awarded to Navigator Miles Standish Washington, Jr. and his fellow Tuskegee Airmen by President George W. Bush in the White House in 2007 and he was very proud to wear it.
Miles Standish Washington, Jr. was born on January 23, 1924 in West Philadelphia, PA to Miles Standish Washington, Sr. and Gustava Singleton Washington. He was their only child, who was supposed to be born around Christmas—hence the life-long moniker “Nic” to family and friends. He grew up in Philadelphia, attending West Philadelphia High School from 1938 to 1941. His studies at Lincoln University (PA) were interrupted by WW II.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was sent to Keesler Field, MS, followed by training at Tuskegee Army Air Field as a single engine aircraft pilot in 1944. WWII ended before Miles completed his pilot training. He received his honorable discharge in 1945 and returned to Pennsylvania, where he resumed his studies at Lincoln University on the GI Bill. He was instrumental in starting the Office of Veterans Affairs at Lincoln to assist veterans in returning to academia after serving in the Armed Forces. On June 23, 1946, he married his beloved “pen pal,” Cozette Jackson, whom he had first met during a wartime blackout party. He graduated in 1947 with an AB degree in Biology. A star athlete in Varsity Football, Intramural Basketball, and Softball, Miles was also President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and served as President of the Philadelphia Club, Vice President of the Senior Class, and Freshman Advisor.
Miles reenlisted in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Conflict. He graduated from USAF Navigator Miles reenlisted in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Conflict. He graduated from USAF Navigator School in 1951 and served as a navigator in the Strategic Air Command with the 310th Bombardment Wing on B-47 Bomber crews, where he was the only Black crew member. After the war, he earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from George Washington University (Washington, DC) in 1963. He became a Manpower Studies Analyst for the Air Force, assigned to posts in the United States, Europe, and Vietnam. His young family accompanied him to posts in California, Texas, Évreux (France), and Wiesbaden (Germany). Miles learned to speak fluent French while stationed in France. His love of playing sports continued throughout his military service, almost necessitating an amputation after breaking his knee in three places sliding into third base while playing baseball at Schilling AFB. He retired from active military duty at the rank of Lt. Col. on January 31, 1973, after 23 years of service.
Settling the family in Northern Virginia, Miles began a second career with the Federal Government, first at the Department of Agriculture as Deputy Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity from 1973 to 1976. He then moved to the Department of Transportation, where he served as Chief of Affirmative Action before retiring in 1984 as the Director of the Office of Civil Rights/Minority Business Enterprises of the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration within the Department of Transportation. He also served as a Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) Instructor at Dunbar High School for two years between government assignments.
In addition to the many lasting friendships he formed while stationed at Keesler Field, Miles was considered by many to be their wise, Tuskegee mentor. He and Cozette faithfully attended annual reunions with the 310th Bombardment Wing. He was a member of the East Coast Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., and was among the 300 DOTAs honored by President Bush in 2007 at the Tuskegee Airmen Congressional Gold Medal Award Ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.
Miles was a devoted member of his bi-weekly card group, the Symposium Whist Club, founded the same year he was born. During his long association with this esteemed club, he served as President, Treasurer, Recording Secretary, and Business Manager. He was also an avid weekend golfer. Miles was a member of Mt. Olive Baptist Church, where he served as Treasurer, and later, the Alfred Street Baptist Church. He loved singing in church choirs and groups, something he did in his early years and while stationed in Europe. Always a religious man, he was quick to quote his favorite Bible verse, Psalm 27:1 KJV (“The Lord is my light and my salvation…”). Miles and Cozette also enjoyed interacting with people from all walks of life as owners of The Paper Trail, a unique stationery store in Union Station (DC) they owned from 1988 until 2009. He also served as President of The Representative’s Condo Association Board in Arlington, VA.
Miles passed away on March 19, 2013 and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. He was the proud father of son Miles S. Washington III, PhD and daughter Marion L. Scott, as well as the father-in-law of Karla Washington. His granddaughters Camila and Trina Scott miss his laughter especially, and friends still speak lovingly of his kindness, generosity, sense of humor, and charisma. He is missed deeply by his loving wife of 67 years, with whom he renewed his wedding vows as they celebrated their 65th anniversary in 2011.
MILITARY LOCATIONS / ASSIGNMENTS
Keesler Field, MS
Tuskegee Army Air Field, AL
Ellington AFB (TX)
March AFB (CA)
Smokey Hill/Schilling AFB (KS)
McConnell AFB (KS)
APO – 167 (NY) – SA7 (SAC) 381
Schilling SAC—Aerospace Wing, SR-NAV (KS)
Évreux-Fauville AFB (France)
Wiesbaden AFB (Germany)
Stewart AFB (NY)
CAMPAIGNS / WARS
MILITARY AWARDS / DECORATIONS
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
National Defense Service Medal (Bronze Service Star)
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
USAF Management Engineering Award for Professional Excellence (1968)
Major Edward James Talbert, Jr. (1922-2019) Base Supply Officer
Edward J. Talbert, Jr. was born in Philadelphia, PA on December 30, 1922 to Edward James Talbert, Sr. and Sadie Bell Skinker Talbert. The family moved to Washington, DC in 1923, where his younger sister and brother were born. He graduated from Armstrong Technical High School in 1940, after which he enrolled at Howard University and began ROTC training. While in college, he worked part-time at the War Department from 1941-1943. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943. He trained at Fort Hood (TX) and Keesler Field (MS). During WWII, he was a Cargo Checker with the 433rd Port Company in Cardiff, Wales. He attended Army Information Education Staff School in Swinden, England and Biarritz American University in Biarritz, France. He also guarded German prisoners of war in Karlsruhe, Germany. Ed was Honorably Discharged from the U.S. Army in 1946.
Later that same year, he returned to Howard University as a History major and enrolled in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (AROTC), later known as the Air Force ROTC (Det. 130).
Graduating in 1948 at the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, he was assigned along with five other Howard University classmates to the 332nd Fighter Wing at Lockbourne AAB in Columbus, Ohio, commanded by Col. B.O. Davis, Jr. He served as Base Supply Officer and was the last officer on the base, turning the keys of the formerly segregated (and now deactivated) Lockbourne Air Force Base to the Air National Guard on July 1, 1950. Ed was Honorably Discharged from the U.S. Air Force on July 15, 1950.
He returned to Washington, DC to rejoin his new bride Jane Martin Talbert and attended Miner Teachers College, graduating in 1953 with a B.S. degree in Elementary Education. During this time, he was employed part-time by the District of Columbia Public Library System. He and Jane moved to Suitland, MD in 1957, and daughter Patricia was born in 1959. He enjoyed library work so much that he decided to devote his career to this pursuit.
During his tenure in the DC Public Library System, Ed was responsible for managing the opening of several new libraries in the Washington, DC area. He also earned his Master of Library Science degree at Catholic University in 1962. In 1968, he was hired by the Prince George’s County (MD) Memorial Library System. While there, he continued to manage branches and supervise the openings of new libraries. He oversaw the renovations of several existing libraries and became Area Branch Librarian at the Hyattsville Library in Maryland. He had the distinction of being the first African American Area Branch Librarian in both the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County Library systems.
Ed also served in the USAF Reserve from 1962-1982, retiring at the rank of Major. He retired from his library career in 1984 and enjoyed traveling extensively and spending time at the campsite he and Jane purchased on Chincoteague Bay, Virginia in 1974. He also volunteered with the “Friends of the Library” at the Spaulding’s Branch Library in District Heights, MD, serving as its long-time President.
His one grandchild Courtney, was born to daughter Patricia and her husband Christopher Smith in 1990. Ed was happily devoted to Courtney, traveling an hour each way to serve as her daily caregiver until she began nursery school. He spent his final years participating in many events sponsored by the East Coast Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. He often recounted his busy days as a Base Supply Officer under Col. Davis.: “My job was really to solve any and all problems before he ever learned of them”. Ed was presented his Tuskegee Airmen Congressional Gold Medal Replica by Maryland U.S. Congressman Chris Van Hollen in a special ceremony in 2013. Ed died on December 9, 2019, having celebrated his 70th wedding anniversary in April of that year. He credited his long, happy life to his loving family and being blessed by the Lord. He was a 50-year member of Allen Chapel AME Church in Washington, DC.
MILITARY LOCATIONS / ASSIGNMENTS
Ft, Hood, TX
Keesler Field, MS
Cardiff, Wales (433rd Port Company)
Lockbourne Army Air Base, Columbus, Ohio
(332nd Fighter Wing)
Bolling AFB (U.S. Air Force Reserve)
World War II
MILITARY AWARDS / DECORATIONS
U.S. Army Honorable Discharge: 1946
U.S. Air Force Honorable Discharge: 1950
U.S. Air Force Reserve Retired: 1982
There are no upcoming events at this time